Cartoon: Arguing On The Internet


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(Patrons got to see this cartoon months before I posted it in public.)


This cartoon is drawn by my awesome and frequent collaborator, Becky Hawkins. I especially love what she did with the expression and lighting on the character’s face in the last panel.


 

Sadly, this cartoon could be autobiographical for either Becky or I, and probably for some of you as well. (I’ve actually installed a browser extension that limits how much time I can spend on Twitter.)

It’s amazing how engaging and immersive and, if I’m being honest, addictive, arguing on the internet can be. And that can be useful! Nothing motivates me to do a deep dive into researching an issue like disagreeing with someone about it. But I’ve realized that I read books much less nowadays – the time I used to spend on that has largely been taken over by the internet. The internet adds so much to my life (I’m having a zoom with my family EVERY WEEK! I have an online group that watches musicals with me!) that I usually don’t notice what’s been subtracted.


This cartoon is pretty apolitical, as my cartoons go – I hope you don’t mind! I’ll be back soon with another cartoon full of politics and anger, I promise. :-)


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, plus a tiny additional “kicker” panel under the fourth panel.

PANEL 1

We see a woman with bright purple hair is sitting at a desk, facing a desktop computer, and facepalming. The room looks like an apartment or house, not a place of business.

There’s an open soda can next to her. In the background we can see a window with blue sky, a poster that combines the anarchy “A” symbol with a drawing of a cat face and the caption “Equality! Justice! Naps!,” and a cat lying on a cat bed below the window.

There is a computer-drawn rectangular word balloon, with sound effects reading “tap tap tap tap” leading from the balloon towards the computer, showing what she’s typing on the computer.

TYPED ON THE COMPUTER: If you’d look at the evidence for even a second you’d see tha

PURPLEHAIR (in a thought balloon): What am I even doing?

PANEL 2

The same shot. The purple-haired woman has leaned back a bit and has a hand on her chin as she thinks. In the background, the cat has looked up at her with a little ? floating over its head.

PURPLEHAIR (in a thought balloon): I’ve been arguing online for hours. He’s not gonna change his mind. There are so many better things I could be doing.

PANEL 3

A close shot of her, now with wide eyes and a big smile, looking up a bit in anticipation.

PURPLEHAIR (in a thought balloon): Yes! I’ll organize a zoom with friends I haven’t seen lately! And take a walk! And I’ll finally volunteer for that anti-hunger group. Starting right now!

PANEL 4

The same shot as the first two panels. But it’s much darker now; through the window we can see the moon and stars. The only source of light in this room seems to be the computer monitor, shining on Purplehair’s face. There are now many more empty soda cans scattered around her.

Purplehair is typing, leaning foward, looking angry but also exhausted; her eyes are wide and bloodshot (in a cartoony comedy fashion). Her cat is leaning against her shoulder, trying to get her attention. The cat has a little thought balloon with a picture of a can of cat food in it.

Another computer-style speech balloon has the “tap tap tap tap” sound effect leading from the balloon towards the computer keyboard.

TYPED ON THE COMPUTER: And ANOTHER thing! Why do YOU guys ALWAYS SAY you’re fo

TINY KICKER PANEL BELOW THE BOTTOM OF THE COMIC STRIP

We see Purplehair’s face; she has a huge satisfied smile and is glowing.

PURPLEHAIR: I’ve done it – I’ve proven that a stranger on the internet is wrong!

PURPLEHAIR: Now I’ll never have to do that again!


This cartoon on Patreon.

Posted in Cartooning & comics | 6 Comments  

The Anti-Critical Race Theory Movement Advocates Censorship

(Transcript of cartoon.)

In a recent open thread, Fibi writes:

[David Goldberg’s article “The War on Critical Race Theory“] is a long, interesting, but ultimately unpersuasive article. It’s certainly true that many on the right (and the left) don’t map out the different nuances between CRT, “anti-racism,” “wholeness,” etc. That’s not surprising. But the Ur Text of the anti-CRT movement is President Trump’s now rescinded Executive Order banning CRT trainings with Federal contractors. It just so happens that I work for a Federal contractor and got pulled into a compliance review of our D&I trainings after the EO came out. And we barely changed anything. In fact, all of the slides, instructor notes, discussion questions, scenarios were fine. We just had to trim a couple of items from the Resources page (mostly eliminating websites and podcasts for fear that future changes or content would run afoul of the EO). So I certainly don’t agree that the anti-CRT movement calls into question “any mention of race or racism at all.”

I considered quoting Section 2 of the EO here. And while the EO is rescinded it’s basically word for word what’s in the new Florida law. But I think I will just leave the link where it is for those who are inclined to follow. Also, I’m not really weighing in on whether CRT trainings are better or worse than traditional D&I trainings. Just taking issue with the claim that they aren’t easily distinguishable and/or the anti-CRT movement isn’t distinguishing them.

So does the anti-CRT movement make the distinctions Fibi claims they do?

Fibi’s “compliance review” is one anecdote. Here’s another: After being threatened with budget cuts from the Republican-dominated state legislature, Boise State University suddenly suspended 55 courses mid-semester, screwing over hundreds of students, because someone claimed to have a video of a student in one class had been insulted for being white. The video never turned up, and an extensive investigation didn’t find any evidence that the event had ever happened. From FIRE (emphasis mine):

As FIRE previously reported, Boise State suspended all sections of its University Foundations 200 course on March 16, shortly after the state’s joint budget committee proposed a $409,000 cut in the university’s funding as part of lawmakers’ ongoing efforts to contain teaching and activities related to “social justice” and “critical race theory.” At the time, Boise State said it had “been made aware of a series of concerns, culminating in allegations that a student or students have been humiliated and degraded in class on our campus for their beliefs and values.”

This is absolutely a case of anti-“CRT” Republicans pressuring a university into censoring allegedly “CRT” views, without even a hint of distinguishing between “indoctrination” and just teaching about racism and social justice. Which is no surprise – Idaho Republicans are pretty open about wanting to eradicate views they don’t agree with.

Idaho Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin is working on putting together a task force to examine indoctrination in Idaho education and to protect our young people from the scourge of critical race theory, socialism, communism, and Marxism.

“As I have traveled around the state and spoken with constituents and parents, it has become clear to me that this is one of the most significant threats facing our society today. We must find where these insidious theories and philosophies are lurking and excise them from our education system,” Lt. Gov. McGeachin said.

By the way, the University’s attempt to prevent cuts by giving in to the GOP failed; the legislature voted to cut millions from public University budgets to “send a message” about CRT. These people are not being nuanced and careful about who they attack.

Another anecdote, this one directly about the Trump executive order:

Harper is involved with Arts In The Armed Forces (AITAF), a non-profit organization co-founded by Adam Driver that brings free arts programming to active-duty service members, veterans, and military support staff and their families. The actor and AITAF set up a screening of “Malcolm X” for military academies…

Three of the four academies scheduled for the “Malcolm X” event took part in the screening, but one academy did not “for fear of potential consequences of stemming from an Executive Order from the White House.” Harper concluded, “The fact that the film ‘Malcolm X’ could be considered ‘anti-American’ by this administration is very frightening to me.”

One important thing to keep in mind, with anti-CRT laws, is that the decisions will often be made by a principal who is being screamed at by the City’s lawyers to do whatever it takes to avoid even a chance of liability. Especially when the laws are full of ambiguous language, of course the result is some schools will ban anything anti-racist for fear that it might be the dreaded “CRT.”

And the language is ambiguous, in a way that would have given the Trump administration wide latitude to punish disfavored views if a court hadn’t enjoined from enforcing it. From the Urban League’s complaint against Trump’s executive order:

Under the terms of EO 13950, there is no objective way to determine which activities are permitted and which are prohibited, creating a broad chilling effect and inviting unpredictable, uneven, and potentially selective enforcement.

For example, EO 13950 prohibits employers from holding “workplace training” that “inculcates” certain “divisive concepts” in employees. EO 13950 § 4(a)(1). However, the Order never defines “workplace training,” which can occur in many contexts and for many reasons—such as an employee’s onboarding, part of the promotion process, ongoing professional education, or an effort to address workplace conduct issues.

In addition, the Order does not explain, or otherwise define, the prohibited act of “inculcat[ing].” There are no criteria in the Order for a federal contractor or subcontractor to understand whether training needs to reach a certain level of repetition, admonition, and insistence to be deemed to “inculcate” employees or whether, for example, a single training that references a so-called “divisive concept” is enough to trigger the Order.

Nor are the prohibited “divisive concepts” sufficiently defined. For example, the Order prohibits training that “inculcates” the concept that “the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist.” But there is no description of what “fundamentally” racist or sexist means. Under the Order’s prohibitions, it is unclear if explaining the historical context of race or gender inequality (e.g., discussing the Nation’s history of slavery, the Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Liberation Movement, the Stonewall uprising, mass incarceration, pay equity or other topics related to racial injustice, gender discrimination or inequity) and the foundational ways this history shapes present-day manifestations of discrimination and biases, would be considered an assertion that the United States is “fundamentally” racist or sexist. […]

The Order’s prohibition on inculcating “discomfort, guilt, [and] anguish” is similarly inscrutable. The Order apparently prohibits training that includes the view that “any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.” However, the Order leaves unclear whether any training that leads to feelings of discomfort by virtue of the nature of the subject matter itself, rather than by “inculcation,” is prohibited.

The Order also prohibits the concept that “meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist.” Purported objective measures of merit, such as workplace tests and evaluations, have been used historically to exclude qualified members of protected groups from employment opportunities. The Supreme Court has recognized that the disproportionate impact of these tools of purported meritocracy can undermine equality and fairness in the workplace and can, in fact, violate federal law…. Under the Order, a reasonable employer has no way of knowing whether a seemingly appropriate discussion about the interplay between purportedly “meritocratic” standards and discriminatory impact—even a faithful explanation of the law—may be prohibited “inculcation” of the view of “meritocracy” as “racist.”

The administration’s official guidance about the executive order made it plain that they intended the order to be read expansively, not narrowly.

On September 28, 2020, OMB published a Memorandum entitled “Ending Employee Trainings that Use Divisive Propaganda to Undermine the Principle of Fair and Equal Treatment for All” (“Memorandum”), which provided additional content to EO 13950’s directives. The Memorandum expanded on the Order by highlighting terms, such as “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” “intersectionality,” “systemic racism,” “positionality,” “racial humility,” and “unconscious bias,” as key to identifying the targeted “divisive” diversity training programs.

This Memorandum singled out specific terms and subject matter, such as critical race theory or white privilege, as targets of the Order even though they were not explicitly included in the definition of “divisive concepts” proscribed by the text of the Order. […]

The FAQs provide that “[u]nconscious or implicit bias training is prohibited to the extent it teaches or implies that an individual, by virtue of his or her race, sex, and/or national origin, is racist, sexist, oppressive, or biased, whether consciously or unconsciously.” The FAQs do not explain how a training may “imply” the prohibited concept; nor does it indicate who determines whether there has been such an implication.

So entire subjects are effectively banned. And what’s prohibited is not just the express statements of “divisive” ideas, but anything that, in the Trump administration’s subjective opinion, “implies” a prohibited concept.

Some of the state laws based on Trump’s EO are, remarkably, even worse. For instance, Texas’s anti-CRT law bans any course instruction that requires an “understanding” of the 1619 Project. So teachers aren’t just prohibited from forcing students to agree with the 1619 Project, as some of the law’s proponents claim; they’re effectively enforced from teaching about it at all. (Since it would be impossible to teach something while not trying to get students to understand it).

It also says that if any current controversy is taught, teachers must teach all sides “without giving deference to any one perspective.” That means that a science teacher can’t teach evolution unless they give equal weight to “intelligent design,” or deference to climate change science over denialism, without possibly bring legal consequences down on their school. (But it’s more likely they’ll be ordered not to teach such subjects at all.)

A pro-CRT-ban member of Utah’s board of education provided a list of terms that indicate CRT is in use. Terms on her list include “equity,” “anti-racism,” “systemic racism,” “social justice,” “diversity,” and “inclusion.” Again, imagine the decision being made by a principal while a district lawyer urges her to avoid anything that possibly could lead to liability – and they both have a copy of this list. The results would not be narrow or carefully controlled.

Trump’s executive order was attempted censorship, and so are the state laws based on it. And the anti-CRT movement is not making distinctions; they’re in effect defining “CRT” very broadly to include any left-wing anti-racism views.

Posted in Free speech, censorship, copyright law, etc. | 56 Comments  

How the World Became Quiet Review at the Rutland Herald

Randal Smathers reviews of my collection, How the World Became Quiet, at Rutland Herald!

I rarely read short fiction except in anthologies, especially by unfamiliar authors. So I’m not sure why I picked this one up, but I’m glad I did. A really fine collection of short stories … a mix of fantasy & sci-fi elements. Lots of the stories are dreamlike. These are not your grandpa’s stories about rocket ships and ray guns. Definitely worth a read.

Read more reviews of collections by authors such as Maria Dahvana Headley.

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The Dragonet Prophecy graphic novel won a 2021 Young Readers’ Choice Award!

 

I am super excited to announce that the graphic novel adaptation The Dragonet Prophecy, with artwork by Mike Holmes, has won the 2021 Young Readers’ Choice Awards (YRCA)!

Barry Deutsch and I adapted the graphic novel from The Dragonet Prophecy, book 1 of the Wings of Fire series, written by Tui T. Sutherland. The novel is the first in a fifteen-book series.

Not every dragonet wants a destiny … Clay has grown up under the mountain, chosen along with four other dragonets to fulfill a mysterious prophecy and end the war between the dragon tribes of Pyrrhia. He’s The Dragonet Prophecy Graphic Novel Book Cover, five dragons in a red skynot so sure about the prophecy part, but Clay can’t imagine not living with the other dragonets; they’re his best friends. So when one of the dragonets is threatened, all five spring into action. Together, they will choose freedom over fate, leave the mountain, and fulfill their destiny — on their own terms. The New York Times bestselling Wings of Fire series takes flight in this first graphic novel edition, adapted by the author with art by Mike Holmes.
The Dragonet Prophecy graphic novel Amazon description

The YRCA is the longest-running North American youth book choice award voted on by children living in Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. The Dragonet Prophecy graphic novel won the Junior Division category, voted on by 4th-6th graders. Read more about the 2021 award and winners here.

Thank you to everyone who loves the original books and the graphic novel adaptation, to parents, teachers, and librarians who have helped get these books into the hands of children, and to the Pacific Northwest Library Association for making the YRCA possible.

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Cartoon: O How They Suffer


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This one is a collaboration between myself, Kevin Moore, Glenn Greenwald, and Joe Rogan.

I mean, Greenwald and Rogan didn’t volunteer to collaborate, and I’m sure not gonna pay them for their contributions. But panel one’s dialog is a barely-edited quote from Glenn Greenwald. And panel two’s dialog is a barely-edited quote from Joe Rogan – including Rogan saying that he’s not joking.

Kevin provided the artwork, and I’m so glad I asked him. I don’t really love doing caricatures, but Kevin does. And Joe Rogan’s expression in panel 4 is something I’ve been looking at over and over since Kevin turned the art in – it’s hilarious.

This is much more current-events-y than my cartoons usually are, but I couldn’t resist. Both these quotes – especially coming from two of the most ridiculously overpaid white men in the world – are too perfect to not be a cartoon. Truly, there is no end to the victimhood whining from these unbelievably wealthy delicate white male flowers.


Normally I post cartoons on Patreon weeks, or months, before I post them in public. In this case, I’m posting it in public today, because I want to get this out there while at least some people remember Greenwald and Rogan saying these ridiculous things.

 


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. All four panels are set in a sound recording studio, where Glenn Greenwald – a white man with neatly-combed hair, strong eyebrows, and wearing a suit – is talking to Joe Rogan – a white man with a shaved head, a furrowed brow, and dressed casually in a hoodie over a tee shirt. Rogan is wearing professional-looking headphones. There’s a double microphone on the table between them. In the background we can see a window to another room, a bulletin board, and a painting of an American flag.

PANEL 1

Glenn and Joe are talking. Glenn, looking a bit peeved, is poking a forefinger up as he makes a point. Joe looks a little stoned.

GLENN: Joe, the minute you declare yourself “non-binary” or “trans,” you kind of catapult up the ladder. But if you’re a cis white gay man, you’re now at the bottom of the hierarchy!

JOE: Right! We live in crazy fucking times, Glenn.

PANEL 2

A close-up of Joe, who is speaking seriously. Someone off-panel sticks a hand into the panel, holding two envelopes, marked “Glenn” and “Joe.” Joe holds up a finger in a “hold on a sec” gesture.

JOE: Eventually, straight white men won’t be allowed to talk! Or be allowed to go outside! I’m not joking!

JOE: Hold on just a second.

PANEL 3

A close-up of two hands – presumably, Glenn’s and Joe’s – holding checks. One check is for $1,000,000 from Substack for Glenn Greenwald, with the memo line “For: Subscription Earnings.” The other check is for $100 Million, from Spotify to Joe Rogan, with the memo line “For: Podcasting.”

PANEL 4

A shot of Glenn and Joe. Glenn looks pleased but also cool and collected as he puts his check into his inner jacket pocket. Joe looks very happy and kind of awed, and frankly probably still stoned, as he puts his check into his wallet.

GLENN: As I was saying, the bottom of the hierarchy.

JOE: When will white dudes ever catch a break?

Posted in Cartooning & comics | 3 Comments  

Cartoon: Look Who’s Oppressed Now!


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The first political cartoon I ever created – and, arguably, the best one – had figures positioned symbolically on abstract block shapes. In the years since, I’ve returned to that trope a few times, but not often, even though I like it a lot. This is the sort of direct visual symbolism that’s honestly less in my usual ballpark than dialog-based humor.

The cartoon says “fifty years ago” – but even in the 1970s, there were already white men saying “we’re the oppressed ones now!”  It seems to be an eternal complaint. (Maybe in another fifty years?)

This time around, the main storytelling problem for me, as a cartoonist, was how to make clear a relatively subtle difference in the height of the tallest pillar between two panels. I came up with having it tall enough so the top of his head is cut off in panel one – hopefully that’ll be enough to make readers catch the pillar having gotten marginally lower in panel two.

I think it would work for me, if I were the reader. A lot of comics storytelling, for me, is doing a sort of role-playing exercise: “If I didn’t know anything about this cartoon, how would I read it?” I ask that question and – if I’m being good at my job – I identify parts of the cartoon that are unclear and find ways to fix those parts.

I think that I’m usually pretty good at that – but trying to make the storytelling clearer is a bit of a neverending task. But it’s enjoyable – like doing a puzzle.


 

TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has two panels. Each panel features a variety of people on abstract pillars of various heights – a Black woman, an Asian person in a wheelchair, a Latina woman, a gay male couple, and a couple more in the background who we can’t make out in any detail. On top of the central pillar, wearing a suit, is a prosperous-looking white man in a suit and tie. The well-off white guy’s pillar is significantly taller than any of the others.

PANEL 1

A large caption at the top of the panel says “Fifty Years Ago.”

The white man’s pillar is so tall that the top of his head is actually out of the panel. He’s cheerfully/aggressively talking down to all the others, who variously look annoyed at him or are ignoring him.

WHITE MAN: I don’t see what you’re all whining about.

PANEL 2

A large caption at the top of the panel says “Today.”

It’s the same scene, but now the wealthy white man’s pillar is shorter than it was in panel 1 – but still taller than anyone else’s pillar. The white man, now sad-looking, is weeping and screaming. The others look up at him with annoyance, except that one of the gay men is pointing and laughing at him.

WHITE MAN: Look how I’ve fallen! Now I’M the oppressed one!

Posted in Cartooning & comics | Leave a comment  

Open Thread and Link Farm, Hico Ujill Edition

  1. New Paper: Why “Intellectual Property” is a Misnomer – Niskanen Center
    Long and (to me, anyway, but I assume I’m not the only one) interesting read.
  2. Texas Museum Puts Donald Trump Wax Statue in Storage Because People Kept Punching It
  3. I did a “I’ll post one comic I love for every like this tweet gets” meme thing. The tweet ended up getting 171 likes, but I decided it would be okay for me to quit after listing just 100 comics I love. So here’s the list, if you’re curious. It touches on many different genres.
  4. Designer Creates Hilarious Travel Posters for America’s National Parks Based on Their 1-Star Reviews
    I’m not sure I’d say “hilarious,” but they’re amusing and also very pretty.
  5. What Happens When Republicans Simply Refuse to Certify Democratic Wins? | Washington Monthly
    Essentially, it’ll come down to what judges say. And if the judges are Trump appointed, we could be screwed.
  6. Man Builds a Working Electric Guitar from His Deceased Uncle’s Skeleton
  7. The War on Critical Race Theory | Boston Review
    “CRT functions for the right today primarily as an empty signifier for any talk of race and racism at all, a catch-all specter lumping together “multiculturalism,” “wokeism,” “anti-racism,” and “identity politics”—or indeed any suggestion that racial inequities in the United States are anything but fair outcomes…”
  8. The Tapeworm That Helps Ants Live Absurdly Long Lives – The Atlantic
    A parasite makes ordinary worker ants live years longer. The infected ants are fed and coddled and carried around by the non-infected ants and don’t have to do any work themselves.
  9. The strange journey of ‘cancel,’ from a Black-culture punchline to a White-grievance watchword – The Washington Post
    It’s more about the origins of the term – there’s not much about how it became a right-wing watchword. But what there is interesting.
  10. As a Rabbi Raised in South Africa, I Can’t Ignore Israel Is an Apartheid State
  11. Reflections on Growing Up Fat and Chinese-American — naafa
  12. Promoting Public Health in the Context of the “Obesity Epidemic”: False Starts and Promising New Directions
    A journal article provides an overview. It’s from 2015, but nothing’s changed since then. (I mean, regarding the issues the article discusses.)
  13. the demonisation of fatness – earth to venus
    A broad overview of a lot of fat acceptance issues, in the form of a blog post.
  14. Group that can’t find systemic voter fraud eager to help combat systemic voter fraud – The Washington Post
    A Heritage Foundation database often cited to show that voter fraud is a major problem… shows that voter fraud is an insignificant problem. The database contains just one case from the 2020 election, for example.
  15. Addressing The Claims In JK Rowling’s Justification For Transphobia | by Katy Montgomerie | Medium
    A detailed response to JKR’s famous anti-trans letter from last year.
  16. Voter suppression: A short history of the long conservative assault on Black voting power – CNNPolitics
  17. Open Letter on the History, Impact, and Future of the Filibuster | by Scholars for Reform | May, 2021 | Medium
    “…the Framers explicitly rejected a supermajority requirement for common legislation…. Today, the Framers’ vision of the function of the Senate has largely been inverted.”
  18. Photos by Alice Donovan Rouse and Lindsey Ross with Tim Mossholder.

Posted in Link farms | 22 Comments  

“Placed into Abyss” Review at Locus Magazine

Karen Burnham reviews “Placed into Abyss” at Locus Magazine!
While normal family drama transpires in the background, Chris is tormented by memories of the abuse he suffered there, which he’s drawn into more deeply with every room he moves through. He will have to wrest control of time and space back to be able to escape. This story is so intense in terms of what Chris is experiencing that the science fictional moves Swirsky is making are almost subliminally in the background.
Read more of her review — she looks at short fiction from Samovar, Tor, and Strange Horizons!
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Cartoon: Women’s Sports Will Be DESTROYED!!!


Help me make more cartoon by supporting my Patreon! Patrons got to see this cartoon back in February.


Right-wingers have been complaining about trans women competing in women’s sports for decades. But when President Biden, not long after taking office, signed an executive order against anti-LGBTQ discrimination, conservatives fought it with a widespread attack trans women athletes.

This complaint can seem convincing to people who aren’t anti-trans themselves, but who don’t know much about the issues. The anti-trans attack, used again and again, is to show a clip or photo of an athletic competition in which a supposedly trans woman is competing and winning, with a caption saying that “biological” women or girls cannot win. And to many people, that looks like common sense.

But the out-of-context clips and photos are a lie. First of all, it’s not always the case that the athlete shown in the clips is trans! Sometimes it’s a cis woman who is large or muscular or has short hair. (The anti-trans movement is creating a culture of harassment and suspicion that harms all women – cis and trans – who aren’t sufficiently feminine-looking for anti-trans standards.)

More importantly, a single clip or photo can only show a moment, and that moment usually isn’t representative of the whole. I recently wrote a Twitter thread about a thirteen-second clip of a high school track event, in which two trans girls place first and second in a sprint. Anti-trans activists have been claiming this proves cis girls can’t compete against trans girls in athletics.

Except that some cis girls in that same clip actually beat the trans girls in other races. One of the cis girls who lost that race – and whose parents sued to get the trans girls barred from competition – won against those same trans girls in the next two races, and went on to win the state title for high school girls sprinting. As the judge wrote when he threw out the lawsuit, the evidence shows that cis girls have been able to compete and win.

No one – not even the greatest athlete of all time – wins every time they compete. Anti-trans bigots use this fact to create a false narrative that cis women and girls can’t compete against trans women and girls. But that’s objectively false.

Although a few trans athletes have won occasional events, they haven’t dominated girl’s or women’s sports. And although they’ve been allowed to compete as women since 2004, in all that time not a single trans women athlete has been among the over ten thousand women who have made it into the Olympics. (It looks likely that a trans woman will make it to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics – but one out over tens thousand hardly  justifies the claim that cis women can’t compete.)

It’s true that, on average, male athletes get higher scores than female athletes – running faster, lifting heavier, and so on. People who don’t know better assume that this means that trans women will have a similar advantage over cis women. But we now have years of trans women competing with cis women in athletics to look at, and we know this hasn’t been the case. If trans women had the same athletic advantages men do, trans women would be dominating a lot of women’s sports. But trans women are like women, not like cis men, and cis women have been entirely able to compete.


Language is always a problem for me when I write cartoons about anti-trans bigots. Realistically, the two characters in this cartoon wouldn’t use the term “trans women”; they’d use more bigoted language, and they’d misgender.

It’s one of those times where I weigh being accurate, versus possibly causing unprepared trans readers to wince. I came down on the side of being unrealistic. My cartoons are already unrealistic in many ways (real people rarely speak as efficiently as characters in a cartoon do, for example), and I don’t think it harms the cartoon to be unrealistic in this way as well.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels.

PANEL 1

A bald man with a furrowed brow, wearing a shirt with a necktie, is sitting in what appears to be a radio recording booth; there’s a big microphone held up by a pro-looking microphone holder thingy (which is the technical term), a laptop open next to him and some notecards and a pencil on the desk in front of him, a coffee mug, and a wall clock behind him.  He isn’t yelling, but he looks a bit angry and intense.

A large caption says “2004.”

FURROW: Now that trans women can compete in the Olympics, no biological women will ever win! This will destroy women’s sports!

PANEL 2

We are looking at an iphone being held in someone’s hand. On the screen of the iphone, an angry woman, with a high hairdo and hoop earrings, is talking. A graphic at the bottom of her window says “FOX.” A chyron at the bottom says “Next: Is Obama Satan? Or does he just worship Satan?” Graphic boxes to the left and right of her head say “FEAR” and “PANIC.”

A large caption says “2013.”

TALLHAIR: If California allows trans girls on high school teams, they’ll dominate! Other girls will never be able to compete! This will destroy women’s sports!

PANEL 3

The same two characters are seated together at a round table, in what appears to be a coffee shop or diner; they both have cups of coffee on the table in front of them. He is again wearing a shirt and tie, but his tie is pulled down a bit and his top button is open. She’s wearing a more casual outfit, a open sweater over a striped shirt. They both look aggravated.

A large caption says “NOW.”

TALLHAIR: It’s been years and trans girls still haven’t dominated high school sports!

FURROW: And not one trans woman has even gotten in the Olympics! Other women beat them all the time!

PANEL 4

Same shot and scene. The tall-haired woman, even more frustrated, throws her hands in the air; the furrowed-brow man leans his head on his hands, looking dejected.

TALLHAIR: ‘Godammit, why aren’t women’s sports destroyed yet?

FURROW: I know. I’m disappointed too.

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer issues | 32 Comments  

Check Out “Thirteen of the Secrets in My Purse” in Uncanny Magazine

Red purse sitting on dirt road surrounded by grass

One: My lipstick.

The shade is Heart’s Blood.

Morbid, if you ask me.

I wanted to know if it was really the color of heart’s blood so I bought beef heart and tried dabbing my lips.

Close enough.

I emailed to congratulate the lipstick company on their realism. They did not respond.

Read more.

Some purses contain pens, stray receipts, and lip balm. This one’s more exciting. This light-hearted, urban fantasy follows a woman, whose purse is full of secrets with a quest to champion. “Thirteen of the Secrets in My Purse” was published in the May/June issue of Uncanny Magazine.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments