The September issue of OUT FRONT Magazine is all about digital queerness! My comic takes a look at how online spaces give us access to information about queer and trans identities, info that was often very difficult to come by in the pre-internet world.
Read the whole comic on the OFM website, or pick up a print copy at one of their drop locations! You’ll find me on page 6.
TL;DR: You don’t stop being aro/ace even when you’re having feelings that look, on the surface, strikingly similar to what allo people typically feel. Insert the usual caveat that this is about my own personal experience, other folks will have different takes on this topic.
So yeah, I came down with a crush recently, and decided to draw this little diary comic about it.
[For reference and clarity, I identify as demi/gray for both aro and ace. While I do want to be in a relationship, I don’t catch feels for very many people. I do experience sexual attraction, but that’s even rarer for me than romantic attraction. This particular guy referenced in my comic managed to set off both.]
On a surface level, there’s nothing new or original expressed in this drawing. Pretty standard set of anxieties and behaviors when you’re crushing, right?
And yet, for folks who are arospec or acespec, having what looks like a standard crush is not necessarily the same thing as allo crushing. This is not a dynamic I see talked about a whole lot, so I’mma talk about it.
By way of analogy, let’s say I did a drawing of a cis man and a cis woman who are clearly a couple, and indicate that they’re in a monogamous relationship. Nothing on the surface says that this is anything other than a typical heterosexual couple. Except, wait, what if both people involved are bisexual. Being in a monogamous relationship with someone of a different gender does not automatically reset either person to straight, nor can their partnership be accurately described as heterosexual. Neither person enjoys heterosexual privilege, and each person continues to experience and process attraction differently from someone who is straight.
By the same token, an aro and/or ace person experiencing romantic and/or sexual attraction does not automatically become allo. For my own part, the nature of this particular crush has caused certain allo things to make more sense to me, certain songs or movies or phrases or behaviors, but it feels very much like learning a second language: I just figured out the translation for one or two things that were utterly incomprehensible to me before (“Oh, maybe that’s why allos don’t seem to get bored of yet another rock song that’s about sex. Fascinating.”)
This crush does not at all mean that I will now be a typical alloromantic/allosexual from here on out. I still experience these feelings from a different vantage point, and bring a different set of past experiences to bear, experiences that many allo people have flat out told me make no sense to them (“What do you mean you weren’t aimlessly horny all the time in high school???”). I still approach relationships in ways that seem “weird” to allos. I still won’t be up to speed on attraction dynamics that are deeply intuitive to allo people, but that require translation for me to comprehend them.
And it’s not like I haven’t spent a lifetime trying desperately to understand all of this. I want to be in a relationship, a fact that a number of even my very close friends are shocked to learn, because I don’t perform the typical social signals around that correctly, I guess. And when allo people give me dating and relationship advice from an allo perspective, it most often feels like I’m being offered an array of cow tools. What I actually need (if I may spaghettify this metaphor) is an array of bat tools. They won’t necessarily look less odd, but they’ll at least be the right tools for me.
My comic for this month’s issue takes a quick look at the history of the “disco sucks” movement. As someone who is very much into metal and punk and not so much into upbeat dance music, I am certainly guilty of having fallen into the “disco sucks” trap in the past. But, it turns out, “disco sucks” is not actually about whether or not you happen to like that style of music …
The July issue of OUT FRONT Magazine is all about Queerdos, and my comic is all about queer and trans feels from playing D&D. Read the full comic online on the OUT FRONT website (I’m on page 26) or pick up a free copy at one of their drop locations in the Denver area!
I know, I know, shocking for a nerdy kid to use Dungeons and Dragons as a way of exploring gender identity and sexual orientation without realizing what they’re doing. I am probably the first queer/trans person to have EVER done this. Amazing.
My comic for this month’s edition of OFM takes a look at some of my international encounters with trans people. One thing I’ve definitely found to be the case, especially in our modern internet-enabled era, is that there’s a lot of solidarity amongst trans folks across the globe, even to the point of transcending (pun intended) language barriers.
The topic this issue is “queering mental health,” so I elected to do a comic about the high correlation between being trans and being autistic, and how this can affect mental health outcomes for folks.
Obviously a half page comic is too small a space to get deep into this extremely complex and evolving topic, but the TL;DR is simply that trying to force autistic people to act more allistic leads to poorer mental health outcomes, and trying to force trans people to be cis leads to poorer mental health outcomes. If you’re both trans and autistic, you get a double whammy.
At this point, it’s clear that an unusually high percentage of trans people are autistic, but the why is unknown. One possibility, hinted at in the excerpted panel, is that autistic people often take exception to following rules if the underlying reasons for the rules make no sense. So it’s possible autistic people have a leg up in figuring out trans stuff, because a lot of society’s rules about How to Gender don’t really make a lot of sense if you pick them apart.
My comic for this month’s OUT FRONT Magazine is, in fact, a bunch of queer fashion weed puns. Like you do. And yeah, I’m barely skating to the finish line, posting this late in the afternoon on 4/20. You can have punctuality, or you can have comics about weed.
My comic for the January issue of OUT FRONT Magazine offers up some of my predictions for the coming year. You can read the whole thing in the online edition (I’m on page 6). Or, if you’re in Denver, you can grab a free copy at one of their drop locations!