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OUT FRONT Magazine – February 2024 issue – Bad At Flirting [Excerpt]

OUT FRONT Magazine – February 2024 issue – Bad At Flirting [Excerpt] published on

So yeah, I made a comic about trying to parse flirting when you’re autistic! I’ve excerpted two panels here. You can find the whole comic in the February 2024 issue of OUT FRONT Magazine (I’m on page 6).

This is a complex topic that was difficult to distill into a half-page comic, for sure. An unintentional meta-joke is that this comic kinda sorta metastasized into an infographic with flow charts, but really, that’s what my brain is doing when I’m trying to figure out: Flirt or Not Flirt?

It’s not that I can’t see that a specific behavior COULD be interpreted as flirting, it’s that I can come up with five other equally plausible explanations for that behavior that are all Not Flirt. Autistic people are already punished regularly for unintentional social misfires. Flirting makes things even more complicated, because even allistic people mask their behavior when it comes to flirting, so the autist is given even less concrete information to work with. Assuming someone was flirting when they weren’t is a great way to get yourself ostracized, so in general, most autistic folks I know err on the side of assuming Not Flirt in most situations.

I will add that, for queer and trans autistic folks there’s an added layer of uncertainty to the proceedings. For better or worse, cishet people have a script that says Woman Coyly Flirts, Man Approaches. There are a lot of things awry with that model, but it DOES offer a framework that doesn’t really exist for queer people, so that’s even more guesswork to wade through.

None of this is to say that no autistic people anywhere grok flirting, or are incapable of flirting themselves. YMMV! I merely speak to my own experience, and that which I have heard expressed by autistic friends.

Cheers,

Dylan

OUT FRONT Magazine – January 2024 issue – Healthcare

OUT FRONT Magazine – January 2024 issue – Healthcare published on

MY comic for this month’s issue of OFM takes a look at how easy and fun it is to access healthcare when you’re trans. A total snap! No problems involved ever! They’re just GIVING trans healthcare away! HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Anyway, yes, these are all 100% true stories of roadblocks I’ve encountered over the years, with some dramatization for comics. (What the therapist from panel 1 actually said was, “Can you maybe turn the volume down?” when I said, “I think I’m trans, and it’s like this noise that’s buzzing in my head all the time.” But he did sit like that, curled up in a ball as he told me to maybe just try not being trans. The doctor from panel 2, meanwhile, said more or less those very words verbatim, at least as far as I can remember many years later.)

You can read the whole comic in the digital edition of OFM, where you will find me on page 6.

Cheers,

Dylan

Overthinking

Overthinking published on

This was my last artistic endeavor for 2023. I’d scribbled the idea on a sticky note MONTHS ago, but , irony of ironies, couldn’t settle on how to actually execute it.

On New Year’s Eve, I decided to hell with it, I am NOT dragging that damn sticky note into 2024. So I went with a rough pencil sketch, trying to erase as little as possible. And then I threw the sticky note away. Cheers!

Dylan

OUT FRONT Magazine – December 2023

OUT FRONT Magazine – December 2023 published on

My comic for this month’s issue is all about the various iterations my fashion sense has gone through over the years. You can read the whole thing in the digital edition of the magazine, where you shall find me ensconced on page 6!

Cheers,

Dylan

OUT FRONT Magazine – Sept 2023 – Digital Queerness

OUT FRONT Magazine – Sept 2023 – Digital Queerness published on
Out Front Magazine - September 2023 issue - Digital Queerness

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.

Cheers,

Dylan

Diary Comic – It Happened to Me: Crushing While Aro/Ace

Diary Comic – It Happened to Me: Crushing While Aro/Ace published on
Single-panel comic sketch done in pencil on scrap paper. A masculine person with shaggy hair and sideburns is wearing glasses, an N95 mask, a beanie, and a t-shirt. A dialog box on the right points to him with the caption "Painfully aware that I look like a complete dork at the moment"
A series of dialog bubbles on the right side of the figure:
1: The person in the drawing says "I wanted to tell you ..."
2: bubble shows a person speaking off-camera: "Oh yeah? (enthusiastic)"
3: A thought bubble indicating dialog not spoken aloud points back to person 1: "That I have a huge crush on you but the current context makes it wildly inappropriate to say that"
4: bubble indicates person 1 is speaking aloud: "[Trivial anecdote that I proceed to butcher]"

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.

Description from Wikipedia of the "Cow Tools" Far Side comic by Gary Larson: "Cow tools" is a single-panel cartoon depicting a cow standing on its hind legs at a table, with a barn in the background. On the table are four objects: one resembles a crude hand saw, while the others are more abstract. The caption bluntly reads, "cow tools".

OUT FRONT Magazine – August 2023 – Disco Divas

OUT FRONT Magazine – August 2023 – Disco Divas published on
Cartoon self-portrait of artist Dylan Edwards, excerpted from one of his comics. He is standing to the left side of the panel, wearing a black hat with metal studs across the front, glasses, and a purple t-shirt featuring The Birthday Massacre band logo. He has a quizzical look, and has a speech balloon that reads: "It's arraigning men ... is that a thing?"

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 …

Read the whole comic in the online edition here (I’m on page 6).

Cheers,

Dylan

OUT FRONT Magazine – July 2023 issue: Queerdos

OUT FRONT Magazine – July 2023 issue: Queerdos published on

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.

Cheers,

Dylan

OUT FRONT Magazine – June 2023 Pride issue

OUT FRONT Magazine – June 2023 Pride issue published on

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.

You can find the comic on page 44 of the online mag!

Cheers,

Dylan

OUT FRONT Magazine – May 2022 issue

OUT FRONT Magazine – May 2022 issue published on

This month’s OUT FRONT Magazine is all about Health and Wellness!

My comic for this issue explores the impact of our current political climate on the mental health of my queer and trans brain.

You can read the online edition here (I’m on page 6): https://outfrontmagazine.com/may-2022-health-wellness-issue/

Cheers,

Dylan

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