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.
I was interviewed for this film back in 2017 while I was at the Queers & Comics Conference organized by Jennifer Camper and Justin Hall, so yeah, you’ll see me and my work in there!
The film, directed by Vivian Kleiman, shares the same name as the anthology Justin published through Fantagraphics back in 2012, in which I also have some work. The book and the film focus on the last 50-ish years of queer comics history, how we get from utterly marginalized underground indie comics to Alison Bechdel’s bestseller-turned-hit-musical Fun Home.