Comic Con to Hold First-Ever Trans Panel This Year

The inclusion of this panel marks a great step in progress for the trans community, comics, and pop culture.
By: Lynn De La Cruz
July 22 2014 5:39 PM
Ashley Love (journalist, media advocate), Tamara Adrian (ILGA World Trans Secretariat), Tara Avery (cartoonist, Prism Comics) during this year’s Pride month

This year’s Comic Con will hold the first-ever trans-specific panel, Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular Culture, marking a positive step forward in comics, film, TV, and pop culture.

While there have been LGBT panels in the past, there have never been one that was solely created for trans panelists. Breaking Barriers will be moderated by trans female comic Tara Madison Avery. Joining Avery on the panel is Dylan Edwards (Transposes), Milanie Gillman (As the Crow Flies), J.D. Saxon (Mahou Shounen Fight!), Elizabeth Lain (F*** the Limit!: The 30-Day Art Project), Ashley Love (Trans Forming Media), and Michelle Nolan (Love on the Racks: A History of American Romance Comics).

Ashley Love, Trans Forming Media journalist and trans advocate, spoke about the inclusion of the panel. “A lot’s changed since last decade concerning images of transsexual or gender non-conforming people. More trans* characters are included in TV and film, some of them affirming and balanced. On the flip side we’re still struggling with issues like Hollywood ‘transface’, where non-trans male actors are miscast to play trans woman roles, such as the recent Dallas Buyers Club controversy and  Amazon’s upcoming show Transparent. There’s also a dangerous pattern of dehumanizing and anti-trans slurs, such as ‘tra**y’, being co-opted by non-trans folks, but the good news is trans* Americans (and internationally) are pushing back against this defamation and misgendering, like our successful campaign against RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s great that Comic Con is finally having a trans* specific panel because our communities have so much to offer mainstream society in terms of talent, creativity and expertise. Though many challenging obstacles remain, I feel things are getting better.”

Tara Avery, the panel’s moderator also shared a few words about the panel: "We want to focus on the emerging visibility of the trans community with this panel. That presents a challenge if we want to confine the discussion to mainstream comics. There are no major trans characters in any of the Big Three's books right now. Instead we chose to focus on other publishing venues.  Trans creators and characters have found homes in small press comics and webcomics where there are fewer corporate restraints and creators can remain true to themselves and their vision."

Sit in with the panel this Thursday, July 24 at 5 p.m. at room 28DE!

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