LGBTQ Gatekeeping

LGBTQ+ communities can sometimes be surprisingly horrible to people whose identities don’t fit into neat categories.

A lot of people who have to fight for a place to exist, especially queer people, have had numerous experiences of being rejected. After all, being “marginalized” literally means that someone is pushed to the margins, silenced, and denied support. It’s not just who you love and how you present yourself and what pronouns you use that people find upsetting, but also how everything resulting from that – your perspective, your trauma, your lack of opportunities, your frustration with being treated differently, and so on – makes you “queer.” If you have to fight to create a community that accepts you, it’s only natural that you would want to defend it from people you perceive to be outsiders.

This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to support members of the LGBTQ+ community. If you’re an ally, it’s best not to assume that members of the LGBTQ+ community don’t need your support because they will support each other. Speaking personally, I value and appreciate every single straight ally (and every member of the LGBTQ+ community who has felt compelled to remain closeted for personal or professional reasons) who has ever stood up, spoken out, and done the right thing.

That being said, a lot of straight people are still unconsciously (and sometimes unapologetically) bigoted. So, to all my fellow “queer” people – no one is going to create a space for us if we don’t do it ourselves. It can be difficult to be soft and yielding, especially when we’ve worked so hard to develop our emotional armor, but we should know better than anyone that there is strength and beauty in diversity.

Emotional Support Photo

Embarrassingly enough, this actually happened to me in 2018.

The one thing I didn’t miss in 2020 was having to go to academic conferences. I’m not crazy about infinite Zoom meetings, but flying across the country to spend two nights in an expensive conference hotel so that I could work sixteen hours in one day wasn’t fun either. I used to love flying when I was younger, but I eventually got to a point where it started to stress me out. If nothing else, it’s nice to be able to take a break from conference travel.

I still use (this photo) to help myself cope with Zoom meetings, though.

School’s Out

I’m like this at the end of every semester, but it hits especially hard this year.

It’s tough to get to know a group of interesting and talented people as you watch them learn and grow from week to week, only to then no longer see or talk to (most of) them ever again.

Like An Adult

A conversation with a friend reminded me that “self-care” means actually taking care of yourself at work. “Working through the pain” is sometimes necessary in special circumstances, but it shouldn’t be expected, and it definitely shouldn’t be the default.

Sweaty & Upsetty

Sweaty & Upsetty is a collection of short comics I posted on Tumblr between 2014 and 2018. Some of these comics are about fandom, and some are about anxiety, but most of them are about the experience of being on the internet as a weird little gremlin. There are also a few comics about my Super Mario Bros. headcanon, which is that Bowser and Princess Peach are not-so-secretly dating.

This zine is twenty pages long, standard half-letter size, and professionally printed by Mixam with a velvet-touch cover and full-color glossy interior pages. It was an experiment in formatting artwork for print, so I only made fifty copies to give to friends. I also dropped off a few copies at my local comic book store in Washington DC, Fantom Comics, and I have three last copies that I’m going to leave at Quimby’s Bookstore when I visit Chicago for an academic conference in late October.

My artwork has improved in leaps and bounds since I started sharing it online five years ago. I don’t think I’ll ever reprint this zine, but I’m looking forward to putting together another comics zine early next year!