Where Am I Supposed To Pee?

Cartoon by Barry

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This comic was co-written by Barry Deutsch and Grace Annam, and drawn by Barry.

Transcript of comic:

Panel 1

(A white woman in jeans and a t-shirt, with a big mop of curly hair and glasses, is holding out a clipboard and a pen towards a Black woman with a polka-dot skirt, sleeveless blouse, carrying a purse. The polka-dot skirt woman has stopped to listen to what clipboard woman is saying. They are on a sidewalk; we can see a tree, a fire hydrant, and a parked car in the background. A dog sniffs the hydrant.)

Clipboard: Sign the petition for the “Bathroom Bill!” It makes it illegal for people to use public bathrooms that don’t match the sex on their birth certificate!

Panel 2

(Polka-Dot has turned towards Clipboard and gestures towards herself by placing her hand on her upper chest.)

Polka-Dot: Actually, I’m trans, and there’s something I really want to ask you.

Panel 3

(A large panel, showing Polka Dot shrugging while looking a bit angry. Behind her we can see a street full of buildings drawn in a cartoony style. Her dialog is written in large bubble letters, forming the title for this comic strip.)

Polka-Dot: Where am I supposed to pee?

Panel 4

(Clipboard, looking irritated, holds her hands out in a “it’s so easy!” gesture, while Polka-Dot clasps her hands together and looks a bit horrified at what Clipboard is suggesting.)

Clipboard: Does it say “male” on your birth certificate? Then use the men’s room.

Polka-Dot: But I’m no safer in a men’s room than any other woman!

Panel 5

(This entire panel is a thought balloon extending from the previous panel, showing what Polka-Dot is visualizing as she speaks. The image shows Polka-Dot, having just walked into a men’s room, looking frightened as three hulking male figures approach her. Polka-Dot is holding up a sign that says “I’m Trans.”

Polka-Dot’s dialog in this panel isn’t spoken by the Polka-Dot in Polka-Dot’s visualization; rather, it’s an extension of the dialog from the previous panel.)

Polka-Dot: And I’d out myself every time I use a bathroom! That’s really dangerous! Lots of trans people have been assaulted!

Panel 6

(Polka-Dot is attempting to explain further, but Clipboard holds out her hands in a “stop talking” gesture.)

Polka-Dot: I’m just asking that you think about how trans folks are supposed to–

Clipboard: That’s not gonna happen.

Polka-Dot: But–

Panel 7

(Much to Polka-Dot’s surprise, Clipboard reaches up with both hands and lifts the entire top of her head neatly off, as if it were a hat. We can see the top of Clipboard’s brain, and that her brain is bound with many tight black cords.)

Clipboard: Here, look at my brain.

Polka-Dot: Whoa!

Panel 8

(A close-up on Clipboard’s exposed brain, and the thick black cords binding it; Clipboard points at the brain with her left hand.)

Clipboard: See that stuff strangling my brain? That’s fear. Fear of things I don’t understand. Fear of you.

Panel 9

(Polka-Dot looks concerned, while Clipboard yells angrily.)

Polka-Dot: All that fear strangling your brain looks really painful. Why not take it off?

Clipboard: Never!

Panel 10

(Still looking irritated, Clipboard explains. Behind her we can see the city as a dark silhouette.)

Clipboard: Uprooting my fear would require lots of work. I’d rather direct my fear at you. That way I don’t have to confront it.

Panel 11

(A closeup on Clipboard, laughing like a B-Movie villain. We can still see her bound brain.)

Clipboard: That’s how fear always wins! Until everyone stops seeing trans people as freaks to be feared, I can’t lose! Ha ha ha!

Panel 12

(Final panel. We are in a park, but there are science fiction elements; there’s a spaceship floating in the background. Two children, one on a hoverboard, and one with pointy ears and with a robot dog on a leash, are talking. In the foreground, Clipboard – brain still strangled – reacts with frustration to what the kids are saying.)

Hoverboard Child: My teacher says people used to try to stop trans people from going to the bathroom!

Robot Dog Child: Weird! Where would President Hernandez pee?

Clipboard: Dammit!

Posted in LGBT cartoons |

What If All The Defaults Were Reset?

Cartoon by Barry

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Transcript of cartoon:

What If All The Defaults Were Reset?

Panel 1

(A suspicious-looking young white man in a sweater, arms crossed, is listening to a magical fairy, who is speaking earnestly to him while hovering in the air on her two small wings. The Fairy is dark-skinned, has her head shaved except for a little poof of hair on top, has no arms below the elbows, and has two little feathered wings.)

FAIRY: When you’re not the “societal default” – white, straight, male, cis, etc – it’s like a thousand little weights!

Panel 2

(Sweater-dude looks angry, and has lifted his arms in the air to make a point.)

SWEATER-DUDE: You minorities always make a big deal out of nothing… I’m sure it’s not hard to handle!

Panel 3

(The Fairy, a wild grin on her face, casts a spell – we know because a caption says “casting cool magic spell” – and a big cloud of magic smoke appears where Sweater-Dude was.)

FAIRY: Okay, let’s see!

Panels 4-13
(These panels form a giant circle. They can be read starting with any panel.)

Panel 4

(A man with an eyepatch puts his hands on his face in a gesture of astonishment.)

MAN: You identify as the sex you were assigned at birth? Whoa! So what does your junk look like?

Panel 5

(A fat woman with cat’s eye glasses and a striped crop top is giving instructions with a cheerful, helpful demeanor..)

WOMAN: If you’d just stop undereating you could be fat. You can do it!

Panel 6

(An irritated looking woman with curly hair, arms akimbo, is asking a question.)

WOMAN: ¡Habla español! Esto es América!

Panel 7
(An older woman with a punk haircut makes a shrugging “what can we do?” gesture.)

WOMAN: Sure, nearly all the Senators and CEOs are women. But how is that sexist against men?

Panel 8

(A young person with tattoos looks anxious as they speak.)

WOMAN: Have you tried being queer? Really really tried? I only ask because I want you to be happy!

Panel 9

(An older woman looks up from a TV Guide, looking puzzled..)

WOMAN: Why would anyone watch a TV show about young people?

Panel 10

(A cheerful man wearing a yarmulke is giving helpful advice. His hands are flapping in the air around his face.)

MAN: Couldn’t you just try making stimming gestures? You don’t want to seem weird!

Panel 11

(A woman holds her hand over her mouth in a gesture of dismay and astonishment.)

WOMAN: You like sex? That must be so hard.

Panel 12

(A man in a wheelchair spreads out his hands to indicate being impressed..)

MAN: You walk everywhere? Wow! I could never live like that!

Panel 13

(A young Black woman looks at the viewer with a friendly “just asking questions” expression.)

WOMAN: Why do white people talk with that accent? And can I touch your hair?

Panel 14

(This panel is surrounded by the circle formed by panels 4-13. It shows Sweater-Dude, wide-eyed and panicked, hands on the sides of his face.)

SWEATER-DUDE: What’s happening?

Panel 15
(This panel, occupying the bottom third of the comic, shows the Fairy speaking directly to the viewer. In the background, we can see Sweater-Dude, with the giant circle formed by panels 4-13 on his back. Sweater-Dude is trembling with the effort of holding up so much weight.)

FAIRY: If you have to lift this weight every day of your entire life…

Plus the weight of historical inequalities plus the weight of institutional oppression…

It can all add up to a crushing load!

If that weight looks petty to you … Maybe that’s because it’s not on your back.

Posted in Anti-racist cartoons, Feminist cartoons, LGBT cartoons, Social Justice |

The Gender Fence

Cartoon by Barry

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If you argue with the more intelligent conservatives about gender issues, sooner or later you are challenged with a famous quote from G. K. Chesterton:

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

That argument makes sense as far as it goes; but what it ignores is why the “modern type of reformer” wants the fence taken down. It ignores the possibility that the person wanting the fence taken down is reacting to real and immediate pain, and that there might actually be some urgency in the situation.

Transcript of cartoon.

This cartoon has two panels.
PANEL ONE
In the first panel, a genderqueer person whose gender presentation is ambiguous, is talking to a suburban-looking man wearing a polo shirt. There’s a old-fashioned wooden rail fence running between them.

CAPTION: How they see gender.
GENDERQUEER PERSON (sternly): We need to dismantle this fence.
SUBURBAN MAN (cheerfully): Whoa! Let’s not rush.

PANEL TWO
The same scene, except now the post of the fence is going through the genderqueer person’s back, pinning them to the ground, and they are in agony.

CAPTION: How I see gender.
GENDERQUEER PERSON (agonized): WE NEED TO DISMANTLE THIS FENCE!
SUBURBAN MAN (cheerfully): Whoa! Let’s not rush.

Posted in Feminist cartoons, LGBT cartoons |

Gay Bullies!

Cartoon by Barry

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Transcript of cartoon

Panel 1
There are two women talking. One has streaks dyed in her hair; the other has black hair.
STREAKS: We can’t talk about gay rights without talking about the history of homophobia which–
BLACK: Stop GAY BULLYING me!

Panel 2
STREAKS: Pardon me?
BLACK: Anyone who disagrees with the queer agenda gets called a “homophobic,” “intolerant” “bigot!” That’s BULLYING!

Panel 3
STREAKS: Look, I’m not talking about you. It’s not personal. But can I talk about the general social context?
BLACK: Of course!

Panel 4
STREAKS: Great! Like I was saying, in a context of bigotry and homopho–
BLACK: GAY BULLIES! I’m being GAY BULLIED! HELP! HELP!

Posted in LGBT cartoons |

Trans Bills

Cartoon by Barry

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This cartoon features two characters: A woman in a striped skirt and a black sleeveless shirt, and a stereotypical businessman carrying a little briefcase.

Panel 1
WOMAN: I’m ready to be true to myself and transition… I’m a woman!
MAN: (Handing her a small piece of paper) Okay! Here you are!

Panel 2
WOMAN: What’s this?
MAN: It’s a bill for changing your name and gender on your birth certificate.
WOMAN: That’s not so bad.

Panel 3
The man isn’t shown in this panel, but from his direction, a flood of little bills shoots at the woman. The man’s dialog fills so much space in this panel that it looks like the woman is in danger of being buried under it.
MAN: And a bill for surgery. And a bill for a legal name change. And a bill for hormone treatment. And a bill for a new passport. And an electrolysis bill. And the bill for updating your social security info. And a bill for yet another surgery, which you’ll need to take months off from work to recover from. And bills for a new wardrobe. And voice lessons. And…
WOMAN: Eep!

Panel 4 (last panel)
The woman looks shellshocked as she holds a huge armload of bills. The man holds out yet another slip of paper to her.
WOMAN: I didn’t realize my true self was so deeply in debt…
MAN: Oh, look a note from your boss! It turns out that firing people for being trans is still legal.

Tiny “kicker” panel inset in panel 4
MAN: And did you know about the wage gap?
WOMAN: Please stop talking.

Posted in Economic cartoons, LGBT cartoons |

Marriage Fixes Everything!

Cartoon by Barry

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Description of cartoon:

The cartoon depicts a young mother and her toddler, in a small and crappy-looking room. The woman is bent double under a load of boxes, trunks and bags, each of which is labeled: Unemployment, Lack of Education, Illness, Bigotry, Exhaustion, Low Wages, Childcare, Looking Poor, and Crime.

Also in the room is a young white guy, wearing a necktie and suspenders, who is grinning happily and telling the woman “I know what’s holding you down! You should be married!”

In a little “epilog” panel at the bottom of the cartoon, the guy continues “…Unless you’re gay.”

Posted in Barry's favorites, Economic cartoons, LGBT cartoons |

The End Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (plus alternative version including I for Intersexuality)

Cartoon by Barry

First panel: We see a deep pit. Climbing out of the pit, using a rope and anchor, are three cartoon letters, each with arms and legs: “L,” “G,” and “B.”

L: Almost there… Almost free of this horrible HOLE of DISCRIMINATION!

Second panel: The three letters have climbed out of the pit, and are dancing and celebrating.

LG & B (speaking together): We MADE IT! “Don’t ask don’t tell” is GONE!

Third Panel: The shot has moved down to the bottom of the pit; the top of the panel is now above the top of the panel. There, still holding onto the rope and climbing, is a cartoon letter “T.”

Word balloon from above the top of the panel: Thank goodness that’s over! Now we can rest!

Another word balloon from above: YAY!

T: Um… GUYS?

Don’t get me wrong — I’m thrilled about the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We should celebrate. But we shouldn’t forget that the work ain’t done.

Transgender American Veteran’s Association (TAVA) president Monica Helms wrote:

On this day of celebration, TAVA has one request for all of those who will be cheering and partying. We ask that everyone take a moment of silence to acknowledge that the fight is not over. A moment of silence for all of those trans people who will still face discharge when being outed.

Take a moment to remember the trans people who gave their lives in silence to protect this country. TAVA stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in celebrating this historical day. All we ask is for them to stand in solidarity with the trans community in our struggle to end ALL discrimination in the US military. The fight is not over.

UPDATE: At the suggestion of a magazine editor, I modified this cartoon to add an “I” for “intersexuality.”

Posted in LGBT cartoons |

Such An Easy Mistake To Make

Cartoon by Barry

Posted in Feminist cartoons, LGBT cartoons |

How The G.O.P. Courts The Gay Vote

Cartoon by Barry

Posted in LGBT cartoons |

With God On Their Side / My God

Cartoon by Barry

Posted in Barry's favorites, Feminist cartoons, Imperialism & War, LGBT cartoons |