Dear bookworms, how are you?
We are fine! We are back on line, at last, and today Gabriele will tell you about a collection o graphic novels focused on LGBT topics. He heard about that during this thing conference organized by the Auckland Writers Festival, but he decied to write you just now, after reading all of them. Enjoy!
This way, the event quickly changed in a kind of a friends' hangout, in which the graphic novelists, clearly overwhelmed, laughed with the people, even talking about important topics. Among all ecology, and the need of saving our ecosystem (the graphic novel on climate changes presented by Damon Keen was beautiful and powerful, however, we are going to talk about this in a specific article).
Another topic subjected to discussion was the omosexuality. The author who spoke on this subject, Sam Orchard, is pretty acrive in this field, also beacuse he is a transman himself, born in Australia e who moved to New Zealand years ago. Orchard is a graphic novelist/designer (here is own website), and his works are deeply inspired by the LGBT world(here the website), writing and explaining to who needs to know, to who already knows, to who wants to learn.
Made curious by Orchard’s presentation during the event, I went to the library and borrowed his trilogy of graphic novels: Family Portraits, stories about who we are and how we love, and now I will try to tell you about them not from an artistic point of view, but from experience as a reader.
Instead, the gender identity represents what a person feels he is. It can match with the medical definition, or not. if we imagine spectrum of possibilities as a line, at the far ends we find “man” and “woman”, and in the middle all th epossibile combinations originated by your own body and what attracts you. Therefore there are people attracted by people of the same sex, of the other sex, or by both. Within these groups, we can find people who live in harmony with their own bodies, or that have changed them, or even people who cannot identify in ant kind of gender.
Particularly interesting is the part focused on who to address people. There are some english words that might be used as personal prononuns: “Zhe” or “Hir”, which are crasis of he/she and his/her.
Probably, the easiest thing to do is to directly ask to the person how he/she want to be called, for every one is different from all others.
I grew up in a hetero-environment, and wasn't that infrequent to hear mocks and expressions of derision against omosexuals. In recent years I've been supporting omosexual unions, above all for a matter of basic rights's recognition, and for humanity. However for a long time I had unanswered questions, even the most common and banal ones (do you address a trans with a female or male pronoun?). Therefore, I've approached these comics with the mood of who does not know and wants to understand. But how can I comprehend the feelings of a trans, a gender queer, a bigender? It is difficult to realize how does it feel to live in a body that you don't sense as yours. Extremely difficult. But there is one thing I can understand. Being labelled, classified in a category you don't belong to, not understood, not accepted.
I think is terrible, exspecially if who does not understand you is your own family. For these reasons, the process of knwowing yourself and of the identification of your own identity (gender identity, but we can include many other fields) is very long, difficult and painful. Being helped by specialists, and the experiences of who has already passed through this are crucial. From this point of view, Family Portraits is really useful.
The stories narrated in this trilogy are the memories of people that Sam has met during his life. People that found their dimensions, who loved and suffered for them. Stories of people who fought to find a resolution between his own nature and the cultural environment where he grew up (Thai, Maori, Catholic) and, sometime, stories of who gave up.
Gabriele Frigerio Porta for http://www.booklymaybe.org/