Comics is a very powerful tool to use to inform youth, or anyone really, about certain things.
When I was younger I was a member of a club which was actually a feminine hygiene club (for girls who recently hit puberty) which featured a comic strip every month.
Naturally this caught my attention. It didn’t inform you about how lesbians work, but it did show some stereotype gag-strip humour about how women was on their periods (!)
There’s a great increase in LGBT themed comics out today than it was a decade ago, and that’s a good thing.
The LGBT community can never get enough attention, as it is still a on-going fight for equal rights in many places of our world.
One of the first most controvenial come-outs within gay characters in comics was back in 1993 in the comic For better or for Worse, by Lynn Johnston, where the readers didn’t take it so well. We’ve done such a great progress!
Webcomics is also a new concept, and LGBT webcomics, which is what I want to focus on.
So here’s the big 3 comics which opened the gates to my LGBT comic world:
My first comic was Khaos Komix by Tab Kimpton. The story features 8 teenagers going through their early life towards becoming adults, where as there’s a mix between gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans characters.
I think trans was especially what I taught most about, since I was so unfamiliar with transMEN back in the days.
Tab has alot of other LGBT themed comics, like Shades of A which is taking A-sexuality, androgynious characters and crossdressing to new levels. I am especially thankful for that last comic as asexuals sort of drown out in our society and isn’t often very popular to write about (yet).
My second comic was YUME+Dream by rosalarian, a story of a young girl going to a all girl catholic school and finding the girl of her dreams.
It does also contain a various number of gay characters, and it as it is also a very early comic (one of the first I recall finding when trying to find gay comics) and a very fameous comic too. Rosalarian has later made several other comics which is mostly made with mature readers in mind. I will always remember it as my first portal into the world of gayness, though, so YUME stays special to me.
My third comic was Simply Sarah written by SkyAngel, which was also how I found the Duck webcomic community. The story starts off with a young girl and follows her through the stages of life of becoming an adult, finding true love, dealing with being in love, and what fascinates me the most is how the comic touches all types of genre: detective/mystery, some horror/thriller themes, romance, sexuality, drama… I think it got possibly every genre but it is very tastefully put together. It features a handful of lesbian characters and a transgender lesbian girl. This comic is still ongoing!
There’s obviously ALOT of new lgbt comics out there!
The early comics was often focused on coming out, and often the entire story was about how they coped with being gay. There’s a comic called Blue is the warmest color taking place in the early 1990s about two young lesbians meeting each other where as one of them has not come out yet, which is the perfect example of one of these stories, and especially since it is in a time before people got used to the idea.
What is interesting is the new trend of making lgbt characters in stories, but where the main focus is not on their gender or sexuality. It also normalize it more, and to make the characters be a part of our every day society more than being the plotline of a story.
Not that it is wrong to write a coming out story, but the readers change with time and luckily we’ve evolved alot since the 90’s.