Gail Simone to speak at White House about LGBTQ and PWD in the media
I am completely stunned and amazed, but this is apparently happening!
I am giving a short speech about LGBTQ and PWD characters in the media at the White House on Thursday. I haven’t had much notice and I spent a full day imagining that it had to be a prank or a terrible mistake, but it is actually going to happen.
I want to thank the literally hundreds of people in those groups who have written to offer support. I wish I could express my appreciation in person. I know I am lucky to have the readership I do. It’s the thing I still can’t believe about this job.
Anyway, I am not an authority on these topics and I think true activists are heroic but are working on a much higher level than I am, so I thought my speech would be about something I actually DO know a little bit about, which would be how things have changed for representation in the media, specifically comics. The progress we have seen, and of course, the long distance we have to go.
So I am posting this thread, for people who are lgbtq or pwd who have a thought they would like me to keep in mind. Anything you would say if you had the chance at an event like this. I can’t guarantee it will be included, but I want to be a messenger rather than a fake ‘expert,’ if that makes sense.
I have said this many times. The only reason I know ANYTHING about these topics is because people like you right here on Tumblr were kind and patient enough to share your world with me a little bit and I hope to use this opportunity to pay you back.
Your thoughts are MOST WELCOME.
Congrats, Gail! This is amazing.
My two cents as a bisexual who fortunately never felt all that “confused” and always respected myself above anyone else’s opinions: Education and visibility are vital. They don’t have to be major— simply learning the word “bisexual” at the age of 10 and knowing that women like Melissa Etheridge and Ellen DeGeneres existed was enough to keep my head up.
One of the things I came to love about comics fairly quickly was the amount of queer characters I found almost immediately. I went 16 years without seeing any trans people in media. After I started reading comics, I encountered three in two years (Wanda in Sandman, Lord Fanny in the Invisibles, and Mel in American Virgin.) The democratization of webcomics brought dozens of new queer perspectives to me as easily as breathing, that were about more things than just “queer issues”. Bisexuals seemed like they were everywhere. Queer teenagers who were also superheroes? Only in comics.
And this translated in to real life, too. Being able to chat with a new friend about X-Men as a means of entry into talking about queer rights and identity, both to find out where they stood and maybe if they also were… The first Pride parades I marched in were with my comic book store. For most of my young adulthood, my comics community (online and off) doubled as my queer community. When people ask me why I love comics so much, a lot of the time I don’t even think to bring up how queer they are, because to me it’s so ingrained. Whether we’re talking about characters and creators, themes and metaphors, or even just the often “camp” aesthetic, comics have always brought to me the full spectrum of queerness.
What can I say, Wertham was right!