There's a rallying cry in fandom: Disregard canon, acquire representation. For those who don't live their lives neck deep in fandom (like me ahem >.>), the short version is that it means when you're sick of seeing cis, white, straight dudes as the stars of all the stories, bend that shit. Write about bisexual transgender Captain America. (You know who you are and I love you.) Roll around in the Harley Quinn/Poison Ivy 'ship. Read lifetimes into that shared look of intensity between Lagertha and Siggy. And while you're at it, racebend the hell out of Jane Austen.
Why? Well, for one, it's fun, so why not?
But for another, if we're not gonna get representation, we'll make our own. The stories we read and see become a part of us--that's why we feel so 'unf' when something connects and hits that right spot. Living in someone else's head, having someone else's adventures, they become ours. We internalize the way the people and situations are presented in those stories. The beauty standards, the morality--even if we're actively fighting it, it seeps in sometimes, especially when we're young. If we don't conform to that naturally, it often results in internalized ____phobia, right? What's wrong with me? Should I be something else? Oh god.
Speaking as someone who's seen the horror wrought by internalized biphobia, lemme tell you. It's no joke.
When we do get representation. Magic happens. Like this letter from the the letters column of Young Avengers #17 by Allen Heinberg. WARNING: This letter contains a non-explicit reference to a suicide attempt:
Not all representation is perfect. It's important for those who consume the product to call it out, and for creators to not be a dick about it when they screw up. But all that conversation can't be anything but good, in the end, and that's what's important. So that's my main idea for this year's International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia : representation is where it's at. I'm gonna work harder at it, myself, and I'm gonna celebrate it where I see it.
In that spirit, one commenter on this post will be chosen by the magical random.org fairy to get a trade paperback of an awesome comic that represents--and a decent romantic subplot. The winner can choose from:
Young Avengers Volume 2, #1 by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. The teenage love affair between Billy Kaplan and Teddy Altman might save the world... or break it. The series also includes several other LGBTQ teens, including David Alleyne (Prodigy), America Chavez (Miss America), and, of course, Loki.
Astonishing X-Men: Northstar by Marjorie Liu and Mike Perkins. Contains Marvel's first LGBTQ wedding between Northstar and longtime boyfriend Kyle Jinadu. Bonus: interracial relationship FOR THE WIN. (I might be biased there. But still.)
Just drop a comment and some way I can contact you--email, twitter, tumblr (make sure your ask box is open!), whatever works for you. I'll random.org it after the hop is over.
Happy hopping, y'all!