At New York Comic-Con’s panel Secret Identities: Transgender Themes in Comic Books, Batgirl writer Gail Simone related a conversation with another comics creator who said that (paraphrased) “you’ll know we’re ‘there’ [regarding diversity] when we have a transgender character on the cover of a comic book.” While the industry hasn’t quite hit that level of visibility, it’s well on its way with panels like this one at NYCC (and a similar one at SDCC, also featuring Simone, which filled the convention’s largest room).
Moderating NYCC’s panel was Charles Battersby, a playwright and journalist who also runs Press XY, a website examining trans issues in gaming. Other panelists included Morgan Boecher, author and artist of the semi-autobiographical webcomic What’s Normal Anyway?, about his FTM (female-to-male) transition; and P. Kristen Enos, a cisgender lesbian LGBTQ activist and author.
The panel discussed the history of transgender characters in comics, from offensive plot devices to someone as normal as your roommate. They also discussed how to avoid tokenizing such characters, and offered recommendations for characters so that trans readers can see themselves reflected in comic books.