Austen Crowder

Transgender Comics: "Between the Lines"

Filed By Austen Crowder | October 25, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Transgender & Intersex

A crisp artistic style, engaging storylines, and good ol' trans melodrama. betweenthelinesc1cover.jpgIt's a combination that can't really go wrong, and "Between the Lines" proves it.

The comic details the lives of young transsexuals at different moments of time as they come to terms with their transition. Unfortunately, there are only three episodes available right now - you can read the entire archive in about thirty minutes - but what is there is definitely worth reading.

Dani's episodes detail the initial realization that transition may be the right thing to do. It's a story that's not often explored outside of "I always knew I was a girl," and it's certainly a good read for someone trying to understand the confusion of a teenage trans mind as it explores crossdressing and gender roles. Some of the conversations that take place hit _too_ close to home: I can almost hear my ex-girlfriend in the back of my mind as Dani's friend gives the "You are happier as a girl" speech.

Shay's story goes a bit further down the line: by the time we meet her, she's already living as a woman. It's obvious that she's had a harder life than most. Shay's mother and father were involved in a horrific divorce battle, in which Shay's transition was used as a weapon in the courtroom by her father. We follow her first steps toward transition in flashback - notably, meeting her Auntie - as her present self recounts the story. Again, there's certainly a lot of truth in the story; I happen to know a certain somebody with whom I had a similar experience: one second I was another patron, and the next I was "in the family," so to speak.

The coming-out process is magnified to melodrama within the pages, and all three episodes deal with the issue directly. Whether it's a mother screaming at her faggot son, a father claiming negligence because a mother gives her daughter hormones, or a self-hating transsexual pouring malice onto another girl, there's always drama between the lines. While it certainly falls into the realm of "stereotypical trans story," they're entertaining to read. It's like the forensics of shows like "Bones" or "CSI": totally over-the-top, but worth watching. Even when parental abuse enters the picture, the drama pops off the page:

Long story short: if you are looking for a well-drawn trans comic and can stand a little melodrama, "Between the Lines" is definitely worth a look.

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