Curvy is a cute webcomic about a girl named Anaïs and her sexytime adventures through various worlds with her friend Fauna. We learn that Earth is called “Boring World” by folks in all other worlds, which is kind of amusing. Sadly, I think it has the problem shared by every other comic that updates with only one panel a week, which is that the pacing is really slow. I have a difficult time remembering stories when I read them one tiny piece at a time! I went and re-read Other People’s Business from the beginning when we first moved to CA and I had a lot of free time, and I had a much better grasp of the intricacies of the story when I read it all in a day and a half. I think I just absorb details better that way.
Anyway! There’s a side detail in Curvy that’s pretty awesome. In the current issue, Anaïs winds up on a pirate ship (full of sexy pirates, obviously), and befriends a particular pirate named Jonathan. In his first appearance, we learn that he’s “genetically” a mermaid, but grew up feeling like a pretty shitty mermaid and dreaming of being a pirate. While it’s clear that Jonathan was raised a female mermaid and clearly identifies as a male pirate, and not just a pirate in general, for him being male seems like part of the package of piratehood and not the most important part of his identity. As evidenced in his daydreams and this later comic after he has THE SURGERY, having legs is just as important as having a dick. It’s interesting to me that we see his mother being upset with him wearing clothes, wanting to live on land, etc. but having no problem with his male identity.
It’s a take on trans identity I haven’t seen before, and while if someone had told me “hey, there’s a mermaid-to-pirate trans person in this webcomic, you should check it out” I would have been extremely skeptical, I think it works well. I’m sure in the wrong hands it would be offensive or just ridiculous, but It manages to ring true to me in terms of being an accurate and respectful portrayal of a trans character. Plus I love the sight of him wearing pants and a strap-on over the mer-tail.
I also really appreciate reading something that includes a trans character who’s not the focus of the story. Don’t get me wrong – I love trans-centric media and wish there was more of it. But I think it’s important to have trans people represented in popular media as well-rounded people whose gender identities aren’t the only facet of their personality. I’d be just as happy to see a story with a trans main character where the plot isn’t centered around them coming out/beginning their transition. I know I’ve heard this criticism about gay characters as well, and I think we’re starting to see more gay characters who exist as something other than vehicles for another coming out story.
Coming out stories are really important! I love hearing them! But there’s more to queer and trans life than that first step, you know?