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Let’s talk about the possibility of trans Thorn

Let’s talk about the possibility of trans Thorn published on 53 Comments on Let’s talk about the possibility of trans Thorn

I’ve been going in circles on this for a long while now, and finally decided to toss it out in public and see what shakes out.

For casual readers, all the backstory: it’s established very early in the comic that Thorn has two biological moms. Readers almost immediately jumped on the fact that two cis women (XX + XX) can’t easily have a cis son (XY). So is gamete-bending a bonus feature of the reproductive magitech…or is someone in this equation trans?

At the time I was deliberately vague — because I hadn’t decided all the gametes involved, and wanted to keep my options open.

Since then, it’s mostly been easy to stay vague. Chromosomes aren’t exactly plot-relevant for a lot of storylines. They did come up in the (currently) Patreon-only short about Hyacinth — which left Grandma Clover’s genetics in doubt, and quietly avoided mentioning Thorn’s at all.

It wasn’t decisive…but it did narrow down the possibilities.

At this point I have three scenarios to choose from:

  1. Clover is an intersex woman (XY) with the gene for androgen insensitivity syndrome on the X chromosome; Thorn is a cis man (XY) and not a carrier
  2. Clover is a cis woman (XX) and a non-affected AIS carrier; Thorn is a trans man (XX) and a non-affected carrier
  3. Clover is an intersex woman (XY with AIS) and Thorn is a trans man (XX) and a non-affected carrier

The NSFW bonus art section has (so far) avoided showing anything, for either Thorn or Clover, that would rule any of those out.

True story: I seriously considered confirming trans!Thorn in this cast portrait (which has “at least 1 each” of various gender configurations)…then decided I wasn’t ready to be that decisive, and hastily drew in Mata to rep for the “flat-chested trans man” body type.

(…if you want to be picky, Mata had top surgery as an adult, while trans!Thorn would’ve taken hormones to go through male puberty and pre-empted the need for surgery, so they’re still different, but I digress.)

Fast-forward several months. I start writing a mini-storyline where Leif gets permission to ask Thorn some personal questions. They’re at a point in their relationship where Thorn is prepared to give intimate answers in frank detail. Which means I need to nail down, once and for all, what those answers canonically are.

So I did! I committed to a specific genetic setup, and wrote and drew all the way to the end of the storyline with that in mind!

…and then promptly started second-guessing it. Because of course.

Here’s a quick summary of the arguments I keep going back and forth over.

Points in favor of trans Thorn:

  • trans rep is good!
  • a trans main character would qualify the comic for new reclists and promotional opportunities
  • he can be biological-but-not-temporal twins with Tansy, which is weird and fun
  • easy genetic setup for future kid(s) with Leif (carried by a surrogate)

Points in favor of cis Thorn:

  • some details in canon (notably, the running gag about Thorn being short) might be off-putting with a confirmed-trans character
  • some people get mad/upset about NSFW with trans characters [ETA: the people whose feelings I’m concerned about are, themselves, trans]
  • I have a bunch of material I’d like to explore that only applies if his relationship with his body (and bodies in general) was fairly straightforward before everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked
  • he can ask Tansy to be the egg donor for future kid(s) with Leif, which is sweet and fun

…and since “churning over these lists with no results” is as far as my brain has been able to get on its own, this is the point where I open the floor to the rest of the world.

For people who like low-effort answers, here’s a poll. [ETA, August 9: Voting is closed! Conversation is still welcome.]

So, cis Thorn or trans Thorn?
  • Cis Thorn! 42%, 50 votes
    50 votes 42%
    50 votes - 42% of all votes
  • I'm happy with either 33%, 39 votes
    39 votes 33%
    39 votes - 33% of all votes
  • Trans Thorn! 13%, 15 votes
    15 votes 13%
    15 votes - 13% of all votes
  • Doesn't matter to me, I just like voting in polls 8%, 10 votes
    10 votes 8%
    10 votes - 8% of all votes
  • I'm not sure/I need more information 3%, 4 votes
    4 votes 3%
    4 votes - 3% of all votes
Total Votes: 118
23 July, 2019 - 9 August, 2019
Voting is closed

If you have a strong preference, comment and tell me why!

If you just have more points that you think should be on my lists of Things To Consider, I’ll take those too.

And if you have questions — about the worldbuilding in the comic, about how I would handle such-and-such a plot point, anything like that — ask away.

The issue that needs to get settled in canon soon is Thorn’s, but feel free to put in comments about Clover’s situation too, directly-related or not.

I’m especially interested in hearing from trans/intersex readers — but, listen, anyone could think of something I haven’t, so everyone’s input is welcome.

(…as long as it’s helpful. Anyone who wants to go “trans people don’t exist and intersex people need to pick a side” needs to go somewhere else.)

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53 Comments

I wish society was gender blind, I seek to overcome CIS societal training and not set an arbitrary value to any gender. Of course I slip at times, but keep working at it.

Trans reader here, and I voted for cis!Thorn. Partly because of the running gag, but also partly because we’re already into the fourth volume and you have built a world where transition is normalized and have multiple established trans characters who are casually out about it. That’s great, but it removes the usual reasons for treating a trans protagonist as a late-story reveal. Seems awkward from a narrative standpoint, especially since Thorn has already spent a lot of screen time developing a new intimate relationship, and especially since there’s been no intentional foreshadowing.

Good to know, thanks!

For the record, there are characters who are trans in my head who haven’t been established in the strip, because there’s never been a reason for it to come up. If we only ever see them living as their real gender, and they’re never involved in a pregnancy (or pregnancy scare), and they don’t have any dramatic signs of transition such as surgery scars or a cis twin…there’s not always a natural way to work it in.

But you’re right that, given how much screentime Thorn gets, the lack of intentional foreshadowing isn’t for lack of opportunity.

Hmm. What if it was one of the other chromosome options? I know that not everyone is XX or XY, but that’s about all I remember.

Other options can happen in regular biology — it’s called aneuploidy — but the magical-IVF process used to assemble Tansy and Thorn’s genomes would’ve come up with an even 46 chromosomes, every time. Most of the alternatives (across the whole genome, not just the X/Y-linked options) don’t lead to a viable pregnancy.

…and of the ones that do, a lot of them involve physical traits or health issues that are inconsistent with Thorn’s canon history anyway. (The XYY population seems to be one of the least noticeable, mostly the same as the general XY population…except that, on average, they’re taller!)

Since you’ve told us in-panel or in-comments or in-Q&A about various trans characters, it’s always seemed implicit to me that Thorn’s cis and that’s the concept of him in my head. So to me, it would seem a bit odd to have a sudden reveal. But not a big deal.

So I have a weak preference and I voted for cis, but I’m flexible. 😉

…sounds like that strategy is backfiring on me, since I don’t *want* to imply “cis unless specified trans,” I want to imply “unspecified until specified” :/

Gonna have to think about whether that’s something a different approach could fix, or whether it’s an overall Society problem that’s gonna persist no matter what.

If it was never part of the plan, it seems quite a retcon so late in the game based on an objection to a fantasy technology.

Reveal, not a retcon! And one of the storytelling tips I’ve figured out over the years is “if your writing raises a question where you can either handwave the issue, or make the effort to resolve it in a thoughtful and unusual way…the handwave is always the less-interesting option.”

Although in this case, the handwave would be to go all the way to “both of them are cis and perisex, don’t think about it too hard.” Which is why it’s not even on the list.

Ugh, seriously? Trans people are allowed to have sex lives, and it’s not some kind of sin to draw nsfw of them. I can understand being unhappy with fetishized trans people, which I have never seen you do, and I won’t judge if someone doesnt want to see nsfw of certain characters or in general, but you leave plenty of warning for those people to avoid your nsfw art. I feel unfocused on this topic. I just don’t understand why they get mad that nsfw of trans characters might exist and why that should matter, and it makes me feel defensive of my own status as a sexually active trans person.

People can be unreasonable, that’s the simple answer 🙁

Or they can have reasonable discomfort for themselves…but then go and project it all over the rest of the world.

It’s not about them being right (and you should have nothing to be defensive over!)…it’s more an issue of, I don’t know that I have the energy or the best position to go out and pick this particular fight.

Yes, I firstly reacted like kiwi to that, and it, in all honesty surprised me a bit, coming from you, to have any concern for people’s intolerance to the idea of trans having an actual life.

I am, generally speaking, of the opinion that if people are stupid enough to be upset about the existence of queerness and the fact we can have a life, then it should be our duty and pleasure to rub it in their face.

On the other hand I can understand, that, well, you do pick a lot of fights already, and might be a bit tired of the flakk I assume you might be recieving. I still don’t think it’s a good reason for thorn not to be trans (while there are other valid ones), but at least it’s an understandable one.

Especially when it comes to NSFW, which won’t be in the main comic, and that people would have to specifically search for.

To expand on my other comment, it’s not just a question of “does this happen in real life” (of course it does!), but a question of “is it something people want to read about, and, more specifically, that they want to read when it’s written/drawn by me?”

Taking an example that applies to my own identity — there are, in real life, women who identify as lesbians while having sex with cis men. Do I want to read that story? Unlikely (though it depends on how it’s done). Do I want to read that story as written by a straight man? Heck no, and I would be very skeptical of the writer who did it.

So in this case, the fight I don’t want is one where trans people (not all of them, obviously, just the ones who feel this way) say “don’t do this” and I as a cis person say “nonsense, I am doing great with it, go away.”

I would be fine picking a fight with transphobic cis people who just don’t want anyone to portray trans characters having a full range of life experiences! (Between Delphinium, Juniper, and Imri, I’m already giving that crew plenty to complain about.)

Then, it is not only a reason I understand, but also a good reason.
I must say you utterly fail to disappoint.

To oppose a point, though, as I firmly believe in the necessity of a devil’s advocate, in the same vein as what I advised to Raye Jasper a few comments down, you should still try.
Maybe you’ll fail, maybe you’ll be indelicate in your writing, But I dare to hope that, if you do so in a spirit of humbleness at your necessary ignorance of situations that aren’t your own experiences, and while taking heed to the criticisms you’ll get, only utter cunts would take offense of what is made in a good spirit.
And, as a certain bias to my opinion, I do also happen to know that you are more than able of an above average finesse when writing about those situations, if reading your work taught me anything.

I should add that I might have an uncommon opinion on the subject, as I’ve always believed the nature of a work needed to be separated from it’s “creator’s” characteristics (corollary of the infinite haiku theory, if you ever heard about it), and while I’d indeed steer away from such works you describe, it’d be more due to the statistical probability such works would lack the most basic knowledge of their subject rather than, strictly speaking, the cis manness of their author.
I chose not to necessarily try and find your gender/sexual/romantic identity, because I found those to be irrelevant to the appreciation of your work.
But I do indeed understand that not everybody would think the same, and that your worries are indeed based.

Anyhow, sorry to have forced you to indulge my love for unnecessary screeds. I do believe enough in you to think that whatever choice you’ll make on this issue, you’ll execute it masterfully, and without much criticisms to be made.

Keep on the good work,
you da best.

I added a line to the post to make it clearer!

And yeah, I agree that it’s an issue of statistical probability, not an intrinsic thing. There are relevant details that some people are likely to naturally learn as part of their life experiences, while other people have to actively seek out that information or they won’t get it.

Given the number of already-established trans characters in the comic, there’s a nonzero chance I’ll do NSFW art with them either way, so I definitely appreciate everyone’s input.

“If you have a strong preference, comment and tell me why!”

Voted for “I’m happy with either” as a strong preference. Odd choice perhaps but I like your story, I like your characters, and I want to keep reading the story you want to tell.

In a perfect world you wouldn’t need to worry about things like reclists and promotional opportunities or people getting mad/upset about NSFW with trans characters, but I understand it’s a real consideration.

In a world where transition relatively easy and common I’d imagine it’s be a lot less of a big deal than it is on our culture. Like, you’re about to serve someone a cake and they tell you they have diabetes. You wouldn’t necessarily know that even in months or years of knowing them because it’s not something that comes up all the time. (Maybe not the best example but I tried).

At the same time, from a story writing perspective, I don’t know that Thorn being trans ADDS to the story. Which is nice, in a way, but it also means that him being cis doesn’t feel like a “loss”, just an alternative path. You already have good trans representation, so it’s less… vital, I guess? I hope that makes sense?

Basically, I think if you really want to make Thorn trans and are worried about not putting hints in, I think you can still do it. If you don’t think it’s a good choice that’s fine as well.

I voted cis thorn, not because i feel especially strongly about it as much as because i feel this comic already has some really fantastic trans representation and Thorn being trans doesn’t add to that narratively in a way the other characters don’t already. While it’d be neat in its own ways if Thorn was trans, their are some downsides to it you’ve listed and you pretty much already have that representation beautifully covered throughout the side cast. Not to say more trans characters is bad or anything, more to say that more isn’t necessary in the case of this one character for the comic to be the best it can be.

plus, sometimes guys are just incredibly pretty and kinda short without being transgender, you know?

I’ve complicated feelings on this.

My strong feelings are that you should make the choice.

I think your comic has an absolutely amazing amount of trans characters, with all sorts of different experiences as is. And their world appears to be extremely accepting of this.

So, I end up wondering why hasn’t it come up before. Is that just because Thorn is an extremely private person? That for him it’s only relevant in regards to telling intimate partners. That’s legitimate.

I can’t see that people would make the short jokes knowing he was trans, unless he’s completely stealth about it. In a world without stigma against trans people that’s less of an issue.

But, we’re readers in the real world and to suddenly find out that people have been teasing a transman, about his height. (Just checked out that page you linked and that was a narrative joke about his height.)

And really, looking back those short jokes would then become the only real hint and foreshadowing that Thorn is trans, and that seems cruel.

Representation for short men, who’re bad-ass fighters is important, be they cis or trans.

I like that we have Thorn who’s dealing with disability. That his experience and need for disclosure in regards to his burns is similar to what a trans person might have to do. Now, this might be a bad thing in a comic without any trans characters if you were co-opting a trans narrative, for a cis character, but that’s not at all the case here. And I suppose we have disabled narrative too.

Write whatever is the best story for you. And I know you’re asking because you’re undecided.

Cis Guy that voted for Cis Thorn here.

I was going to vote “Happy with either”, despite having assumed that Thorn was Cis, but the pros list for Cis Thorn won me over (in order of importance, from high to low: points #3, #4, #1 – point number 2 doesn’t really affect me, so it got left off the list.)

I don’t have strong preferences about this (My mild preference is cis Thorn with intersex Clover,) but I want to say I think you’re brave for considering this. As a queer fantasy writer, I’m really enjoying how a lot of fantasy creators are making their worlds GRSM-friendly, as it’s something I both try to do and enjoy reading, but I’d be lying if I said I would feel comfortable writing a trans protagonist. As a cis person, I’d be so scared to misrepresent the trans experience… I would do research and everything but I’d just be so worried about getting things wrong and it would create so much anxiety that I’d be too freaked out to write (I don’t know if you watch The Good Place but if you do I’m basically Chidi) So I think it’s pretty brave and awesome that this is a thing you’d even consider doing.

Don’t be afraid, ask.
Ask trans people you know to tell you their story, tell them you want to try and understand to be able to write, I don’t think anybody’s gonna be upset by that.
And, once you’ve written, ask trans people to read it and tell you what they think.
Don’t be afraid to get things wrong, you WILL get them wrong, but you can’t get things right without getting them wrong first and being corrected.
As long as you are open-minded, accept people’s remarks, and accept to be corrected I don’t see why anybody should get offended of the fact you don’t know everything.

You should “do research” mainly for two reasons, first one, as I said, because it’s the one and only way to “get things right”, for writing or not, and second because being a writer able to adequately write trans characters has no downsides I’d be able to think of.

I would just like to point out another con.

At the moment, I would assume that most readers have assumed Thorn is a cis man. Partially due to nothing strongly contradicting it or due to not thinking about it too hard. Additionally, your advertisements for the comic generally leaned towards a gay main character pairing, which I would assume most people expected to be two cis men. Yes, I’m well aware of how transphobic that might be.

I’m pointing that out because, in general, people strongly dislike a sudden change or subversion of something they thought was established. In other words, if you do go with trans Thorn, don’t be too surprised if there’s a strong, negative backlash.

There’s also that old, nasty thought of “relationships between old boys are girls are okay, and Thorn is technically a girl so…” that comes up.

Note: This is mostly based on how I think people thing, which could be totally wrong.

I don’t have any real preference either way. Largely because it’s an unimportant detail for me- the only thing that’s really important for someone like me about gender is, “is this a compatible gender to this person’s orientation”, and it’s already clearly been shown that’s the case with him and Leif. What’s in his pants (or used to be in? I dunno what’s involved with transitioning as far as that’s concerned and it’s not something that I really want to know about) is irrelevant to me. Whether or not he’s Trans, this is a universe where no one would really need to ask that question, imo- all that needs saying is that he’s a boy and that’s that.

But I’m aro-ace and highly uncomfortable with sex in general, so take anything I say on the matter with a grain of salt.

I wanted to add.

SPOILERS FOR WEBCOMICS NEVERSATISFIED AND OHUMANSTAR!

I’ve read two comics that I can think of who’ve revealed characters are trans a few years in.

The first is Never Satisfied, and whether characters are trans or not really doesn’t matter in the world. The author’s trans, the protagonist is trans, and a number of the secondary characters are trans too. The author has word-of-godded a number of the characters as trans, although it’s likely never really going to come up in the comic itself because it’s just not that sort of comic. It’s a teen story and not a comic about romance and relationships. I think this way works perfectly in the context of the comic.

The second is OhumanStar and the character revealed is one of the protagonists. It’s part of the theme of the entire story, and while the revelation was a surprise to me, it’s one that makes perfect sense. I’m not sure if there was any backlash or not to the reveal since I completely ignored the comments. I love the comic so much more for this and the light it sheds onto the whole story and the additional layer of depth. It is clear it was the intention right from the start.

With Leif and Thorn I’m just not sure. The world’s similar to NeverSatisfied in regards to the existence of countless trans characters, without their stories needing to be centred around being trans. Also a world without any prejudice against trans people.

I think not knowing until it becomes relevant is perfectly in keeping with how Thorn is so private about his personal life, as well as with the world itself. In the world it might not be a big deal, but outside of the comics it probably would be by the readerbase.

I’m inclined to say give us AU trans-Thorn on Sundays, only that’s going to change virtually nothing at all, apart from that conversation with Leif. So it’d just be like a normal strip really, with nothing changed. 🙂 I’d be curious to see both versions of the reveal to Leif.

I do actually appreciate that in the comic, entirely separate from being trans, you also explore gender expression. Where there’s men who dress femme, and butch women. Plus both binary and nonbinary trans people.

Haven’t read Never Satisfied, but O Human Star is a good point of comparison — it had the material for a certain interesting story, and then one of the characters came out as trans (after previously denying it). So it recontextualized everything (at least, if you believed the denial, which some readers didn’t) into a different interesting story.

I skimmed the comments — most people were happy, a few expressed sadness that the door had been shut on the first interesting story, and I don’t remember anyone being mad. The comic already having openly-trans characters probably weeded out the readers who would be.

And yeah, it was clearly planned, not an “author kept their options open” kind of thing. Readers were going through the archives and bringing back links to all these subtle bits of foreshadowing.

…for this audience, the weight of preference is clearly on the side of cis Thorn, but you make a good point that I can always do “the continuity is the same except Thorn is trans” AU strips! No need to lose that material entirely.

I did believe the denial. Since… this is going to sound strange but I never thought it my place to question it. That when they denied being trans, it felt like there was a history of accusations that they weren’t masculine enough, of people questioning their gender, and a whole lot of trauma, and gender-policing and equating being attracted to men as being less masculine. So, if they wanted to deny being trans, I was willing to accept that at face value.

I love the story. Love that it’s exploring transition from the perspective of both an older person, and their younger self. Who they might have been if they had a more nurturing environment. That strip itself dropped on a day I so desperately needed it. (And I’ve just realised I should email the author and let them know.)

So, I know trans narratives in comics are important, they do help.

I say again that audience preference shouldn’t matter at all in this regard. Which isn’t to say that everyone’s opinions aren’t thoughtful and insightful, but you don’t write the comic by committee since if you did I’m sure Leif&Thorn would have already hooked up, sorted out Leif’s debt issues, and all Thorn’s former colleagues would be raised from the dead. Also Magical Bramble would be a main character. 🙂

I also believed it, and for the same reasons! I think it’s good to be in the habit of accepting people’s self-identification unless you have very specific reasons to question it, and it helps if you treat fictional characters the same way.

Definitely tell the author, I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

I don’t write the comic by committee, but in this case I was getting stuck in my own head about the issue, and reading a public conversation with lots of other people’s perspectives is a good way to get unstuck. (And reader feedback *has* made Bram a much more recurrent character than originally planned XD)

haven’t read all of the above comments yet, so maybe this stuff has been mentioned already, and I’m not a patron to know the details about the Hyacinth thing, but I had two immediate thoughts in contradictory directions:

1. surely there are lots of reasons why someone might ask a sibling to donate an egg they could technically supply themself, ranging from “the whole idea completely squicks me out” to “back when we were doing all this family genetic testing they found out I’m a carrier for a wholly unrelated, non sex-linked, potentially serious genetic disorder (like, for example, any of the ones specifically screened for in Ashkenazi populations) and she’s not”

2. you’ve maybe missed a con here, which is that Clover’s already been established as both mentally ill and somewhat irresponsible in her handling of that illness, in a way that was emotionally and financially damaging to her family, and like. the “unstable/crazy trans woman” thing, is a thing. (I guess I’m making kind of a huge assumption here that she was AMAB in the literal sense…I’m just figuring, if she’s fertile, it would be unlikely to be complete AIS, so there’s a smaller chance people would have assumed her to be XX at birth? this gets confusing very quickly and I am not an expert.)

your scenario #2 would neatly sidestep issue #2, but I still found myself voting cis Thorn, just out of a vague sense of “the poor guy has enough issues” sympathy

(also the idea of a “what if Thorn was trans” AU strip made me laugh because I’m just picturing six panels of him, like, buying groceries. but trans!)

These haven’t come up before, no! Glad to have them in the conversation.

1) Fair point, but I’d be worried about the narrative economy of “now that we’ve explored the complex genetic history around how Thorn can provide eggs, here’s a completely unrelated medical reason why we’re going to do an egg swap anyway.”

2) I’m not an expert either, which is why I’m not going into super-precise detail…but Clover’s AIS was advanced enough that she was assumed XX at birth. (Possibly with the help of a family culture of “this won’t be an issue as long as we pretend hard enough not to notice.”)

She wouldn’t have been fertile in the typical way, and wouldn’t necessarily have produced the mature sperm cells that real-world IVF needs in order to work. But she would’ve had enough material for Ceannis’ cool magical IVF to run with.

Trans reader, voted for cis!Thorn.

Trans!Thorn would be cool, but I really want to see the material you’d like to explore with his body and bodies in general.

It feels like the comic has been building up to a point where you can explore those issues, and as a long time reader I’ve been looking forward to you finally getting to expand on them.

So while I think you’d write trans!Thorn in an interesting way, it would be sad to lose those potential storylines.

I think you have enough trans rep and would write him well either way, but it sounds like you have already got so much interesting material that requires cis!Thorn, so it would add much more narratively to explore it.

Since you already write great characters in a universe without many taboos, I’m really interested to see how you write more about Thorn’s other issues.

Clover being intersex would be really cool. Is the existence of intersex people considered a taboo in universe even though being trans and enby is not?

Good to know!

Being intersex can’t be the same kind of taboo anyway, because there’s no social equivalent of “trans identities aren’t even a real thing, every single trans/enby person is just making it up,” not when intersex conditions can be seen by any outside observer in the right photo/X-ray/DNA sequence.

That said, in a lot of Ceannis, it’s not usually something you talk about — for the same reason that trans/enby people don’t talk about the specific conditions of their genitalia. (Cis people don’t either, for that matter…) They’re all considered to be in the category of “personal details about your body that you probably don’t want every random stranger to know.”

So it’s not a taboo in the sense of “these are shameful details that you need to keep secret,” much less “these are intolerable details that we need to overwrite as much as possible with surgery and hormones.” But it does still have some negative effects, like making it harder for the intersex characters to find and support each other.

That is a really good point about being intersex being more quantifiable socially than trans identities are to begin with. Thanks Erin, I learned something from your comment.

I had never thought about it as fundeamentally different in influencing social interactions since asking someone to demonstrate being intersex seems like it might be a rather personal, private thing.

I think my comment may have been insensitive and I apologise for equating the two.

There would be differences in consideration of things like peoples’ bad behaviour accepting each other or attempting to to out a person as intersex, versus outing a person of different trans identities.

I voted for trans Thorn, with a strong preference. Because I don’t think I’ve ever seen LGBT+ characters written this way, with gender being SUCH a nonissue. I would love to see Thorn as a character whose gender is just another part of who he is, someone learning to heal and become a whole, healthy person not because of his chromosomes but because of his traumatic experiences.
Thorn, along with everyone else in the cast who’s navigating various types of trauma, strongly resonates with me. I’ve said it before—I love that you’re writing PTSD and other types of trauma like this. I’m trans, and I have PTSD. I’ve never been able to so strongly see myself in a comic’s main character the way I can with Thorn. As all people who grow up trans do, I’ve suffered from a lack of characters like me. It’s still significant when a main character is trans. Every new trans main character makes the next less significant, until eventually it’ll become as normal as it is in your world.
I think that it’s possible for you to still write those narratives that rely on Thorn having a “straightforward” relationship with his body pre-crisping. After all, transgender people have an amazing variety of relationships with their bodies, and wildly varying kinds and degrees of dysphoria. You’ve created this world where it’s just kind of accepted that some people are trans. I know that when I’m in similarly accepting environments, my dysphoria practically vanishes. Obviously not everyone shares my experiences, but it’s possible that Thorn, like me, never had to view his body as a foreign object.
My opinions here definitely have to do with the way you’ve built this world and shaped other explicitly trans characters so far. Coming from you, the gag about Thorn being short doesn’t rub me wrong, and, though I haven’t paid to view any of your NSFW content, I trust you to write and draw good porn.
I think Trans Thorn would add a lot to the story, and I think you could do it well.
Whatever you choose, thank you for this comic. It gave me hope when I was in a very dangerous situation, and it never fails to remind me why I write. So I can do for others what your comics have done for me.

In a weird enough way, I think I’d almost like the question not to be addressed.
If this story was written within L&T’s world, I don’t think it would, as the sole concept of equating gender to body characteristics would be kinda foreign. And, indeed I do think, like you, that in a world that is not only accepting of trans, but in which misgendering at birth and every ill coming from it is nonexistent, body dysphoria wouldn’t really exist, well at least, not associated to being “trans” (maybe more if, you, I don’t know, get slightly crisped by a motherfucking dragon…). The sole concept of trans and cis wouldn’t make much sense either, at least I’d think so, one has a body, and a gender, and that’s all.

I would like Thorn to be treated that way by the comic too, the simple question of “trans or cis” being nonexistent.
But the fact of the matter is that we’ll end up seeing thorn’s genitals/early years story at some point, and as non-denizens of L&T’s world, we’ll immediately slap a big “cis” or “trans” label on him.

I do agree that having Thorn as trans would be quite nice for representation questions, but I think ultimately the choice is erin’s, and that if it ends up being cis-thorn, while it’d be a bit of a pity, I wouldn’t see it as too much of an offense.

(tbh “I trust you to write and draw good porn” must be one of the best compliments I ever heard, and I wholeheartedly agree on it.)

I’m cis, so I lean on my input being less important.

That said, I voted for cis Thorn mostly because
-I hadn’t thought of it, but yeah, the stuff about his height might feel really cringey and upsetting like that. (Even if that kind of thing is only a mild faux pas in-universe, we have so much out-of-universe transphobia to contextualize it by that I’d just be really uncomfortable reading that – and I love rereading!)
-I’m really on-board for the exploration of everything in the Burns and Bees storyline and just… *stuff* with this body and the relationship to his body and how it works, etc., etc., and like you said, I had been going in assuming that said relationship had been pretty straightforward pre-dragon. I’m sure this isn’t entirely undue to cisnormativity, but I also feel like I got a fairly strong vibe in that direction, and to have things go another way would be jarring. (Of course, given the universe, it’s probably not impossible for trans Thorn to have had an uncomplicated relationship with his body pre-dragon, but that’s probably above my pay grade.)

I said I’m happy with either, which is true. I’m slightly happier with cis just because it seems like points 1 and 3 in your pro cis list are things worth exploring and which are already much better set up for the character.

That being said, We also don’t know the full limits or extent of the gender-related magic and tech in this world, but there’s no reason the transition can’t be so complete that it’s only relevant to some childhood stories, and no reason that even trans Thorn would need to have anything but a straightforward relationship with his own body such that it would affect point 3. In fact, that might become a persuasive worldbuilding detail.

That leaves point one. And yes, if Thorn were trans, I *would* wish for fewer jokes about height and build. We could use more badass short cis man rep.

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