Jun 28, 2022
This isn’t the most important or the most prominent anti-trans argument. But it’s one I’ve heard a whole bunch of times over the years, and it always bugs me that even taken on its own terms, it makes no sense. Nothing about restricting what bathrooms trans people use can stop predatory men from being predatory, or cis men from lying.
The entire argument is a pretext (even if not everyone making the argument is consciously aware that it’s a pretext). For the proponents of these laws, the mere existence of trans people is threatening, and so any law that strikes at and ostracizes trans people - even if the arguments are gibberish - is supported.
And that, in the end (literally in the fourth panel) is what this cartoon is really about - not a single nonsensical argument, but the way that this and other arguments, boiled down to their essence, are rationalizations for othering and harming trans people.
They also like fear mongering with that image of predatory men wearing dresses while attacking women - an image that goes back in pop culture at least as far back as Hitchcock’s Psycho, and probably much further.
* * *
I asked Frank Young (my frequent collaborator who does colors) to give the right-hand character colored streaks in her hair, and I really love what he did with that.
* * *
Thanks, as always, for making cartoons like this one possible by supporting this patreon. I’m incredibly lucky to have readers like you, and I really appreciate it.
You’re seeing this cartoon a month before I post it in public. But if you’re supporting at the $5 level or above, feel free to show it to folks without waiting.
There will be at least one, and I hope two, new cartoons after this one posted by Friday, so stay tuned!
* * *
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels, all featuring the same two characters, who are chatting on a suburban looking sidewalk. The character on the left is a blonde woman with neat, shoulder-length hair, a white shirt with a black collar, and a purple skirt. The character on the right is a woman with straight hair on top, dyed in streaks of orange and greenish-yellow, while the hair on the sides is orange and buzz-cut. She’s wearing below-the-knee shorts and a tank top, and one of her arms is covered with tattoos.
For the purpose of this transcript, I’ll call these characters SKIRT and TATTOO.
Skirt is talking animatedly to Tattoo, smiling and stretching her arms it to make her point. Tattoo listens with her arms crossed and a neutral expression.
SKIRT: Bathroom bans aren’t about screwing over trans people. They’re about protecting women from cis men. Otherwise, cis men would pretend to be trans to get into women’s bathrooms.
A slightly different angle, so we’re now seeing Tattoo from the back. Skirt continues to smile as she explains; we can’t see Tattoo’s face, but from her body language she’s disturbed by what she’s hearing.
SKIRT: That’s why we need a law saying people can only used bathrooms that match their sex at birth. And if it just happens to harm trans people… that’s only an unfortunate side effect.
A close up of Tattoo shows her frowning as she thinks, one hand rubbing her forehead.
TATTOO: Even if that were a real problem, with your law couldn’t cis men just say they’re trans men to get into women’s bathrooms? Wouldn’t it make it easier for them, since they wouldn’t need dresses or makeup?
Skirt takes a step back, looking a little irritated and holding up a hand in a negating gesture. Tattoo, looking angry, is holding up her hands and yelling.
SKIRT: But if we look at it that way, there’s no reason to screw over trans people.
TATTOO: WHY IS THAT A PROBLEM FOR YOU?