Surf, Sun, and the California Sea: Should You Be Reading ‘TransGirlNextDoor’?
When you look at the sheer range and number of original stories being told in comics form today, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be a comics reader. Online and in print, from all around the world, artists and writers are telling stories with their own voices and styles, and there’s so much to choose from that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to read next. With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today.
Written, illustrated and self-published by Kylie Wu since 2013, the autobiographical webcomic TransGirlNextDoor deals with the fun and frustrations that come with being a young California surfer girl during her transition --- the process of changing which gender she lives as.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An episodic series that’s both humorous and honest, this episodic slice-of-life covers every aspect of Wu's life. From her transitioning woes to her (lack of) a love life to how satisfying it is to have awesome hair, if you’re a girl (trans or no), you’ll find something to identify with. TransGirlNextDoor introduces readers to the life of one young California girl who loves to surf, while also tackling issues such as the differences between how men and women are treated in ways that only someone who has lived as both can understand.
TransGirlNextDoor wonderfully shows that trans people are people --- no more or less funny, gross, cute, annoying, terrible, or wonderful than anyone else. The comic represents (without referencing) the spirit of “It Gets Better.” All of that, plus lots of very immature jokes.
WHO'S IT BY?
The subject of the comic is also its creator --- Kylie Wu, a young Californian in her 20s, who began her transition shortly before launching the comic. She supports her comic career through her Patreon the rewards she offers include surfing lessons --- which is fitting, as she's a diehard surfer, a fact that is evident after reading even a few of her comics.
Wu was featured in Out Magazine’s Trans 100 List in 2015, and in an Elite Daily article about prominent millennials making a difference in the transgender community, alongside other famous trans women of color such as Jazz Jennings and Laverne Cox.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Having a comic feature the life of someone who is trans without making them part of grand romance, a horrible tragedy, or a punchline, is an incredibly rare thing. Showing that it can be just as glamorous and messy and awful as any other story about a girl, TransGirlNextDoor is a bright beacon of sunshine in all too dismal LGBT story landscape.
More than that, Wu doesn’t shy away from the hard parts of being a trans girl, but instead deals with it in a unique, interesting and hilarious way. TransGirlNextDoor covers the realities of living as a trans woman in the US today, while managing to make the reader smile even when dealing with body dysmorphia, anti-transgender bills, discrimination, and body issues.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
Surfers. Californians. Girls in their twenties. Anyone who's struggling with their identity. Anyone interested in what life is like for some trans girls. People who like funny.
WHERE CAN I READ IT?