The gay unicorn agenda

Did you catch the reveal of Max’s parents in this week’s strips?

I’ve actually known all along that Max has lesbian parents. I’ve been waiting for years for it to come up organically. And it actually did in the forthcoming Phoebe and Her Unicorn In: The Magic Storm, which is due out in October. So in the current camping storyline, I introduced them, so that they’ll be established for longtime readers by the time they appear in Magic Storm.

I couldn’t help wondering how people were going to react. Yes, it’s 2017, and we’ve come a long way. On the other hand, we’ve entered a cultural moment when any attempt at representation seems to be met with a lot of allegations of “political correctness” and “having an agenda.”

And I guess I do have an agenda. I think representation matters. Families come in a lot of forms. Art should reflect it. And, characters in the strip are often based on people in my life, and not all of my friends are straight people.

I’m always kind of fascinated by how many people don’t know this, but although my marriage looks conventional on the surface (I’m legally a woman, married to someone who is legally a man), I’m a transgender woman married to a self-identified androgynous person. And I don’t particularly appreciate the notion that in a medium read by children, only “normal” families can be depicted.

Only depicting “normals” is itself an agenda. Refusing to acknowledge people who aren’t the societal default is totally an agenda. Every writer has one, consciously or not. I’m willing to own mine. Obviously I’m not anti-straight people (look at Phoebe’s parents), but we’re all in this together.

Also, what if I told you Phoebe’s maternal grandfather is Mexican-American, and her piano teacher is Muslim? Neither fact has ever come up organically in the strip. If they do, I won’t avoid them, and we’ll see what people say.

If it’s anything like this, I think it’ll go fine. The comments on the first two strips this week have been pretty good. I’m informed there aren’t a lot of terrible flagged comments, either. My audience is apparently pretty chill about this stuff.

Good on you, everybody.


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  5 comments for “The gay unicorn agenda

  1. J.M. Thayer
    July 25, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    I think it’s awesome! It shows a diverse, multi-sided worldview that goes beyond stereotypical normative of “man and woman.” It conveys to all the creator of Phoebe & her Unicorn actually dares to step beyond overused generalizations to a new, daring plateau. I applaud you and patiently wait for your trail to be blazed, leading us to a bold new & sparkly world. –Author J.M. Thayer

  2. G Gentile
    July 25, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    The Gay Unicorn Agenda is like any other Unicorn Agenda; Focus on my own fabulousness 25/8.

  3. July 25, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    I am so happy that my amazing agender Unicorn kid gets to grow up in a world where they aren’t forced to be invisible. Because when the media refuses to show images that are representative of your reality, it’s like who you are can’t really exist. So thank you! Because YES, representation totally matters!

  4. Averagemoe
    July 25, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    I feel like you really dodged a bullet there. I personally am fine with it, but I know that there are a large number of people out there who will want you dead for this. Try not to make a habit of making me fear for your well being.

    • Dana Simpson
      July 25, 2017 at 10:34 pm

      Ultimately, I am who I am.

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