James Robinson and Transphobia
I don’t think anyone would ever call James Robinson a bad writer even if he has phoned it in on some DC work here and there. Airboy, however, is on an entirely different level. It is a great story but it is the art by Greg Hinkle that truly makes this a piece of art that begs to be marvelled at.
This is why when I saw the criticism Robinson was receiving I felt bad. I understand where the criticism was coming from and I don’t blame it one bit. The first time I read it I took it as a personal narrative and since I have no real life connection to the subject I didn’t think twice.
A lot of times when a controversy like this pops up for an individual they tend to phone in an apology whether they mean it or not. Judging from James Robinson’s response on July 3rd that doesn’t seem to be the case here at all. It is evident he has thought this through and is genuinely saddened that he has offended someone with his story. I hope his response reaches those that were offended so they can understand no ill will was intended and that he understands what he did wrong to offend them in the first place.
This is a work of deliberately ugly satirical fiction. One part of me believes a creator has the right to tell the story he feels the need to tell. There’s a part of me that feels that it’s acceptable for a work of fiction to hurt or offend. That at the very least the work elicits feelings.
Then there’s the other part of me — the major part, I might add — that is truly saddened that the transgender community, comprising men and women who carry the burden of an ever-hostile society, should have me adding to their load.
There is minor solace — very minor — in the fact that I note the discourse I’m seeing on-line about this, is at least allowing an exchange of views that I think is open, healthy and ultimately a good thing. I hope comic book fans and creators will think more critically about the way trans characters are portrayed.