Ungpride had the opportunity to meet Sophie Labelle, the creator of the Assigned Male comic, and hear her talking about the comic and how it got started. Having travelled all the way from Canada for a tour around Europe, she easily filled the room with an eager audience and a tonne of laughter.
The comic features several transgender and non binary youths, and can be found here on facebook.
Sophie concludes that her comic avoids the “documentary voice”, that is so common in media featuring transgender people.
“They don’t talk about being trans, they’re just pissed about stuff”, she jokes.
The comic came to be after some misadventures surrounding a summer camp for transgender children. The camp itself was a success. The media attention, not so much.
“It felt so much more violent when they were talking about kids, and even discussing their genitals!” Sophie shares. “I started to draw the comic to vent the anger.”
One of the ideas behind the comic is to talk about body empowerment for transgender children and youths. Sophie explains that this is a somewhat new thing in the trans community. And there is a lot of new ground to cover both regarding this issue and many others.
“Sometimes people ask me what will happen to my comic when I run out of trans issues”, she tells us. “That will never happen. Every strip I make gives birth to five more ideas.”
Like so many other activists refusing to be silenced, Sophie has had a continuous battle with haters. Trans exclusive radical feminists and neo Nazis are the main groups she identifies as harassers.
“They hacked my website to get my home address. They send death threats. They make transphobic comments on every comic strip.”
“How do you deal with it?” one audience member asks.
“I take naps”, she tells us. “And I use what they write as material for my comics. They actually provide me with the best stuff for them.”
Rather than letting the hate stop her, she draws more comics. Screenshots of the hate also served as a way to motivate her fans to donate to her patreon account, much to the outrage of the terfs behind the comments in question.
“One person on their website actually wrote ‘Maybe we should stop?’, when they realized I cashed in on their transphobic comments.”
Sophie’s perfect timing for quipping “They didn’t” has us all laughing. Just like her comics can handle serious topics in a way that makes you smile, she shares all her stories in a way that leaves you feeling good.
And thankfully, it is not just hate that floods her inbox and the comment sections. There is a lot of love to go around, too.
This love that she receives for the comics is also another great motivator to keep making them. She shares stories about getting fanart from five year old kids, and the audience is filled with “ahhwwwws” and huge smiles.
After taking a couple of questions from the audience, it is time to sign posters and comic books. We choose two posters that will decorate our new Ungpride room.
“Till Ungpride, med kärlek, Sophie”, she signs. (to ungpride, with love, Sophie)
We give heaps of love in return! Thank you!!!