lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
There is a chestnut of misinformation on tumblr claiming that 'system' is a term made by DID folks, for DID folks, and nobody else is allowed to use it.  This is often wrapped up in the idea that multiplicity is owned by people with DID/DDNOS/OSDD, and anyone else claiming it is appropriating.  This is utter nonsense.  I've written numerous posts on this before, but here is the more thorough breakdown, first focused on the politics of this statement, and then the actual facts of reality.

The Politics: why this argument doesn't make sense, even under its own logic. )

The Facts: twenty-plus years of non-DID multiples using 'system.' )
lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
Queer-baiting is a fascinating (and maddening) subject for me. I feel that it’s so complicated because there are different rules for different periods of time and different levels of mainstream. Getting a queer character in a gay newspaper comic was a totally different business than having one in mainstream superhero comics. However, I think I know what my personal dividing line is!

Namely: if a creator never brings up the queerness at all, that is fine. I accept that I am projecting myself and my desires into a work (or that the creator is sneaking under the radar). If a creator brings up the queerness and makes it open, ala Dykes to Watch Out For, then that too is fine--I have myself a genuine queer character! In neither case do I feel baited.

However, I do feel baited when the creators make clear that they’ve thought about the queerness involved and bring it up to the audience, only to then take pains shooting it down, or making a joke about it, or otherwise deflecting it. Then I am left with the feeling that a creator has thought about the idea of having a queer character, only to go, “Nah.”

Creators who intend to have actual queer characters, even if they use subtext at first, will show increasing care for the issues as time goes on, often fighting for more and more representation as their careers progress. That “baiting” feeling comes when the subtext is considered a feature, not a bug, and kept for its own sake, never to change. It’s that context that makes a big difference to me.
Read more... )...they deflect. Often with a joke. In I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League!, pictured above, the joke is at Booster Gold and the Blue Beetle’s expense--it’s funny because they’re offended and wigged out by the implication that they’re “more than friends,” or that their teammate would tell Booster’s wife that. And sure, this is a comedy book where everyone acts ridiculous, but still, the base undertone of the story isn’t that being gay for your best friend is okay. (For even when characters say “there’s nothing wrong with it,” it’s hard to believe them when there are no queer characters to model it.) It’s that being gay for your best friend is... well, a joke. And also might get you in trouble with your spouse.
Even when the joke is ostensibly “friendlier,” the deflection aspect bugs me. The bromance of Hot Fuzz doesn’t have the same punch-line as the I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League joke. In Hot Fuzz, there was originally going to be a female love interest character for Simon Pegg’s character, but the character was scrapped and her lines given to Nick Frost’s character instead. The joke mostly seems to be about embracing that homoeroticism, perhaps asking why it makes people uncomfortable, or where the line is drawn. The actors and director involved voiced their official support for slash fic about the characters, even calling Hot Fuzz slash fic all on its own.

But here’s the thing. Pegg and Frost’s characters, for all this lauding and official approval, aren’t actually gay. They might star in an R-rated movie with impalement, decapitation, and geysers of blood, but they aren’t gay. The screencap above is the gayest things will get. The whole thing is just jokes--winks at their audience and fanbase, along the lines of “you’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

Unlike Coville or Stevenson, these guys don’t show increasing engagement as their work progresses; this is all anyone gets. In Shaun of the Dead from 2004, there were jokes about Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s characters being gay for each other. In Hot Fuzz from 2007, there were jokes about Pegg and Frost’s characters being gay for each other. And in Paul, from 2011? You guessed it, jokes about Pegg and Frost’s characters being gay for each other, where the title character asks by simulating a blowjob and then insisting that there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s exactly the same level of jokes and engagement, no change--and again, it’s hard to say “there’s nothing wrong with it” when you never actually allow any character to say they’re “it” on screen. Never once do any of the characters involved say, “Why, yes, I am” when asked if gay. In Shaun of the Dead and Paul, they say no. In Hot Fuzz, the question is never asked to begin with. When the creators are asked, they joke around it, but never really say, knowing that the ambiguity is all part of the game.

After all, “slashy” and “gay” are not the same thing. Slash, by its very definition, requires that it not be canon.
I’m not saying that these works are bad; like I said, I enjoyed them a lot at the time. And I’m not saying they can’t be helpful or meaningful to queer folks; part of why I loved Hot Fuzz and I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League! so much in college was because I myself felt that my being gay was terrible and bad, so I found the ambiguity and deflection relatable and engaging. It allowed me to think about things like the fact that I was gay for my best friend or wanted to cuddle with him while still pretending to myself that I could be a conventionally masculine, “normal” guy, avoiding the stigma of being gay.

But that was me projecting myself into the narrative, not what the narrative was actually telling me. That was me having such a dearth of actual gay characters to relate to that I found straight characters who said they were straight more relatable!

As time went on, that changed. I found more queer media with actual queer characters, and realized that the stereotypes in my head did not actually reflect queer reality. I discovered that queer stories were so much more than the soap opera tragedy and coming out stories I’d read so many times before--that I could read about queer superheroes, queer space captains, queer lovers who could actually kiss and fuck on-screen and say “I love you” on-screen, without an immediate, “you know, in a platonic way.” I could read about people who were actually like me, not people I pretended were like me.

Had I read ICBINTJL or watched Hot Fuzz now for the first time, I probably wouldn’t like them very much. I didn’t get to Paul until a year or two ago, and I didn’t enjoy the bromance; as I watched Seth Rogen’s alien mime blowjobs for laughs, only to say, “not that there’s anything wrong with it,” I only felt uncomfortable, knowing that I was the joke, that someone like me would never be allowed to actually be queer on that screen.  Even when Paul said that everyone on his planet was bisexual, it rang false to me.  If that were true, why would he ask?  Why would he do so coyly by miming blowjobs instead of asking straight-out?

Because the performance was not actually intended to be for my benefit, or my bi husband's benefit.  It was for the straight audience's benefit, the ones who were in on the joke.

And that was when I felt baited.
lb_lee: A dark skinned, blondhaired androgyne making a snarky face. (oplz)
Man, but I really am not a villains kinda person. In fiction, they get to be stone-cold badasses, puppet-masters and genius psychological manipulators... but in reality, they're such fucking BABIES.

Nazis, Klansmen, and other such ilk. )
lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)
Whenever ANY issue of access comes into play, INVARIABLY you will have at least one person who points out, “Look, accessibility is hard. It takes a lot of effort. Give the creators a break.”

Sure, it’s hard, but it’s also vital. Accessibility is an imperative part of good design. That this would be even considered a question shows a very flawed idea of what good design IS. The whole point of good design, in my opinion, is wedding aesthetic appeal with functionality. Your product should work as well as possible for as many of your customers as possible, and it should be appealing while it does it. (And when in doubt, function wins out.)

I have passionate feelings about accessibility in design, okay? )
lb_lee: M.D. making a shocked, confused face (serious thought)

[personal profile] metahacker  linked me this article on the use of Twitter botnets and government-controlled media to spread disinformation and conspiracy theories.  It seems up the alley of maybe some folks here!

lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)
Lately, I've found myself tempted to make work that's very happy and fluffy, where nothing bad happens to anyone.  Pure comfort reading.  And I've really been struggling with that.

The price of doing business... )
lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)
Recovered Memories
Universe: LB (nonfiction essay)
Word Count: 1000
Summary: How our recovered memory process works.
Notes: This essay was prompted and sponsored by dreamer_marie!  I'm trying to cover material that hasn't already been discussed in our All In the Family comics or our Repressed Memory Guide. Perhaps you would find those interesting too.

Biff and I are at our men's group for survivors of sexual violence. The group is just starting, doing breathing exercises, when I feel sudden crippling dread.

Read more... )
lb_lee: M.D. making a shocked, confused face (serious thought)

The closer that DID con rears, the more ambivalent I feel about it.  On the one hand, it’s a networking opportunity I can’t pass up, having that many DID folks and their affiliates in one hotel. (Not to mention a chance to visit my Seattle peeps!) But I also feel REALLY uncomfortable about its tone and that Colin Ross is there.  It’s making me painfully aware of the parts of the psych industry and DID/abuse recovery that bother me--mainly, the focus on the individual sufferer beyond all other things.


Late night ramblings about doubt and uncertainty in regards to memory and multi stuff. )

Baby Multis

Apr. 9th, 2015 12:21 pm
lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
Today, we're going to meet a baby multi who's just coming out.  A mutual acquaintance rigged up the meeting, since we were the only other multi they knew and they thought we could maybe be helpful.  In a few hours, we'll pack our bag with useful books and lug it on out to a public meeting place and have coffee or a meal with the newbie, answering questions and giving info.

The first time we did this, we lived in Texas and the multi was old enough to be our mother.  They had never met another multiple, and they certainly never got proper care; their shrink apparently tried to force-integrate them until reading MPD for You and Me.

Read more... )
lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
Part of our brand of crazy is dissociation.  If endangered, stressed, or even startled too hard, we space out.  It's a numbing reflex, protecting us from inescapable pain.

We're harmless to others in this state... too harmless, which is why we've actively worked towards not doing it.  Dissociated, we're extremely passive and docile; we look to others for direction because we know we're too crazy to trust our own judgment.

This is good, because it means other people can tell us not to jump off a bridge.  But enterprising abusers can take advantage, and they have.  They do something relatively minor to space us out, then do something major, and when we surface from the episode, pretend it never happened or that we misunderstand what transpired.  And since they're the sane ones and we're crazy, obviously our judgment can't be trusted over theirs.  They won't even have to cover their tracks, because dissociation distorts our memory. (For bonus points, add that when the memory does become clear, they can claim, "Well, it didn't bother you BEFORE, so obviously you're just trying to make me feel bad now, and it's too late to do anything anyway.") Dissociation is very handy around inescapable trauma; when it comes to abusers, though, it can keep the relationship going, because we can't learn from what we don't remember.

If you're a dissociative, and you notice that you're dissociating a lot more around someone, or find that your memory becomes increasingly scrambled and unreliable around them, that is something to be concerned about.  You should not constantly need your coping mechanisms in a healthy relationship.  Sure, hard times happen everywhere, but there's a difference between a stressful time and a stressful PERSON.  Even if that person is not manipulating or harming you, you might just plain be bad for each other.

lb_lee: M.D. making a shocked, confused face (serious thought)
Coming out multiple has been a slow, often painful progress.  In the beginning, we weren't out to anyone offline, and then, over the course of six years, the circle slowly opened up more and more until now even the government knows. (That, alas, was NOT something I had control over. *sigh* Oh well.)

So you can imagine my annoyance when people flat-out tell me we CAN'T come out.  Some multiples take it weirdly personally, to the point of getting angry, as though by coming out, I'm judging them or forcing them out. (Even though that's absurd; people do what they have to do, and their life choices are none of my business.)

Read more... )
lb_lee: M.D. making a shocked, confused face (serious thought)
Okay, so not long ago, I was contacted by an online reporter wanting to interview me about Andy Blake, the infamous abuser who ran multiple fandom cults around himself (and likely still is). The idea was that we were a somewhat removed party who could give info about DID/multi.

I am posting the information I gave publicly. I think Andy Blake is an abuser. Not was, is. His mental health, his supposed multiplicity, his IDENTITY, none of that affects his actions. I do not want anyone to think otherwise. However, because it's his identity we were asked to weigh in on: I do not believe Andy Blake is multiple. And even if he were, he'd just be an abusive multiple, no improvement.

A couple people have drawn parallels between Andy and ourself. We have both claimed to be multiple, we both have trans singlet presentations (though Andy likes to avoid admitting it), we have both claimed to have fictive members... we are even fairly close to the same age. The difference being, we haven't abused dozens of people and are not interested in using multiplicity as an excuse for bad behavior.

I have debunked Andy Blake's claims of multiplicity before, in the two-part MST. Now I take on his more recent claims. Let's go.

This is LONG. )

EDIT: one more thing.  I have no interest in concealing Blake's identity or past actions.  It is all easily Googlable and a matter of public record.
lb_lee: A tiny scribbly Rogan fleeing for his life with the big words, OH NO EMOTION (emotions)
Now that Cracks of Sunshine is done, I've been pondering my next comics/zine project. I have a couple different things I'm aching to work on, and I'm running into the exact same conundrum with both.

Read more... )
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)

Lately, I’ve been reading some really good things on the specifics of abuse regarding LGBT people, where abusers take advantage of someone’s LGBT status (be it their victim’s or their own) as a tool to help them abuse. This has gotten me thinking about abusive systems I’ve known in the past, and so I’m going to talk about how people can use multi as a tool of abuse—on both perp and vic side.


Read more... )


lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
Being certified DID is WEIRD.

I was brought up in the "healthy multiplicity" community online, which basically argues that being multiple is not necessarily a mental illness. Which was a godsend to us when we were young and had "only" undergone the Raping Year--by DID trauma terms, that's nothing. We didn't feel traumatized enough for DID, and our memory seemed pretty contiguous, and "healthy multiplicity" gave us an alternative, allowing us to identify ourselves as multi without the huge therapeutic baggage associated with it.

A lot of our early comics and zines reflect this, FTMPD in particular. Within our tiny subculture, we became decently known for our viewpoint on multiplicity, on being an "example." God help me, there were people who saw us as someone worthy of looking up to.

And then the Bad Years happened.

Read more... )
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
I have written about this before, but I have discovered that a lot of conventional wisdom about being a working artist horrifies me. Following it would be mentally and physically dangerous for me.

I can only imagine that this wisdom is meant for people with the complete opposite temperament of mine. I don't have a problem with motivation or concentration. I have a problem with all-encompassing hyperfocus that puts me in an ecstatic state where nothing is more important than the art, not my loved ones, not rest, not even food. And if you think that's admirable, try it. 'Starving artist' indeed.

So if I find a lot of the wisdom and tropes surrounding working artists to be toxic, what do I do instead?

A long talk about process. )
lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
The closest thing I have to a mission statement is that I try and take the bizarre and make it ordinary, then take the ordinary and make it transcendent. I believe that the ordinary and everyday is beautiful, and regardless of the medium I'm using, that's what I hope to get across. My comics take mental illness and make it understandable, taking a lot of the fear out of it and (I'd hope) bringing compassion and empathy. Similarly, I try to ground my speculative fiction in the mundane--sure, Infinity Smashed is about test-tube soldiers and dragons and talking cats, but more than that, it's about dealing with being poor, being sick, being loved.

How I became 'the mental health comics guy' )
lb_lee: a scribbly child hissing and flailing (gigi)
You may have heard about Sneak and Gigi's fascination with the American McGee's Alice games. Well, we now have a copy of the first game (thanks, [ profile] 403!), and as I fumble around incompetently and run Alice into walls, I find myself thinking how refreshing it is to play a female character who isn't sexualized.

Some minor spoilers for a thirteen year old computer game. )
lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)
Lately, there's been a PS3 animation test called 'Kara' that's been making the internet rounds.  The band Voltaire has also recently come out with a song called 'the Mechanical Girl.' Both concern robot girls, and are excellent quality in different media, but they take the 'human-but-not' trope in completely different directions.
Spoilers! )
lb_lee: M.D. making a shocked, confused face (serious thought)
Okay, stupid story, followed by a stupid question.

Our first exposure to Lex Luthor was through the Superman cartoon of the mid-90s.  So our mental image of Lex Luthor has been and always will be, this guy:

A picture of Lex Luthor, evil and classy bastard that he is.

In our opinion, it's a good look for Luthor. (And a great voice, but Clancy Brown is inimitable.) He's refined, classic, dignified.

He's also, in our mind, biracial.
Read more... )
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