Comic 584 - Colin

2nd Sep 2014, 7:46 PM in Ch. 23: The Flaherty Siblings
Average Rating: 4.92 (12 votes)
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Author Notes:

Jocelyn 2nd Sep 2014, 7:46 PM edit delete
This is a perplexing phenomenon I've encountered a lot over the years. Some part of me wonders if it's just me though, so let me explain. Let's say you're trans and you have a supportive, knowing cis friend, and they refer to you by your preferred pronouns or name... and apologize and/or take it back immediately afterwards (not maliciously; more like regretfully). Like, they want to do their best to show their support, but they have such a hard time wrapping their head around the concept or something, that they feel like they're doing something wrong. I've never totally understood this mentality, but I've had a fair few friends do this with me (usually in private settings). It's not really offensive or anything (not to me, anyway) because I know they mean well and they are trying, but it can be really frustrating having to repeat, "It's really okay to call me that, you know." XD

So, I depicted that scenario with the clueless Colin basically doing just this. Fara's been over it with him; possibly more than once. And even seeing what he's seeing now, he finds himself second-guessing his pronoun usage. Interpret what he's thinking as you will.

To my cis friends and allies, I just want to give a little friendly advice: when we tell you our preferred name and pronouns, not only is it okay for you to use them when referring to us, but it's encouraged. Don't be shy; we won't find it weird that you're treating us the way we asked you to. In fact, we'd appreciate it. ^_^

Look at me, coming back with a lecture. ^^;

Rain, all characters and all other aspects of the story are copyright material belonging to me.

Also, I've said this before, but I'm trying to raise money for SRS, and I'm still struggling with it. If you can help, it would be most welcome. If not, don’t worry about it. I totally understand (you don't need to feel bad or apologize if you can’t).
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Guest 2nd Sep 2014, 7:59 PM edit delete reply
Colin seems like he's trying to get better
j-eagle12212012 2nd Sep 2014, 8:07 PM edit delete reply
Very touchy topic for many.
The Chessmaster 2nd Sep 2014, 8:50 PM edit delete reply
The Chessmaster
Yeah, people are weird around pronouns. My mother still is very insistently not using male pronouns to refer to my trans brother, and instead using gender neutral ones (short of slipping up and using female ones).
Kyla 3rd Sep 2014, 1:06 AM edit delete reply
He's trying... But has the ship sailed?
Zoeya 3rd Sep 2014, 1:58 AM edit delete reply
Im so glad this is back :D just the little thing I needed to help me get through dealing with my parents.
Mackus 3rd Sep 2014, 4:10 AM edit delete reply
Isn't Fara 36? She might regret turning down Colin, who'm she found reasonably nice, affluent, and attractive, because she is close to hitting the wall. And its obvious he's trying to be nice to Rain

SMBC made fun of "phenomena" here:

I still think Fara used Rain as excuse to dump Colin due to commitment issues.
Guest 3rd Sep 2014, 9:27 PM edit delete reply
Or, more likely, she won't regret turning him down. I really don't see how Fara's age should at all factor into her decisions about whether or not she should "settle". My mother remarried in her late 40s to my stepfather (in his 50s at the time), and they've been very happy together. In the meantime, my mother has certainly never seemed to think that she needed to find a new spouse because of her age--why would she, when she has such a fulfilling life as it is?

And as to the comic you linked to--anybody who would try to use a person's age (or anything else for that matter) in order to pressure them into a relationship is an arse.
Mackus 4th Sep 2014, 6:28 AM edit delete reply
Oh, c'mon.
If you are younger, you're prettier, you have more options in choosing partners, and you're more fertile (if you're a cis woman).
Those are simple facts, you might hate them, but they exist and are factually true.
_If_ Fara wants to have biological children, she has what, ten years _top_ to have them? Not that I can be certain, perhaps she doesn't want kids, but if she does, she can't wait forever. If Colin wasn't good enough for her, she doesn't have huge chances of finding someone better couple years from now.

Oh, and if the woman in the comic though guy was too big of an arse for pressuring her with her age, she wouldn't go out with him.
Jocelyn 4th Sep 2014, 8:30 AM edit delete reply

You throw around the word "fact" a lot. I do not think it means what you think it means.

If "you're younger, you're prettier?" As with everything, that's not an automatic truth. It's certainly not a "fact". I'd go so far as to say that's an outright opinion. It's true in some circumstances, but I personally think some people get more attractive as they mature. Some people are just always beautiful. And people, in general, should be measured by more than just their looks anyway.

"More options in choosing partners?" Also, extremely variable. Not something you could call a fact.

"More fertile?" I immediately thought of a story I remembered from like 2002 or something where a 60-something woman healthily gave birth to twins. I tried Googling it thinking I'd post a link, but I couldn't find that story. What I DID find, was a long list of links to similar stories all from different years and locations. Feel free to do some research yourself. Is it common? No, probably not. Are there exceptions? Like everything else, yes. Those exceptions make it not a fact.

Also, the whole reason Fara ended up trying online dating and meeting Colin in the first place is because she allowed herself to believe "time was running out" (which is bullshit, but societal standards have a way of making people feel inferior if they're not the "right weight", "right age", or right whatever else). Regardless, she later called it off because he said something nasty about her closest family member (if someone I was dating spoke ill of my family/friends, I wouldn't put up with that either). But to you, he's still apparently "good enough" so she should be settling for this guy JUST because she's getting older? I'm not saying it's impossible for them to get back together, and hey, Colin's trying. But it's gonna take a lot more than one use of correct pronouns and a set of free tickets to mend something like that. Rain might forgive him at that point, but it's not Rain's call to make. And one would like to think Fara's got standards.

Maybe it will work out. Maybe it won't. But if I were Fara, I might need a little more than what he's offering to get over things. Being 36 (seriously, by who's standards is 36 even considered old anymore?) is not a good reason to settle on someone I don't feel 100% confident in. Nor are looks or fertility. If I were Fara, a bisexual woman with a transgender niece (who herself has a number of friends of varying sexuality and gender identity that she frequently invites over), I'm going to need to know that my partner can accept all of this. Because I would rather be single forever than put myself and my family and my friends in a less than favorable (or for all I know, potentially dangerous) situation. It might sound petty to some, but I argue that's a pretty important standard for someone like Fara.
Nightsky 4th Sep 2014, 9:43 AM edit delete reply
Mackus, I'm sorry, but your post disgusts me. One of things that amazes me is that you're totally missing the point of that SMBC comic. The point is that the guy IS being an arse, but as he said, basically societal standards have left her so desperate that she feels she has no choice but to stand by.

Also, I don't see how Rain's transgender status was an "excuse" to dump Colin. She broke up with him because their individual values contradicted. Even if Fara does have commitment issues (which we can't be sure of—there hasn't been much evidence of that), if he doesn't accept Rain for who she is, the relationship WILL NOT WORK.

Right now, Rain has no where else to go. At the time of the breakup, her siblings were still in the dark about her identity. Hell, the breakup happened while Rain was presenting as a male in front of Aiken. Meanwhile, we know Rain's father would NEVER accept her.

Fara was and still is literally the only blood relative who fully accepts Rain for who she is. Her apartment is the only place where Rain feels safe. If she continued dating Colin back then even though she knew he didn't fully accept Rain, Rain would lose the only comfortable environment she had—the EXACT OPPOSITE of what Fara wants.

Sure, Colin is nice. He's affluent, and attractive. And as you said, he's trying to be nice to Rain. But even so, at the time of their breakup their core values totally differed. It's not a point of him being "good enough" for Fara, but just him being good. Good for Fara, good for Rain, good for their life... And THAT'S why she broke up with him. She had no idea. Even now, we can't be sure if he's genuinely trying to be nice for Rain's sake, or if it's just because he just wants to get back together with Fara. For all we know, as soon as they leave he'll start badmouthing Rain as a "crossdresser". It's natural to be wary of him.

Additionally, I don't think Fara has commitment issues. Keep in mind, she used to date Vincent. She loved him when she thought he was a woman, and still loved him as a man. If she REALLY had "commitment issues" like you claim, she would have stuck with him and supported him through that. The one with "commitment issues" in that case wasn't Fara—it was Vincent. Fara was prepared to love him for the rest of their lives. HE was the one who ran off. Maybe THAT could cause her to have commitment issues later, but from what we've seen, she's a strong woman, so I highly doubt it.

By the way, would you tell a man all that shit you said about it being easier to get married when you're "young and prettier"? Because what you said, is SHIT. And let me tell you something: it's VERY rare for me to curse.
Guest 4th Sep 2014, 10:16 AM edit delete reply
@Mackus: What in earth has whether or not Fara wants to have biological children got to do with her needing to "settle" with a man??? Does that mean that you think she should somehow stop being bisexual, just in case she eventually falls madly in love with a woman? And then what, her ovaries will instinctively shut down, because "oh no, we're not going to get pregnant through sex"? Why on Earth would Fara even require a partner to be a biological mother for anyway? As it stands, she's doing a truly incredible job as Rain's de facto single mother right now anyway. I honestly don't understand what point you're trying to make.

PS: You do realise that rest homes--you know, those places where people even older than their 30s go--are known to be the settings of so much sex that in many Western countries, the age-group with the fastest growing rate of sexually transmitted infection is the elderly? That's right: PEOPLE HAVE SEX EVEN WHEN THEY'RE LITERALLY ON THEIR DEATH BEDS (seriously, I have a friend who worked in a rest home, she's walked in on people when they were "indisposed" in the morning, & then cleaned up their bodies in the afternoon). So I really cannot understand why on earth you have this idea that Fara is on some clock when it comes to finding a partner.
Jocelyn 4th Sep 2014, 11:29 AM edit delete reply

I've officially had it with you. I'm not someone who gets offended easily, but you somehow manage to do it to me time and time again - as well as the other readers too apparently - and frankly, I'm done. As far as I'm concerned, you're just a troll. You're clearly not getting anything out of this story, and I don't need you upsetting me or the other readers with your sexist drivel.

I've deleted your last few messages because they were especially appalling. And all comments now will need to be moderated through me before going up until further notice. I'm not against people speaking their minds, but I don't have patience for trolls and I will NOT tolerate people upsetting my readers.

Have a nice day. And sorry to everyone else that this had to happen.
Lex-Kat 24th Nov 2016, 12:15 PM edit delete reply
Thank you. He has been driving me crazy. I tried to block him, but evidently that only works to keep him from PMing me.

I tried to ignore him, but that wasn't easy, and I kept finding myself typing out long posts to yell at him, only to delete them before posting, as I didn't want to A} Upset other readers and B} Feed the troll.

So again, thank you, thank you, thank you.

I love Rain, and your story is truly wonderful. He was becoming a distraction for me. Thank you.
no 10th Nov 2020, 3:41 PM edit delete reply
thank god. that dude was getting annoying as hell
Nightsky 3rd Sep 2014, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
I have this kinda going on with my own trans friend (ftm). Part of it is they haven't come out to many people (I think I'm the only one outside the dad and grandma...? Not even the mom knows), and they haven't explicitly stated any pronoun to use... When talking about them I still go with "she" and "her" since it's so secret. ^^;

By the way, Jocelyn, I have a request. See, I'm working on a novel (info on it at, and one of the characters, Emmett, has lesbian mothers, one of whom is a male-to-female trans. Your webcomic has taught me a lot about the trans community, and is part of what inspired me to make the cast's sexualities and gender identities so varied. As such, I'd like your permission to name her after you. ^^
Jocelyn 3rd Sep 2014, 1:32 PM edit delete reply

Sure. I would be honored! ^_^
Nightsky 3rd Sep 2014, 4:27 PM edit delete reply
Thank you! ^^
Kyla 4th Sep 2014, 1:42 AM edit delete reply
Nightsky If you need any help Me and my wife are lesbian mothers and I'm a Trans-women so.. yeah.. kind of living that right now ^_^
kyla 4th Sep 2014, 1:53 AM edit delete reply
Gerr... I hate when I post and forget to login LOl
The T.C. 14th Aug 2016, 4:04 AM edit delete reply
meta 20th Mar 2020, 11:44 PM edit delete reply
most importantly ~ teapot fara?
Some Ed 4th Apr 2022, 10:55 AM edit delete reply
I've thought more about this since this was current, but by the time I came up with something comment-worthy, I'd forgotten what prompted the line of thinking, until it was referenced today.

Most of the trans kids with whom I went to school had bullies who properly identified their gender in a derogatory fashion. This wasn't insight, this was shotgun; they asserted that all of their prospective targets were said gender, and then selected those who seemed triggered by it. Not every kid who was triggered later on identified as trans, but a number of them did.

I think at least some of the time, one of the first reactions to feeling mild dysphoria is to not feel too secure with ones assigned-at-birth gender. I'd imagine a stronger degree of dysphoria would have different reactions, so they'd probably have different reactions. I kind of recall a couple of kids who responded enthusiastically to such accusations, which generally threw the bully off their stride fairly well.

The important detail here is, people who watched this behavior got this idea that it was a bad thing to call someone who was "clearly" one of the two binary genders that were all that ever existed the other one. I think the bullies probably already had that idea also, but they embraced doing the bad thing.

Of course, stuff is really a lot more complicated than that, but as a result of that playground nonsense, some trans people feel they need to thank their bully for identifying who they really were, and some cis people feel especially uncomfortable about the whole situation. In many cases, I think, it's put into sharp relief because they feel they should have defended the bully's victim, but they didn't.

I was one of the few kids who attempted to defend kids from bullies by saying that it was OK for them to be the gender the bully was accusing them of being (while still allowing for the possibility the bully was wrong). Most of the people who defended the victims re-affirmed the idea that predetermined gender "identities" were "correct" and the bully shouldn't suggest otherwise. A few defended the victims without any statements on the topic of gender.

I don't think anyone really needs to thank their bullies, though at least in some cases, it can be an effective way to really bother them. In other cases... some of those bullies weren't that confident in their own gender assignment, and that was their way of dealing with it, and they've since learned healthier ways to deal with it.

Disclaimer: The above post kind of reads like I'm saying that most of the time, kids who were bullied in the schools I went to were defended. That was categorically not the case in all but one of the schools I attended. I just don't have anything to say about the majority of the cases where the kids weren't defended. I was, at least, one of the lucky ones, as when it got physical, I just ran, and I was good enough at running and dodging that I didn't get physically hurt too bad. But most of the time, it was this weird psychological mess, where the primary physical aspect was the bullies were puffing themselves up to intimidate, but only doing "minimal" physical harm.
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