Comic 971 - Up in the Air

10th Jul 2017, 4:29 PM in Ch. 33 - The Calm
Up in the Air
Average Rating: 4.9 (10 votes)
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Author Notes:

Jocelyn 10th Jul 2017, 4:29 PM edit delete
Oof... :/

I've spent a lot of time today stalling posting this page, because I'm pretty sure this won't be one that's well-liked. I mean, of course we all want to see Drew being super understanding and supportive of Ky. And it's probably safe to say he wants that too. But he's still pretty far from getting it.

Maybe it's his inexperience. Maybe it's the school. Or his cliques. Or his upbringing. Maybe Ky isn't great at articulating their thoughts and feelings. Whatever the reason, it should be noted that Drew's not intentionally being malicious. That said, it's also noteworthy that this isn't the first time his ignorant remarks have hurt Ky either (regardless of how unintentional they might've been).


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Jocelyn 12th Jul 2017, 8:05 AM edit delete
I wanted to remind people (perhaps needless to say after the last one), that the next page is going to be a doozy. Lot of words. Very emotional. I don't know if it's triggering, per se, but it might be a little intense for some.

I just wanted the warning out there.
Post a Comment


Guest 10th Jul 2017, 5:02 PM edit delete reply
I can give him a pass for being an idiot and not really knowing what he's saying. He still is gonna need to work to fix it tho
SayTaylor 10th Jul 2017, 5:23 PM edit delete reply
You done goofed up now Drew.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 5:30 PM edit delete reply
Drew has now entered hurtful territory and needs to be called out imo. Google exists in the comic and if he really cares bout Ky then he needs to educate himself because with the Internet existing, he has no excuse to be this ignorant. I think Ky and Drew need to not date or even hang out until he takes this seriously and cares enough to be educated because Ky doesn't deserve this, it's hurtful and mentally draining.
Mouse 10th Jul 2017, 7:06 PM edit delete reply
I mean to be fair, this isnt current day, so online information could be really inaccurate as info about genderfluid people was pretty tough to come by. That isn't an excuse, just that it isn't quite as easy as a good search, and the further back you go, the more confusing it is.

He may also understand that it is a gender switch but, in that, view them as not truly either of those genders, while wrong this isn't something really addressed in a lot of genderfluid literature even now.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 7:36 PM edit delete reply
Even still Ky doesn't need this and Drew could certainly be educated somehow if he cared enough to try to understand Ky. People make mistakes,but so far, Drew has done nothing but make mistakes and invalidate Ky when their gender comes up.
Leaf 11th Jul 2017, 12:08 PM edit delete reply
Mouse wrote: "I mean to be fair, this isnt current day, so online information could be really inaccurate as info about genderfluid people was pretty tough to come by."

Actually, this is incorrect. It was said a few chapters back that Emily did research when she was younger, and got answers for herself. She's actually the one to help Ky/lie find a label for themselves, so information is out there for those who look for it. Drew obviously has not.

Drew actually reminds me of an acquaintance of mine who used to hang out with a terrible clique of racist/sexist/homophobic/heteronormative people, and now hangs with us, a group where pretty much all members fall somewhere on the gender and/or sexuality rainbow spectrum. He isn't malicious, but he's terribly misinformed -- him and I had a few horrible clashes because of that, at least before he learned to shut his mouth, listen and educate himself. It's better now but even after all these months, he still somehow expects a medal for treating trans folk like normal people, so clearly there's a long way to go.

But at least he's trying. Drew, right now? He's not trying at all. He's too self-conscious of how being with Ky/lie reflects on him instead of turning his eyes to them, and putting himself in their shoes. Is it malicious? No. But it's selfish, typical of a teenager attitude raised in a sheltered/not very diverse/homophobic environment, and neither fair nor healthy to Ky/lie who's a teen themselves and shouldn't be subjected to that treatment from people supposed to be friends.

I just really hope that, after all is said and done in this chapter, Drew will FINALLY take those firsts steps toward doing his research -- because Ky/lie definitely deserves better, and Drew deserves to broaden his horizons even if Ky/lie decides not to bother with him anymore (which would be completely understandable after what he just said, in my opinion).
Fox 11th Jul 2017, 12:31 PM edit delete reply
You make very good points and I agree. I had forgotten about Emily's reaserch, so my point stands, Drew needs to make an effort. I too have had aquaintances who just didn't get it, but in my case, they refused to learn so I dropped them and moved on.
Guest 10th Jul 2017, 9:31 PM edit delete reply
I'm with Fox here. If you actually give a damn about somebody, and they've told you that they have an identity you don't know much about, YOU DO YOUR RESEARCH. No ifs or buts. If you're struggling to find sources, you could ask "hey, is there a good place I could go to find out more", and if you really can't find anything, then you apologise and explain yourself. And you ACTUALLY LISTEN to them, which Drew hasn't been doing— Ky has been incredibly patient (far more so than he deserves, if he's continuing to act like this), and has explained themselves more than once, and well, and Drew is still being a shitty person for continuing to undermine them.

My partner is GenderFluid and disabled, and you can bet your arse I did (and continue to do) my research into these facets of their identity. Because I actually give a damn about them, and don't want to hurt them in my ignorance. Because as long as you have the ability to correct your ignorance, then it is neither a justification, or much of an excuse, for hurting somebody you care about.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 10:14 PM edit delete reply
Thank you guest. That's very well said.
Rei 10th Jul 2017, 11:13 PM edit delete reply
To play devil's advocate, the first step towards wisdom is understanding what you do not know. Drew has not reached that step. To ask the questions you have to realize they exist.

Drew seems to not even be aware of the difference between sex and gender. Between gender and gender expression. He may have never been exposed to even the concept of binary trans identities. Hence when Ky has said something he doesn't understand.

He has at least tried asking for advice, so one thinks he is at least trying. What Drew does from here is important, no matter what Ky does. It will say a lot about Drew.
Guest 10th Jul 2017, 10:47 PM edit delete reply
To Guest and Fox, I actually disagree to an extent. One should do some research, but simple mistakes like this are going to happen. If someone is repeatedly reminded about something and obviously isn't making an effort, then sure, maybe it's better if they don't interact at much, but you need to have some perspective. Small things like this are obvious to those in the community, but as somebody who grew up in a religious setting (not too different from this comic, actually) it's a completely rational line of thought to think of non-binary people as not "real (insert gender)". People tend to create new categories for new things instead of changing their current definition, so Drew simply made a new "genderfluid male" category in his mind. It's completely normal human behavior to think that way until told differently. Plus, it's literally an attribute of Drew to say the worst possible thing at the worst possible time. Sorry for the sort-of-rant, but it makes me sad when people are so quick to judge others for not knowing all the quirks of non-straight/binary people.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 11:12 PM edit delete reply
Again, if he educates himself then he would not make these kinds of mistakes. This isn't a pronoun slip, this is calling someone not real. I'm not saying never hang out again, I'm saying take a break until Drew learns more. He is hurting Ky a lot and he's already been called out by Ky and Rudy, he needs to start trying before he looses Ky for good.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 11:14 PM edit delete reply
Also, it obviously isn't a "small thing" for Ky. So it therefore isn't a "small mistake."
Guest 10th Jul 2017, 11:34 PM edit delete reply
I'm not trying to say it's okay to call Ky not real, but it's a completely rational mistake. My boyfriend did that to me a few months ago and we sat down and talked it out. If Ky can't handle Drew not knowing every little detail then they shouldn't be together. Relationships are give and take, and Drew being unintentionally ignorant is just part of the relationship. He's not trying to devalue Ky, and it's not intended to be a personal attack, so hopefully they can talk it out rationally.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 11:42 PM edit delete reply
True it is give and take, but so far to me, Ky does all the giving and accommodating while Drew does the taking. They have a secret relationship because Drew wants one, they only meet away from others while Ky is in boy mode because Drew is uncomfortable, and Ky should wear a dress even in boy mode because Drew wants them to. Where has Drew given anything to or for Ky? The problem is the context in which this mistake is happening involves an unbalanced relationship.
Rei 11th Jul 2017, 1:33 AM edit delete reply
Now this is completely unfair to equate someone being in a closet to being selfish. No one has a right to force someone out of a closet, and there is a reason why "no outing" is important.

Its okay if Ky doesn't want to date someone who is still in the closet, but that would be Ky's deal.

The problem isn't so much that Drew is taking and not giving, but that Drew simply doesn't understand what he doesn't understand. However, I think it is fair to assume good will on his part.

It is also fair to note that Drew has attempted to verify his own judgment when he asked Rudy for advice. (Unfortunately, Rudy didn't exactly give useful advice.) So there is at least some attempt to verify he was on the right page here.

This issue lately has been giving me some pause as this is the sort of conversation that I'm going to need to have with anyone I'm close to.

Most of all I have no idea where to start it with my parents, because I'm fairly sure they like Drew wouldn't understand the words I would say. That I need to go more basic and attempt to explain from the ground up.
Fox 11th Jul 2017, 10:51 AM edit delete reply
Rei, I never said he should be forced out of the closet. Reread my comment. I said keeping this a secret is something Ky is doing FOR Drew's benefit and you didn't answer my question in your response either. I'll repeat myself, name one thing Drew has done to accommodate Ky, one thing he has had to give to or for them? When Drew talks about his relationship with Ky it's ALL about how this affects him, what people will think about HIM, he doesn't seem to even consider Ky and that's my whole point.
Rei 11th Jul 2017, 2:46 PM edit delete reply
Fox, what have we seen either of them do to acomidate each other? The only thing either have done is decide their next date would be in private. The prom thing you can't consider acomidation since Drew can't bring a boy to prom. (Nor do we know the details of that conversation.)

Also, Drew we have seen thinking about how things would effect Ky's feelings. Asking Rudy for advice had nothing to do with Drew. That was about Ky's feeling and how to ask a question that he rightly suspected might touch sensitive topics. Drew has screwed up extremely impressively, but there is evidence he was thinking about her.

And yes Drew is insecure about his own identity and thinks about it. I don't find that strange.
Fox 11th Jul 2017, 2:58 PM edit delete reply
Look, this is obviously pointless to argue. You've made up your mind. Agree to disagree.
Fox 11th Jul 2017, 10:49 PM edit delete reply
Rei, I will add something. Reread this page and look at what Drew says, it explains my problem with him.
Guest 11th Jul 2017, 7:42 AM edit delete reply
Me again, the guest who earlier agreed with Fox:

It isn't Ky/lie's responsibility to educate Drew. They have done a huge amount of work, & Drew, it seems, cannot even be bothered to do a Google search (or whatever the "Rain" equivalent would be). Drew has said shitty things to Ky/lie before, and has witnessed the hurt this caused, and has apparently not actually bothered to research and preparation. If he cared at all enough to try to understand Ky/lie, he could easily have searched for "sometimes boy sometimes girl", and received multiple sources on the subject immediately. It is not nearly as hard to find out about Gender Diversity as people like to claim.

It is not actually that difficult to realise after somebody says "this aspect of my identity is important to me, and it is hurtful when you undermine it" (as Ky/lie has previously explained), and to realise "oh, that's something which is incredibly important to this person. I should find out more about this so I don't hurt them like that again". All it requires is a fairly basic level of empathy— something Drew has consistently been shown to struggle with. His first thoughts have pretty much always been about himself— what does this say about *him*, how does this impact *him*, only reaching out to others to figure out whether or not something impacts upon *him*.

Drew doesn't seem to actually care all that much about learning about Ky/lie's identity, because if he did /he would actually do some frigging basic levels of research/. And if you don't care about learning about somebody's identity, then by definition, you don't care about them enough as a person to date them.

I work with kids, & hold annual all-ages parties, & I've honestly seen 12 year olds show more basic empathy and maturity towards acquaintances than Drew is showing towards the person he's saying he wants to date.

If Drew wants to be Closetted, then that is fine, but he needs to understand that it is not okay for him to try to force other people into the closet as well, which is what he's trying to do to Ky/lie. "I don't feel comfortable being seen on dates with you because I am not yet ready to Come Out" is a perfectly valid request (just as "I am not comfortable with being in a relationship I need to hide" is a perfectly valid reason to end such a relationship). "I am not yet ready to Come Out, so YOU have to force yourself back into the Closet to make me feel better" is NOT a reasonable request.
Rei 11th Jul 2017, 3:22 PM edit delete reply
Guest, I did indicate that Ky does have to choose whether or not Ky is comfortable dating someone who is currently in the closet. It's okay if this is a nonstarter for her. If Ky decides he won't deal with a partner who is in the closet tin the future that's fine, too. Closets can make things uncomfortable.

Here is the crux of the problem. What if Drew thought he understood Ky when she explained it to him? I know the rabbit hole of gender identity is deep, but does Drew even know it exists?

I'm not going to say Drew isn't immature. But I don't know that he's actively not put thought into this. What he does after this conversation I think will say a lot more about who he is than this screwup. After all he hasn't made this particular screwup yet.
Jocelyn 11th Jul 2017, 3:58 PM edit delete reply

Sorry to be that person, but Drew has made exactly this screw up before.

And was subsequently told this was not okay to do.
Rei 11th Jul 2017, 7:43 PM edit delete reply
I saw some difference between misgendering (and outing) someone and directly disrespecting someone's gender identity. Perhaps I'm dividing up the different ways one could screw up too finely.
mecaterpillar 12th Jul 2017, 10:52 AM edit delete reply
I have to disagree here. What Drew did here is say something that implies inauthenticity of Ky's gender. The pages in the past include an incident where Drew misgenders Ky, mischaracterizes him and sort of outs him at the same time (and also slightly implies there's something wrong with being gay, or at least him, Drew, being gay). Afterwards, Ky explains to Drew that they, Ky, are whatever gender they say they are at the moment, and this should be taken seriously. At no point that has been shown has Ky explained to Drew that he shouldn't say things that imply inauthenticity. The fact that Drew would recklessly say something as such does not surprise me. I would think it wouldn't surprise Ky either, but I don't know. It, unfortunately, does not surprise me that Drew needs to be taught that what is implied by what he says matters and can be hurtful and he needs to be more careful when speaking. (BTW, I don't mean to imply that Drew should walk on eggshells but rather that he's ignorant of some things and he seems to be the kind of person that sometimes speaks without as much processing going on in the brain before speaking as with most people. Some people are just like that)
Guest 12th Jul 2017, 4:42 AM edit delete reply
Me again, the guest who earlier agreed with Fox:

It isn't Ky/lie's responsibility to educate Drew. They have done a huge amount of work, & Drew, it seems, cannot even be bothered to do a Google search (or whatever the "Rain" equivalent would be). Drew has said shitty things to Ky/lie before, and has witnessed the hurt this caused, and has apparently not actually bothered to research and preparation. If he cared at all enough to try to understand Ky/lie, he could easily have searched for "sometimes boy sometimes girl", and received multiple sources on the subject immediately. It is not nearly as hard to find out about Gender Diversity as people like to claim.

It is not actually that difficult to realise after somebody says "this aspect of my identity is important to me, and it is hurtful when you undermine it" (as Ky/lie has previously explained), and to realise "oh, that's something which is incredibly important to this person. I should find out more about this so I don't hurt them like that again". All it requires is a fairly basic level of empathy— something Drew has consistently been shown to struggle with. His first thoughts have pretty much always been about himself— what does this say about *him*, how does this impact *him*, only reaching out to others to figure out whether or not something impacts upon *him*.

Drew doesn't seem to actually care all that much about learning about Ky/lie's identity, because if he did /he would actually do some frigging basic levels of research/. And if you don't care about learning about somebody's identity, then by definition, you don't care about them enough as a person to date them.

I work with kids, & hold annual all-ages parties, & I've honestly seen 12 year olds show more basic empathy and maturity towards acquaintances than Drew is showing towards the person he's saying he wants to date.

If Drew wants to be Closetted, then that is fine, but he needs to understand that it is not okay for him to try to force other people into the closet as well, which is what he's trying to do to Ky/lie. "I don't feel comfortable being seen on dates with you because I am not yet ready to Come Out" is a perfectly valid request (just as "I am not comfortable with being in a relationship I need to hide" is a perfectly valid reason to end such a relationship). "I am not yet ready to Come Out, so YOU have to force yourself back into the Closet to make me feel better" is NOT a reasonable request.
Guest 10th Jul 2017, 5:34 PM edit delete reply
show him the door.
Rei 10th Jul 2017, 5:35 PM edit delete reply
Ky is Drew's only exposure to anything trans or non-binary. He was clearly struggling with the concept and is clearly coming to this out of ignorance and not malace. I'llhonest, I'm glad I learned a lot before I knowingly met anyone who was trans. Because I at least hope I know enough now to know when I don't understand and need to tread carefully.

The one thing it will be hard to forgive Drew for is if he doesn't learn. And of course Ky has no obligation to be the one who teaches him.

Of course, secretly I get guilty pleasure from watching drew shove his leg down his mouth.
Elyse Lundberg 10th Jul 2017, 6:09 PM edit delete reply
Please don't hate me, but I feel like they're both wrong here. Drew is being insensitive and slightly unacceptint that Ky is not always going to be a girl. But I also think that Ky should just suck it up and wear a dress, even if he's in boy mode that night. If they really both want to make this relationship work, Drew will have to learn to become accepting and to watch his mouth, while Ky/Kylie will just have to learn to suck it up sometimes. Really though, Drew should learn to suck it up too.. idk, I think they're both wrong in this situation.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 7:41 PM edit delete reply
No they are not both wrong. No,one should have to compromise their identity for a relationship, so no Ky should not have to "suck it up and wear a dress." People can change behavior that damages a relationship, but they should never have to change who they are, that's just awful. Drew should have room to learn and come to terms with who he is, but he doesn't get to hurt and invalidate Ky to do that.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 8:28 PM edit delete reply
This is not a healthy view of relationships please see someone about this.
Samantha 10th Jul 2017, 8:59 PM edit delete reply
Fox, this is out of line.

Basically, you are saying "someone needs to see someone (implied: therapist)" because they understand a relationship as give and take. Ummm, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that IS what relationships are about. Understanding. And flexibility.

If a partner is like "I'll never do it like that" not sometimes I'll do it, but not always, but walking around with the mindset that their decisions should just be respected automatically because they are LGBT or nonbinary, the one who has an unhealthy view or relationships is you.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 9:19 PM edit delete reply
No, I'm saying it's unhealthy to view a relationship as people should change who they are to make things easier for the other person. If you don't like someone for who they are, you don't like them. Behavior should be changed or compromised when needed, not identity. That's like asking a man to cross dress because you like it even though it makes them uncomfortable and then telling them they should "suck it up." Give and take is not, "do things that hurt you because I want you to." I don't even understand that last part of what you said, Idk if you got autocorrected but that makes no sense. I think people should compromise, but not have to change WHO they are for a relationship. Changing who you are to please someone is a dynamic in an abusive relationship not a healthy one.
Samantha 11th Jul 2017, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
I'm gonna offer two extremes to show why giving someone a complete pass and never having to change is just as bad as having someone change completely.

First, the change scenario. A man wants his partner to stop having gay/bi tendencies. This is like the 19th or early 20th century, so electroshock and lobotomy is in vogue. I will definitely agree.

On the other hand, the wife loves a man unconditionally. Except this man abuses her and treats her like dirt. Btw, both scenarios were in the same show, A Place To Call Home.

A healthy relationship is not "love means never having to say I'm sorry," it's give and take. Give and take would look like this. Ky agrees to wear a dress for him, but he doesn't get off easy. He owes her later. I'm pretty sure this is where Ky will convince Drew that part of dating a genderfluid means if you want to go to the dance with them, you may need to wear a dress.
Jocelyn 11th Jul 2017, 10:16 AM edit delete reply

I know I shouldn't get involved in reader discussions, but I have to say something here. Your extremes are completely irrelevant to the actual scenario going on. Unless what you're suggesting is that Ky either needs to stop being fluid for Drew's sake or get lobotomized, I don't really see how what you said has anything to do with anything.

I'm gonna offer a non-extreme non-fictional example of something that IS relevant.

Prior to meeting me, my now spouse had a boyfriend who told her he was uncomfortable with her being bi. He said he felt threatened by her bisexuality; that she might leave him for another woman (apparently, he wasn't threatened by other men though). She let herself get dragged along in this for some time, maintaining this relationship they both felt miserable in. Eventually, she couldn't take it anymore and left him.

Around the same time, I was struggling with accepting myself as a trans person. I was genuinely afraid that if I transitioned, I would never find love and that I'd have to choose between one or the other. I had a terrible breakdown over that one day, and suffered for a long time over it.

Then she and I met. I liked her, but thought I stood no chance with her. She liked me, but my fear of being unable to date seemed to her like I was uninterested in her. We did become close friends though. Enough that I eventually told her I was trans thinking she'd be a good ally. I didn't even know she was bi at the time; I just trusted her. A couple weeks later she asked me on a date.

Almost twelve years later, we're still together and still very happy. We're coming up on nine years of marriage too. We've both had to make compromises, but my gender or her orientation were never among those compromises. She would never tell me to pretend to be a guy, even just for a night (even just for five minutes!). Never! And I trust her to not cheat on me with men or women. Regardless of her orientation, I believe in our love. If she wants to go hang out with some attractive friends and I'd rather stay in, she can go. She doesn't need my permission. I'm not threatened.

We're literally the happiest couple I know. I can count on one hand the amount of times we've argued. We trust each other and we support each other. We don't force the other to do things that make the other uncomfortable. We don't make each other sacrifice parts of ourselves for our own convenience. If there's a grievance, we talk things over and make compromises that don't put the other one out. THAT is a healthy relationship.

Love is "give and take", but not in the way you think.
Give them your utmost trust and respect, because you love them.
Take away their suffering and unhappiness, because you love them.

"Give and take" does NOT mean "make them do things because then they owe you later". In no reality is that a healthy, loving relationship.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 9:29 PM edit delete reply
Also, for Ky being lgbt isn't a choice it's who they are, so it's not a question of decisions, it's a question of identity. It boils down to saying a person should have to dress in a way that makes them uncomfortable and causes dysphoria to please their partner, that's not healthy.
Guest 10th Jul 2017, 9:43 PM edit delete reply
Once again, I'm with Fox here. "Give and Take" in a healthy relationship is "okay, I'll do the dishes, which I don't like, because you're working late; you walk the dog in the rain, even though you don't like walking in the rain, because I've got a cold". It's compromise.

It is absolutely unhealthy to say "Pretend to be somebody else, because I don't like it". And it is absolutely unhealthy— and at least borderline verbally and emotionally abusive— to say "You are not truly your gender".

If Ky/lie was telling Drew "you must wear a dress and pretend to be a woman at prom, and if you're not okay with that, Suck it up, you're not really a man anyway", people would treat them like an arsehole, and being an idiot. Drew is doing the exact same thing, and that is treating Ky like an arsehole, and being an idiot.

The very fact that anybody would treat Drew as having a point here is a sign of how little Non-Binary Genders are respected, often even among other Trans people.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 10:19 PM edit delete reply
^This exactly. Non binary identities are just as real as binary ones. It's not play acting, it's not a decision, it's real.
Canton Empire 10th Jul 2017, 10:56 PM edit delete reply
But still, your comment implying that someone needs help because they disagreed with you is totally out of line.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 11:21 PM edit delete reply
I don't think they "need help because they disagree with me." I think they need help to develop a healthier perspective on relationships so they don't end up in an unhealthy relationship where they feel the need to change themselves to please a partner. In simple terms, this way of thinking may lead you to end up in an abusive relationship, please do something to avoid this possible outcome, was my point.
Guest 10th Jul 2017, 10:56 PM edit delete reply
Please, stop with the "borderline emotionally abusive" bullshit. I was physically, emotionally, and verbally abused by my parents and this petty mistake by Drew is absolutely not abuse. Seriously, you need mental help if you think a simple slip up is even remotely comparable to the shit that happens in real abusive relationships.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 11:34 PM edit delete reply
As another abuse survivor, I think it is dangerous to start saying that you can't call out abusive behavior if it's not "serious enough" or part of an abusive relationship, which is how I'm reading this. Is that what you mean? If so, I want to point out that abusive behavior includes unintentionally abusive behavior as well as intentional. The language is accurate.
Guest 11th Jul 2017, 5:02 PM edit delete reply
The difference is one is intentional. Drew isn't (I don't think) trying to hurt Ky. Unintentional misunderstandings aren't abuse. I don't mean this in a "well I got hit 7 times instead of your 6, so I'm a better victim than you"; that's not my intention. But people need to stop throwing around the word abuse for simple mistakes. There might be shitty behavior, but it isn't necessarily abuse and real abuse (repeated, intentional harming of another individual mentally or physically) is lessened by saying that normal slip-ups are equivalent.
Fox 11th Jul 2017, 6:24 PM edit delete reply
No normal slip ups aren't equivalent but calling someone say a "stupid piece of shit" is still abusive behavior. Read the article I posted it accurately describes what I call the difference between abuse, abusive behavior, and an abuser. I define it this way, abuse is a pattern of consistent abusive behavior, an abuser is one who abuses, and abusive behavior is doing something damaging, hurtful, or mean to another person, even if you didn't mean to hurt them. The way I look at it is many people are abusive without meaning to be,for example well meaning parents harshly criticize their child when they make mistakes because they think this will help the child succeed, they don't mean to hurt the child, but they are still engaging in verbal abuse. I look at it as a spectrum, where on one end you have non abusive behavior, in the middle you have varying shades of abusive behavior ranging in intensity and intent, then at the other end you have intentional abuse. I think that by calling all damaging behavior abusive regardless of intent, we highlight how abuse can be subtle and things like bullying and "teasing" are serious. Say you have a kid who others call stinky and refuse to play with them, over time this kid develops low self esteem and becomes depressed and withdrawn. The other kids likely didn't intend to cause this damage or even realise that they were, but the damage is still there. Even one time abuse can do a lot of damage, even if the person didn't mean to hurt them. Basically, I think the best way to stop abuse is to recognize we are ALL capable of being abusive and that when we do something hurtful, it doesn't matter if we meant to or not, it still hurt and we need to make it right.
Boss Connor 14th Jan 2018, 6:23 AM edit delete reply
Wow! This is a long Convo!

Anyway. I understand things take time to adjust, pronouns aren’t always easy to learn. but also Ky doesn’t have to put up with it. It is a learning process: however! They are also very young, and both In a way are still figuring things out for themselves. Drew is still kinda in the closet about a sexuality he’s not entirely sure of. And Ky is only recently coming out to more people. As a non-binary/fluid person myself, having dated a cis straight guy, I can tell you there will be screw ups and patience will be tested. But it can be easy to forget that you need to do good by you to. We were together for a few months, but i was also out for a lot longer.

In a very binary, heteronormative world, we all need the strength to have a little patience (even if it’s not fair to require that of us to such an extent). But the truth is, Ky may just not have the time or energy to emotionally deal with Drew’s slip ups, and that is NOT their fault. And as much as a part of me wants to place blame on Drew for his ignorant comment, he’s still learning too. This relationship has such a steep learning curve, and his incredibly unbalanced. It’s difficult to navigate such relationships as is, but in highschool? Forget it, teens get enough drama even without a relationship
Reimi 10th Jul 2017, 6:40 PM edit delete reply
I can see why you hesitated posting this one, it is a pretty heavy page...
Guest 10th Jul 2017, 7:00 PM edit delete reply
Open mouth, insert foot.
Guest 10th Jul 2017, 7:02 PM edit delete reply
While I understand that Drew is out of line here, I do know people irl who could say something like that and just not understand the true hurtfulness, meaning it in an innocent manner.

I think Drew perhaps needs some form of wake-up slap, and maybe thats coming for him soon
Avary 10th Jul 2017, 7:08 PM edit delete reply
oh no
DocMesa 10th Jul 2017, 7:24 PM edit delete reply
The thing is, Drew doesn't realise how carefully he needs to phrase every single word that comes out of his mouth when he's around Ky. Because unfortunately, it is very, very easy to mis-speak around trans and other non-cis people. To make matters worse, due to the very wisespread nature of transphobia and so on, any mistakes are not seen as mistakes but an outright attack on a person instead. This often leaves very few second chances for people to make things right.

I think back to when I first started hanging out with trans people. I didn't know the right things to say but more importantly, I didn't know *why* they were the right things to say. I got there in the end and my LGBt friends mean everything to me - but Christ knows I had more than a few Drew moments along the way, and lost people as a result. =/
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 7:55 PM edit delete reply
I don't think it's fair to say he needs to be careful of "every single word he says around Ky". He doesn't have to walk on eggshells, he has to watch how he talks ABOUT Ky, which isn't the same thing. It's kind of like saying a person has to watch every word they say around gay people, when what you mean is you can't say rude things about them being gay. You see why that's not the same thing? Also, you said you have trans friends, think about how they would feel if you said you have to watch every word you say around them. Think about you would feel if someone said that about you. Saying that reads as needing to walk on eggshells around trans people and I doubt that is what most people want from you. Also, it kind of makes it seem like you view trans people as "overly sensitive," is that what you mean?
DocMesa 11th Jul 2017, 2:59 AM edit delete reply
Hmm. Reading what you said and then re-reading my own post, I can see how it comes across like that. I apologise as that was not my intent.

My feeling at the time of writing that was how difficult it must be for Drew to get his head around all this. He hangs out with cis, straight people, his folks are presumably cis, straight people and the school's LGBT education policy is probably non-existant. In short, he's had no knowing exposure to LGBT info and instead the one thing that seems to have sunk in is that "gay = very, very bad".

Then he meets a wonderful non-binary person, whose gender changes between male and female. He's never met anyone like them before and they seem fun and sexy too. He seems quite literally terrified of the possibilty of not being straight and says these dismissive things about Ky because he can't set his feelings for them squarely against his fears of being called gay.

I think back to when I was Drew's age. I was socially illterate back then - interacting with strangers was impossible, interacting with the opposite sex was extremely intimidating, all set against the backdrop of being bullied just for existing. I spent a lot of time hanging around with guys as I felt less awkward around them. Inevitably, this would lead to people calling me gay. Current me, who is far older and has both scars and therapy from social interaction, would shrug off stuff like that these days. 15 or 16 year old me behaved just the same as Drew did when we first met him.

If I had met Ky or someone like them as a 16 year old, I would have found it intimidating and probably frustrating. I wouldn't have understood about genderfluidity and nonbinary identities because I wouldnt have even known what those words *meant*. I would have been afraid of saying the wrong thing and that fear would have been a 1000 times worse if I had been attracted to Ky as well.

Current me still screws up with trying to say what I mean. 16 year old me was even worse and if by some stroke of very good fortune I found myself at that age with Ky, I'd be saying all the wrong things too. >.<
Fox 11th Jul 2017, 12:12 PM edit delete reply
Ah ok, I get what you've saying now. Like I said before people should have room to learn, but as Drew has the internet he has no excuse for his ignorance it shouldn't be all on people to educate others, the person learning has to make an effort too. I'm glad you are willing to do the work.
DocMesa 11th Jul 2017, 12:39 PM edit delete reply
It kind of made me think a little, reading this - what would my life have been like if I *had* got my head around LGBT stuff much earlier in life and been more accepting of others, as opposed to the Daily Mail reading, permanently angry and dismissive jerk I was?

Still....that coin could have landed on the other side *and I could still have been like that today*. I think about the friends I've made, the way my world views have changed over time and top quality LGBT webcomics I would have missed...I'm really f***ing glad I got to know LGBT people. They really helped me be a better person.
Fox 11th Jul 2017, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
That's really awesome. It's always good and worthwhile to grow as a person and I'm glad to hear it has made your life better to have diverse people in it. Good for you ☺.
DocMesa 12th Jul 2017, 5:30 AM edit delete reply
This is probably going to be my final comment on this page but going with my last one, Drew's coin is still spinning in the air. I feel he does have it in him to be a good person, a good ally, hell maybe even a good partner...I'm hoping that the coin lands the right side up.
DJTaylor 10th Jul 2017, 7:51 PM edit delete reply
I feel as if what he intended to say was "I've never tried it, I have no experience with anything close to being a girl", but of course he's performed an astonishing act of cunnilingus on his foot
Neelix 10th Jul 2017, 8:17 PM edit delete reply

At this rate there'll be no point in Drew going to the Prom at all, as by that time he'll have so thoroughly eaten both his feet that he won't even be able to stand let alone dance. ;-)

Reimi 10th Jul 2017, 8:31 PM edit delete reply
Ky needs to get Drew in a dress ASAP, if for no other reason than for him to actually experience it. Get Rudy in on it to help with the outfit then drag em to the mall. :P
Guest 10th Jul 2017, 9:18 PM edit delete reply
+1 :D
Samantha 10th Jul 2017, 8:55 PM edit delete reply
I'm not sure that's consistent with my experience with being genderfluid. Yeah, there's times when I feel more like a girl or a boy, but there's entirely less a sense of fatalism to it.

Being nobinary is more like a choice (with a heavy amount of feelings) than it is "I'm sorta a girl and sorta a boy inside a boy/girl's body."
Guest 10th Jul 2017, 9:22 PM edit delete reply
That's your experience of it, which is entirely valid, but it is not the case for a great many people. Most Non-Binary people I know find the suggestion that their gender identity is a choice incredibly hurtful. I've known GenderFluid people who get extremely dysphoric, and I've stayed up late into the night trying to comfort somebody I love because they can't control which gender they are, and are thus stuck feeling terrible.

So While it's true that for you, and for some people, identifying as Non-Binary is a choice, it's probably not a great idea to go around suggesting that that's the case for "most" people is rather insensitive.
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 9:24 PM edit delete reply
I second what you said guest. Individual experience doesn't equal universal truth. It's valid, buy it isn't something you can apply to other people who share your "label."
Fox 10th Jul 2017, 9:22 PM edit delete reply
Ok wait, you're saying you choose to be gender fluid? As in, it's not who you are, but something you do? Am I understanding this right?
Anja 11th Jul 2017, 11:51 AM edit delete reply
Uh, being nonbinary trans is NOT a choice, just like being binary trans is not a choice.

Ky's experience perfectly matches that of a gender fluid friend of mine, s/he does just feel one way or another, and that's that.
Darkhorse 11th Jul 2017, 12:20 PM edit delete reply
Anja, I agree. I mean if someone has to choose to be something then they aren't that thing. That's like saying you choose to be gay, bi, or straight, you either are or aren't. People thinking it's a choice is why people bully and harass lgbt people it's the logic people use to call us perverts and degenerates. Someone wants to choose to be something fine, but don't think that means we're all choosing this. It isn't a game of dress up or pretend for us, if it is for you then please find a new label so the rest of us don't look bad.
DocMesa 11th Jul 2017, 12:43 PM edit delete reply
I think the choice thing isn't so much choosing to be gay, GQ, trans or whatever - maybe the choice is to do with accepting who you are or not. Which ultimately isn't really a choice in the long run if you hope to be happy and at peace with yourself.
DandelionWishes42 11th Jul 2017, 3:53 PM edit delete reply
I second the first reply to Samantha's comment, where it was said that everyone has different experiences and understandings of what a label means to them, and that we should all be respectful of each other's perspectives.

I know from reading a lot of LGBTQ+ literature and hearing the stories of people like you guys that for a lot of people, identifying as the gender(s) and sexuality(ies) that they do is very much something that feels predetermined, feels unchangeable, feels very much NOT a choice. I've learned about how awful it can feel when people deny their experiences, and about how impossible it is to change their identities against their will. These are all incredibly valid experiences.

At the same time, my personal experience is a lot like Samantha's. For me, my gender identity feels *like a choice*. I can close my eyes and imagine myself feeling feminine, and when I open them again, I *do* feel more feminine. I can put on a jacket to warm myself up, realize that the jacket makes me look masculine, and decide that I'm going to feel more masculine until it warms up so that I don't get dysphoria. Because I *do* get dysphoria, or I used to, back when I had no idea how to cause these little "gender shifts," and my gender identity was bouncing all over the place. From what I've gathered, my gender identity at any given moment is highly susceptible to suggestion, and by suggesting things to myself, I can influence how I'm feeling in a way that does feel very much like a choice. Like the phrase that was originally used in this conversation, "a choice with a heavy amount of feelings".

There actually is a lot of queer academia that supports this, too, with many prominent sociologists and LGBTQ+ theorists finding that gender, and possibly also sexuality, are at least in part determined by social norms and expectations, and that a person's identity can in many ways be as fluid and as chooseable as one's gender expression. This isn't to say that this has been proven as fact, but is important to note that there's not a single consensus within the scientific community that has been accepted as universally true. Everyone has very different experiences, and the experts have very different ideas as to why that is, and it's all very personal and subjective, and that's okay!

So my two cents in this conversation is that yes, for many people, identifying as LGBTQ+ feels like anything but a choice, and there are very real and serious implications to that. And that yes, for others, gender and sexuality feel a lot more malleable and subjective, and that's a very real and valid experience too. Please don't tell anyone what they can and can't identify as, and please be respectful and kind of everyone else's opinions and experiences. :)
Darkhorse 11th Jul 2017, 8:15 PM edit delete reply
There's a difference between something being flexible and a choice, for instance you can choose what to eat for breakfast, but while your tastes are flexible you can't choose to like a food you hate. Gender and sexuality are a spectrum and that means if you don't fall all the way in one category it can be fluid or flexible, but you can't make yourself be something you aren't already. You can't choose to be gender fluid if you're strictly binary and vice versa. Labels have meanings and if you start changing them they lose their meaning. For instance if gay is changed to apply to people who are only attracted to men sometimes say 25%, but other genders the rest of the time 75% then it looses it's meaning. You can call yourself whatever you want, but if what you mean isn't what the label usually means then maybe it isn't the right one for you. And you can't say other people all feel like you do.
Darkhorse 11th Jul 2017, 11:05 PM edit delete reply
What I'm trying to say is, "it's a choice" implies that you can stop being non binary. That you could wake up one day and say, "I will be binary now" and it would work. If you can't do that then your gender isn't a choice, it's flexible.
DandelionWishes42 12th Jul 2017, 4:51 PM edit delete reply
Dang. I wrote a detailed response here and then accidentally deleted it -.-

Darkhorse, I think I understand what you're saying, and I generally agree with all of it. I think my perspective is that while a person might not necessarily be able to decide that "hey I'm going to be nonbinary now," within the group of people who identify as "genderfluid" and experience frequent changes in what gender(s) they identify with at any given moment, there is a spectrum of exactly how "fluid" or "flexible" each person is, and how dysphoric each person may feel when those gender(s) are not recognized. I interpreted Samantha's original post as them (sorry if I'm getting pronouns wrong, please feel free to let me know what I should use! :) ) attempting to explain that they're more fluid and less dysphoric than Ky is depicted here to be, and as such would not be as upset by the prospect of wearing a dress while in "boy mode," which is very similar to my experiences with my identity and seems to me as a perfectly valid way to be genderfluid, so I was hurt by the responses that seem to suggest that not feeling as dysphoric as Ky means that one's changing genders are only a "game of dress-up," that not being opposed to wearing a dress while in "boy mode" means that you're, as Drew so eloquently put it, not "actually a guy." At the same time, I know that a lot of people really *do* experience a lot of dysphoria and would feel absolutely miserable in a dress while in "boy mode," and that the phrase "it's a choice!" is very often used to completely dismiss people's very real and personal gender identities and experiences, and has caused a whole heck of a lot of suffering and fighting and heartbreak, so I can see why that wording has the potential to seriously upset a lot of people. To extend your metaphor, when choosing breakfast foods, some people aren't very picky eaters, others have very strong cravings for specific foods, but no one can forcefully change anyone's food preferences, and no one should attempt to force anyone to pick a certain meal regardless of whether or not they could enjoy eating it, and no one should assume that a wide or narrow appetite makes anyone more or less of a breakfast enthusiast. If that makes sense? What do you think? Thank you for your calm reply :)

(Also, to further extend the metaphor, Ky is very passionate about their breakfast cravings, so Drew, kindly leggo their Eggo! :P)
Darkhorse 12th Jul 2017, 6:08 PM edit delete reply
I'm not saying if you don't get dysphoria you're pretending, I'm saying if being gender fluid is pretend for you then don't call yourself gender fluid because it hurts the rest of us. Samantha has said before that they think being non binary is made not born in general and so that plus the generalized statement that "Being nobinary is more like a choice (with a heavy amount of feelings) than it is "I'm sorta a girl and sorta a boy inside a boy/girl's body." is why I responded this way. Here's a link to the page with the comment I'm talking about it's the 17th comment down.
Draca 10th Jul 2017, 9:41 PM edit delete reply
WoW.... Just wow.... Drew you dun screwed up.
Falicity 10th Jul 2017, 11:58 PM edit delete reply
That last panel is cringeworthy
Lex-Kat 11th Jul 2017, 2:24 AM edit delete reply
Ouch, Drew. OUCH!! Sheesh. You've gone past just foot-in-mouth, and straight to foot-down-throat. :'(
RavenSong 11th Jul 2017, 3:39 AM edit delete reply
I'm amazed he didn't knock some of his own teeth out with how quickly he put his foot down his throat
Guest 11th Jul 2017, 7:49 AM edit delete reply
It IS pretty cringeworthy, but I sense (hope?) that this leads into a larger discussion of non-binary identies in general, or at leats more detail into GF identities. Seems like that's the setup up anyway.
Cerberus 11th Jul 2017, 9:03 AM edit delete reply
Ugh, I'm getting less and less fond of Drew. Like, yes, people fuck up sometimes, but he's been fucking up repeatedly on Ky's gender and keeps getting educated and keeps fucking up in the same ways.

Like, at some point, there's just a refusal to learn. And this? This is not just a fuckup. This is a freudian slip that Drew doesn't actually view Ky's gender as legitimate and just views them as a "girl" who can give him mlm feels sometimes.

And at that point, what's worth salvaging about this relationship. If the person who claims to love you doesn't even see or even acknowledge the real you even after you have come out and patiently explained everything, then what's the point in keeping that hurtful person in your life?

And it's been hard watching Ky for awhile, accepting more and more dehumanization in return for this faux love. As if their status as a non-binary person means they must accept misgendering, disrespect, and unintentional cruelty.

Ky deserves someone who loves them as they are, who celebrates their identity, not see it as something to "work through" or that can be tossed aside like garbage and treated as fake. Ky deserves someone who doesn't make them suffer through mistreatment for what appears to be in the end a deeply unsatisfying relationship.

And honestly, it's a little uncomfortable that the trans girl characters get arcs where misgendering is a strong line of "fuck that person", especially in romantic relationships, but the non-binary person is expected to take it repeatedly and "overlook that oopsie".
Cerberus 11th Jul 2017, 9:24 AM edit delete reply
Addendum to add a relevant past strip:

Drew knows this is fucked up. He's already fucked up in exactly this way before and Ky has given him a second chance on exactly this despite their fear he would hurt them again as he now has:

Ky needs to dump him and make it stick this time and get a partner who doesn't make them feel they need to sacrifice their dignity for love.
CJ 11th Jul 2017, 2:49 PM edit delete reply
I agree, Ky definitely deserves better. He is my favorite character and the one I identify with the most (I am genderfluid as well). It makes me sad that Ky doesn't get to have a romantic interest who respects his gender and educates himself on his gender, but instead one who forces Ky to do all the work of educating him and put in all the emotional labor of overlooking and forgiving his frequent slip-ups and intolerant comments.
Me 11th Jul 2017, 10:56 AM edit delete reply
The way you put it, it sounds as if you think it is intentional that the nonbinary person is the only one needing to, as you put it, "overlook that oopsie".

If that is not the case, you may ignore this, otherwise, I feel I have to remind you that this comic is presenting a diversity of different aspects of gender and sexuality in different situations. If it were, say, a trans male who had to endure this, people would complain about that. I'm pretty sure this is not intended as bashing non binary people, but rather as a display of the problems that may arise when people who are not cis are confronted with someone completely oblivious to the circumstances.
I'm not saying Ky didn't have any right to end it here and now, seeing how the pain he's caused them up until now (especially now) is very real, but as others like Rei and DocMesa have put it, Drew doesn't know better and has to learn. If they continue this relationship (which I hope, but for obvious and thoroughly discussed reasons is completely up to Ky at this point), the most important thing is if he WILL learn and act accordingly.
DocMesa 11th Jul 2017, 12:41 PM edit delete reply
Kind of reminds me of Rain's early interactions with Gavin and how he was a jerk. Hell, even Aiken is making slow progress and we all remember how amazingly *he* was screwing up with Rain.
Cerberus 11th Jul 2017, 7:38 PM edit delete reply
Oh shoot, no, that wasn't my intention at all.

I was more thinking it was crappy that Ky was having to deal with it as I know a lot of enbies that have internalized the idea that they have to put up with shitty situations because they feel they can't do better than that in a partner. And treat misgendering and dehumanization as something they need to suffer to educate their partner through to being someone they should have been when they started the relationship.

Like, Ky is definitely representative and I just feel shitty for them and hope for the best in the resolution to this arc.
BlackSocks 11th Jul 2017, 2:53 PM edit delete reply
Grab the lifeboats, because I'm abandoning this ship.
Callisto 11th Jul 2017, 10:01 PM edit delete reply
I am very glad that you posted this page. It is an important page to be posted, and I have suspected that things would go here, with Drew doing this (again) for quite some time. This time, I suspect, Drew will not so much recover from this.

Ky/lie needs to be with someone who will respect their identity. Period. Some patience is okay, to the extent of a warning, for Drew to learn, but at this juncture, he is simply not respecting Ky/lie's identity, in his heart, at all.

As others have said - It is not on Ky/lie to be the educator of Drew in this matter on this any further than their patience allows, and nor is it on any trans person to educate any cis person in any similar situation any more than they wish. Basically, Drew isn't even making an effort, and it is plain - He isn't doing so much as self-correcting with these slip-ups, and that is the bare minimum that one would expect of an ally to the trans community. The bare minimum.

I would not go on a date with someone who is not my ally. I would not call someone who is not my ally my friend. Drew has a lot of improvement that needs to be done before he reaches that level.
Guest 12th Jul 2017, 6:52 AM edit delete reply
Didn't Ky(lie) at some point express being comfortable with both male and female pronouns? Because sometimes she feels feminine and other times he feels masculine. So, it seems you all are being inappropriately careful when you call her "they."
oryuchild 9th Oct 2017, 3:03 PM edit delete reply
Hmm.. well, one of my main worries with Ky(lie) going to prom was that, sometimes, in my case, I'll go to a party in a dress, because I feel feminine, then, at some point, I'll start.. not feeling it, and spend the rest of my time sulking about wearing a dress. I was lowkey having anxiety that Ky(lie) might experience the same thing, as I've found that I'm not the only one with more random fluidity, but.. I do see that we have a few hurdles to jump over before we get to that.. oh boy, this is going to be hard.
BASHparallel 17th Feb 2018, 6:07 PM edit delete reply
Drew... Please.
Guest 30th Apr 2019, 12:01 PM edit delete reply
I wanna see some more violence!
Guest 30th Apr 2019, 12:01 PM edit delete reply
Drew deserves a smack
Sam 14th Oct 2021, 1:32 PM edit delete reply
Oh man. I am wheezing at the last panel. I know there's not going to be any violence, but Drew is really pushing his luck.

Ky brings up a very good point about forcing oneself to present differently than what they're comfortable with. Even if it's one night, it won't be fun for them if s/he needs to present differently than what they're comfortable with.
Waffle 14th Sep 2022, 2:41 PM edit delete reply
Some kind of back brace, maybe, to keep feet and mouth apart?

At this point I'm willing to give Drew a bunch of benefit of the doubt, but he really should put more thought into things before he says them. Particularly to/around people he cares about.
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