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When I was younger, I hated romance. I recoiled from watching Disney movies that had romance, shunned romance novels on my mom’s shelf, and was gagged at the thought of kissing a boy someday. Chocolate and flashy cards defined Valentine’s Day for me. Going through middle school and then high school, I realized how different I was from my classmates. At that time, I was afraid to find out what romance really meant to me. This special webcomics features LGBTQIA+ comics about the different types of love outside of the cishet narrative.
Until my late teens/early twenties, I viewed romance through a cisnormative lens. Stories about asexual/aromantic people, non-binary and gender diverse people, polyamory, queerplatonic relationships (intimate friendships), and non-heteronormative relationships were rare for me. Even when I discovered Valentine’s Day cards for gay and lesbian couples, it was still cisnormative.
Fast forward to today, and I’m currently in a romantic relationship with a trans woman. I recently came out as non-binary transmasculine. I’m still exploring my sexuality. Today I want to celebrate love and relationships that are worth noticing. Your love is valid regardless of your sexuality or who you love. People who do not feel sexual or romantic attraction are valid. People in a queerplatonic relationship are valid. Polyamorous relationships are valid.
Below are ten comics that explore other forms of romance and love, trans relationships, polyamory, queer platonic relationships, the aro/ace spectrum, and other non-cishet narratives.
Sabine: An Asexual Coming of Age Story by MermaidMap
Sabine navigates relationships and questions her sexual orientation while at college. She learns of her asexuality by interacting with her friends and potential partners. I enjoy reading about Sabine’s personal journey and how she learns from her mistakes.
Snug Orbit by Emrys Seren
This heartwarming and beautiful autobiographical webcomic features a queerplatonic polyamorous relationship. Some episodes deal with the aro/ace (aromantic and asexual) spectrum and healthy relationships.
Serious Trans Vibes by Sophie Labelle
This long-running webcomic (since 2014) dismantles misconceptions about transgender people. Labelle covers topics on dating, sex education, transphobia, and gender identity. I love following her characters Stephie (trans girl) and Ciel (non-binary) as they explore their gender identity, relationships, and life in general.
Bi-Assed by The Purple Alien
Being biracial and bisexual isn’t as “trendy” as some people think. The designer shows it in her webcomic Bi-Assed. The episodes include microaggressions and misconceptions about biracial and bisexual people, demonstrating ignorance and fetishization, and the stigmatization of people who don’t fit into one box (and shouldn’t).
Jayden’s Afro Chronicles
An autobiographical slice-of-life webcomic on the creator’s (black trans male) journey of self-discovery and transition. Each episode details Jayden’s experiences at school and with friends and family. Also discover the creator’s other comics.
Confessions of a Demisexual by Courtney Wirthit
Some people don’t experience sexual and/or romantic attraction until they form an emotional bond with their partner(s), and that’s okay. Wirthit describes it as part of the middle or gray zone of queer and asexual (also called the Grey-A spectrum). This memoir comic elaborates on the joys and challenges of being demisexual.
Visibility has its rewards: six cartoonists on gender and transition by The Response (various cartoonists)
The cartoonists of The Response have come together to create this collection of comics about being trans and non-binary. Creators share their stories of transitioning, coming out, gender identity and self-discovery.
Nothing Wrong With Me: My Journey from Evangelical Christian to Asexual Trans Man by Dylan Edwards
Edwards shares her story of discovering and coming to terms with her gender identity and sexuality. Raised as an evangelical Christian, Edwards initially confused his disinterest in sex with a strong belief in virginity and moral purity. He looks back at when he started to distance himself from his religion and tried to understand his gender and sexual identity.
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin and Jenn St-Onge
I first read it in 2018 and it has stuck with me ever since. The story follows two black women who reunite later in life after queerphobia separated them during their teenage years. Read Farid-ul-Haq’s review of this beautiful comic here.
Stupidly Beautiful by Local Lil Kiddo (18+)
Accompanying the creator’s novel series, the webcomic explores sexuality and gender roles in a polyamory relationship. The characters (in middle school) and their sexual exploration feel real, and some of the episodes are poetic and emotionally resonant.
Do you have a favorite non-cishet comic that isn’t listed here? Do not hesitate to comment. I would love to hear from you!
For more great webcomic recommendations, check out our Wednesday Webcomics Archive!
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in Creative Writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) with Mason Jar Press.
Location: DC metro area
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