(And Other Recommendations)
There’s no better way to celebrate pride than to support LGBTQ+ individuals. This pride I’m choosing to celebrate by supporting LGBTQ+ authors and artists by buying, reading, and sharing some of their graphic novels.
I’ve owned a few of these graphic novels for a while now, including the popular Heartstopper series that I did a podcast on here, but the main one I’ll be focusing on today came out this month.
I’ll also post some other recommendations at the bottom of this article.
Several months ago I was scrolling on Instagram when I saw a funny short video made by a man named Lewis Hancox. I saw this same video once before in a Ty Turner reaction video, so I got curious and started looking through his page. That’s when I saw that he had a graphic novel coming out soon called “Welcome To St. Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure”.
After seeing some of his promo material about the story I decided to pre-order the graphic novel. Not realizing at the time that it was going to be released during pride month. I was just excited to read it because the art looked awesome and the story piqued my interest. That started my several month wait for the graphic novel’s release.
My excitement grew so much over those months that the day it came in the mail, Jun 7, 2022, I started and finished it. Despite being really sick during this time (I’m sick even as I write this review).
I loved it so much. It’s the perfect read for pride month.
The novel is an autobiography of sorts that recounts Lewis’s transition (during his teen to young adult years). It follows his story from his first feelings of dysphoria all the way to his first testosterone shot. The story is very honest, open, funny, and introspective.
My favorite thing about this graphic novel are the pages that address the feelings he, his mother, his father, and his friends have looking back at his transition from their current perspective. He interviewed them for this part of the novel.
It shows them reflecting on how they felt in the past and helped them, and him, understand why things went the way they did. I think these pages will be incredibly useful for anyone going through a situation similar to Lewis’s.
There are some people who do not understand what it’s like to be trans, or have someone in their life be trans, and these pages are very honest about how difficult and confusing that process may be. They can also give people hope since we see that people can sometimes come around even if they aren’t initially understanding.
The other neat thing about this story is that Lewis tells a lot of it from his younger selves’ points of view. He uses his birth name, explains his dysphoria, and talks about other issues he had going on at the time. He even deep dives into the struggles of not realizing he was trans initially, how difficult dating felt, and what it was like battling an eating disorder that was related to his dysphoria.
We see him somewhat confused about his identity, learn that he likes girls, and then coming out as gay (even though it didn’t feel entirely right to him). Then we see how that turns into him realizing that he is actually trans and that he is ready to do what it takes to live his life as his true self.
Once we see him come out, and see the reaction of his friends and family, we also get to see how much work he went through to get on testosterone. He shares how hard it was to get an appointment, how many months he had to wait before he got to the gender clinic, how negatively some doctors treated him, and how he was made to live as a man for a year before being considered for physical treatment.
This graphic novel was an amazing read. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s honesty is refreshing and it’s really amazing to see this level of trans representation from a trans man himself. It’s 295 pages are full of amazing graphics, heart hitting dialogue, and thoughtful pieces of introspection. I recommend it to anyone who likes great graphic novels or great pride stories.
You can find it on his linktree here.
If you’re looking for other graphic novels to read to this pride I also recommend:
- Heartstopper – You’ve probably heard about this one by now, but I can’t make graphic novel recommendations without mentioning it. I read this series back in 2020 and I was super excited when I heard about the Netflix deal Alice Oseman got. It’s the story of two highschool boys who fall in love and go on a journey of exploring sexuality, coming out, and what it’s like for their friends and them to be LGBTQ+.
- A Quick & Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns – This is exactly what it sounds like. And it’s a great read.
- Bloom – This is another cute gay story that takes place post high-school. Mainly in the family bakery. Another great tale of someone wanting to break out their small town, but it’s gay.
- On A Sunbeam – This is a wlw romance story that takes place in outer space. Something about crimes and working on a space station with gay love in the mix. What more could you want?
I hope you enjoy your pride month! Happy reading.