TV and comic book writer Grant Morrison, co-creator of The Invisibles, St Swithin's Day, We3 and Happy, author of Arkham Asylum, Batman And Robin and All-Star Superman, current writer on the Green Lantern comic and SyFy TV show Brave New World was interviewed by Mondo2000 regarding the recent TV world and – well, the answers to life the universe and everything. Including how language, perceptions and possibilities are changing.
During which, Grant stated "As a for instance, when I was a kid there were no words to describe certain aspects of my own experience. I've been non-binary, cross-dressing, 'gender queer' since I was 10 years old, but the available terms for what I was doing and how I felt were few and far between. We had 'transsexual' and 'transvestite' both of which sounded like DSM classifications rather than lifestyle choices! I didn't want to be labelled as medical aberration because that's not how it felt, nor was it something cut-and-dried and done. I didn't want to 'transition' or embody my 'female' side exclusively, so I had no idea where I fit in."
"Terms like 'genderqueer' and 'non-binary' only came into vogue in the mid-90s. So kids like me had very limited ways of describing our attraction to drag and sexual ambiguity. Nowadays there's this whole new vocabulary, allowing kids to figure out exactly where they sit on the 'color wheel' of gender and sexuality, so I think it's OK to lose a few contentious words when you are creating new ones that offer a more finely-grained approach to experience."
Grant also sees the importance of gender perceptions and preconceptions when choosing what stories to tell.
"In the Wonder Woman book I'm doing, for instance, I've actively avoided writing the boy hero story that's so ubiquitous as to seem inescapable — the familiar story of the One, the champion, the Joseph Campbell monomyth thing that drives so many Hollywood movies and YA stories. We've seen it. The Lion King. The callow youth loses mom or dad, or his comfortable place in the tribe, and he has to fight his way back to save the kingdom from its corrupt old leader, before claiming the captive princess and becoming the new king and… ad infinitum. The Circle of Life if it only applied to boys. I thought, where is the mythic heroine's story? In Ishtar Rising, Wilson talks about the myth of Inanna, and how she goes down into Hell and has to give up everything of herself to gain the wisdom and experience she can bring back to her tribe. Privileging the network rather than the sovereign individual."
"And so, as I thought about the differences between the hero's and the heroine's journey, it gave me a bunch of different modes to work in. Finding ways to avoid telling the boy hero story again was quite liberating. It just gave me a bunch of new ideas, an interesting new way of telling stories that didn't rely on the framework of the hero's journey that Campbell talks about."
You can read more, much more, at the link. Grant Morrison has created a number of gender-queer characters for DC Comics, at a time when that sort of thing was just not done, including Danny The Street for Doom Patrol, Ystin for Seven Soldiers and Lord Fanny for The Invisibles, all published by DC Comics.