Artist and teacher Sophie Labelle started her web comic cataloguing the incredible adventures of ‘Stephie’, an 11-year-old girl who happens to be trans, in August last year.
Most of it is based on Sophie's personal experiences, except she began her transition to female from male when she was slightly older, at 13. All the characters are fictional.
“Comics have been my medium of choice since I was five, I have boxes full of them, but in the recent years, I concentrated more on children’s books and novels,” Sophie tells i100.co.uk.
Since starting the comic, Sophie says she had been targeted by hate groups. But she also receives positive messages from people who tell her how the comic has helped them almost every day.
“I’m touched every time a parent tell me that even though their child do not understand most of it, they are fans of the comic since the main character is like them. I think it shows how a positive trans portrayal is more than necessary,” she says.
As for what she hopes people take away from it? “A positive message on trans bodies. We’re not ‘trapped’ or ‘born in the wrong body’. These are very hurtful messages that we send to children. We need to empower trans children. They need to be told that their identity is valid.”
“Boundaries should be more flexible, and exploring gender expression and gender identity in childhood should be celebrated instead of being shamed.”
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