Nami Kitsune Hatfield’s article brings to light the ways in which trans representation, discussion, and intra-community debate can occur in niche spaces, including internet communities and anime fandom. Hatfield writes,
“Like the interactive virtual space created by the reading communities of these webcomics, libraries, archive, and information institutions have the power to deeply affect the lives and politics of those around them, including the lives of those within the transgender community”
This discussion of interactivity reflects a lot of what we talked about earlier in class, especially a few days ago in our discussion of the serial publication of webcomics. Webcomics like the ones Hatfield describes are unique in that they are shaped and adjusted in response to audience participation; trans readers and trans authors interact via the internet, build friendships, and create a collaborative piece of art together which reflects the previously marginalized experience and desires of consumers. Something I would have been interested to see is a little more critique of webcomic/internet interactivity. For instance, is there a potential to for unhealthy subcultures to grow within isolated internet communities? Are these spaces liberating for all trans people, or are there aspects of interactive fandom that are incompatible with the library-theory Hatfield creates? On that note, how do we feel about the name ‘Kitsune,’ within the nuanced discussion of race, respect, transgender rights, and identity formation? If comics, anime, and manga are to be incorporated into mainstream academics — as Hatfield’s article suggests — then we must also subject these mediums to the same political critique and intellectual rigor that we apply to any other form of art.
Also, here is one of my favorite Alyssa comics. I like the discussion of sex and intimacy as it relates to physical disabilities, and the open and friendly way that Alyssa communicates her life.