The Not-So-Bizarro World of Dan & Wayno

From Dan Piraro:

I successfully raised two children to adulthood who, until recently, I called my daughters. But in the past year, one of them has asked that I not refer to her with terms associated with females. She doesn’t feel that words like “her,” “ma’am,” or “daughter” describe her. In fact, she doesn’t think of herself as a woman and does not like to be referred to as “she.” Her pronouns are “they” and “them.”

Was this confusing for me? Sure.

More from Dan anon, but let’s turn our attention to the other cartoonist of Bizarro StudiosWayno.

Wayno shares twice on the weekends. Once with and about the Bizarro panels from the week just ending that is called WaynoBlog. The other is a weekly newsletter not specifically about the Bizarro panel, though he is not adverse to talk about it, and is called News from Wayno.

This week, among old drawings and old friends (sorry Mary Fleener: “longtime friend”) is routine he uses for the daily Bizarro:

In addition to writing and drawing six cartoons a week, part of the job is deciding how to sequence them. I prefer to have more than six on hand, so I can use the best ones, and allow time to do additional work on gags that aren’t as strong.

He then informs us of his completely unscientific, completely personal staging of the week’s comics:

I pick my favorite for Friday, with the next-best gags on Monday and Wednesday. The one I like the least gets slotted for Saturday and the last two fill in Tuesday and Thursday. This is entirely subjective…

Wayno ends this week’s newsletter with a “highly recommended” (we’ll add “our highest recommendation”) link to Dan Piraro’s latest post at Dan’s Naked Cartoonist substack. Which is where this item started.

Still from Wayno:

His latest post is a mostly serious one about one of his children and their openness with him about their gender identity. He discusses the long educational process necessary for people our age…

The Naked Cartoonist is a newsletter for paid subscribers, but Dan kindly agreed to let us read this one for free via his weekly Bizarro Blog.

Now back to Dan:

Full disclosure, the offspring in question—whom I’ll call “K” to simplify things a bit—isn’t actually too particular about pronouns and doesn’t mind being referred to as “she, they, or he.” But other queer folk identify with the all-inclusive “they,” and for newbies like me, this can be among the most confusing aspects of the gender identity movement, so I included it in this discussion.

Like it or not, the truth is there has always been a significant percentage of people who do not relate to the gender roles that society, government, and religions expect and sometimes demand. There are a few such people among virtually everyone’s families, friends, and colleagues, and if we’re unaware of them, it is only because they haven’t felt safe telling us. Let that sink in.

K doesn’t see herself as binary. By that, she means that she does not see herself as exclusively female or male, but both. It isn’t one of those “born in the wrong body” situations, it’s a case of not feeling that societal prescriptions and expectations of women fit her.

Dan writes from a loving point of view and as one from another generation who, like many of us, was not raised with any amount of awareness about these matters (“I did not know homosexuality existed until I was a junior in high school in 1974.” – from Dan’s post script).

I’ll admit I’ve experienced some confusion and frustration over what it is that queer folk are asking for and why. Maybe you have, too. I’m happy to report that my kid helped me see through that fog.

Maybe Dan’s essay can help those of us who, like him, didn’t learn of “alternative lifestyles” until adulthood.

6 thoughts on “The Not-So-Bizarro World of Dan & Wayno

  1. I have no problem with how people choose to identify themselves. I do wish that we could develop gender neutral pronouns. The use of “they” and “them” when referring to an individual is confusing and feels odd when speaking. With all the new words that have been created relating to technology in the last few decades, surely society is capable of creating a few new pronouns.

    1. My Filipino wife frequently mixes up “he” and “she”. The Tagalog word “sya” means “he/she”; there are nos separate words. Sometimes when she tells a story involving multiple people, it can get confusing. “Whey you said “she” did you really mean your niece or did you mean her husband. Sometimes I just shut up and try to figure it out later when there is nobody around.

      1. “Sometimes I just shut up and try to figure it out later when there is nobody around.”

        (suggestion: never insult thy self (or any other (separate) self))

    2. I know a young trans kid who tried “ze” (and the variations thereof) for awhile but decided she was established as a girl and now uses feminine pronouns. I also wish fluid folks would find their own pronouns, because “they/them” only works in constructions where the number of people is indistinct: “Everyone is entitled to their own pronouns.”

      But it’s their deal to work out. As a writer, I often have to find ways around constructions that are confusing. That’s only one example.

  2. Readers should stop being bigoted and learn english.

    Examples of the singular “they” being used to describe someone features as early as 1386 in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and also in famous literary works like Shakespeare’s Hamlet in 1599.

    “They” and “them” were still being used by literary authors to describe people in the 17th Century too – including by Jane Austin in her 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice.

    It was from the 18th century onwards that people started using male pronouns when describing someone of a non-specific gender.

    The usage to describe non binary people may be new, but the usage is definitely not.

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