The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund will be offering a webinar on the challenges facing LGBTQ+ comics content on June 12, 2019, as part of Pride Month. As is the case when celebrating other communities during designated months, webinars and talks on the ongoing struggles for representation are at the ready to address the next steps to be taken to elicit genuine change. CBLDF looks to contribute by taking a deep look at the hurdles LGBTQ+ comics still contend with to remain visible.
The webinar, titled Take PRIDE in Comics: The Challenges Facing LGBTQ+ Content, will be led by a panel of librarians, creators, and retailers that will discuss why LGBTQ+ characters are so often the target of censors relying on public decency and moral arguments to keep them out of the hands of the general public, with libraries being among the more active battlefields.
This kind of practice finds a resounding echo in Fredric Wertham’s infamous book The Seduction of the Innocent (1954), which argued that comics were corrupting the minds of children and shaping them to become delinquents and even sexual deviants. Such censorship might even suggest Wertham’s work is still haunting comics as censors continuously resort to ideas explicitly portrayed in his book, whether consciously or unconsciously.
According to the CBLDF website, the panel will count with the participation of Cartoonist Paige Braddock, the Eisner-nominated creator of Jane’s World; historian, educator, and creator Justin Hall, the editor of award-winning anthology No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics; librarian and activist Valerie Acklin, a member of the American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT); and retailer Katie Proctor, the owner of Portland, Oregon’s inclusive comic book store, Books With Pictures.
The conversation will center on the history of censorship of LGBTQ+ comics, why LGBTQ+ comics are and should be included in library or classroom collections, and what we can do to defend LGBTQ+ content from censors. Practical information and defense techniques will be offered to those who participate in the webinar in addition to receiving exclusive digital material designed to support LGBTQ+ comics in libraries and classrooms.
Ricardo Serrano is a Social Studies teacher with a Master’s Degree in Comic Books from the University of Dundee in Scotland. He’s also the co-creator of Se Habla Comics, a Puerto Rican podcast geared towards Spanish-speaking comic book readers.