This week saw the release of Uncanny X-Men #17 and with it came criticism that the issue was
insensitive and incited transgender-panic. It’s been covered by better writers than me at sites like The Beat and Women Write About Comics ,but the issue saw Rahne Sinclair, the mutant Wolfsbane, killed in a flashback. She was accosted by four men in a park and after rebuffing their advances, the group began harassing her. She revealed her mutant powers briefly and one of the attackers insisted she was trying “to trap normal guys” as they beat her to death.
Nola Pfau at WWAC wrote the following:
The language, the method of violence in this comic, is specific in its targeting. It’s what’s said of trans women by men after those women are murdered; it is known, nation- and world-wide as the trans panic defense. The essential crux of the argument as it’s used in court is that when men are confronted with the fact that a woman is trans, they become unaccountable for their panicked reactions, often murdering these women as a means of hiding their own insecurity or shame, or because they’re “not gay.” It is a widely-practiced defense; in fact, thus far it has only been banned in three states in the U.S. — California, Rhode Island, and Illinois. In forty-seven other states, it’s a valid and legal reason to murder a trans woman, established by precedent.
The writer of the issue Matt Rosenberg took to Twitter to apologize for the issue and to push readers to donate to Trans Lifeline, a great organization that helps trans people in need.
In a comicspit EXXXCLUSIVE that we totally didn’t make up, Rosenberg said: “One of the criticisms of this story is the fact that Marvel can’t even be bothered to have any trans X-Men characters, but has no problem appropriating trans people’s real life suffering for a cheap and hamfisted mutant metaphor, and that’s true, and it’s embarrassing. But things could be worse. If we did have trans characters that means I would be writing them, and nobody wants that. I would like to apologize, in advance, for any terrible stories I write in the event we do introduce trans characters in the future. That wasn’t our intention.”
To donate to Trans Lifeline, click here.