A transgender comic artist has developed a cult following on Instagram after she started distilling the complicated emotions and experiences of a person's transition into three-panel comics.
Julie Kaye, from Los Angeles, is the woman behind @upandoutcomic, an Instagram account that has recently become home to a series of comic strips about her own transition.
The strips, which are posted every Thursday, cover both the highs and lows of her personal journey, telling stories of joy when someone tells her she is looking more like her mother, as well as frustration when she looks in the mirror and doesn't see the person she wants to.
Although she only started posting the series to the Instagram account in October, Kaye told Mashable she had been drawing the comics since the start of this year.
🚨PLEASE READ🚨This is part of a serious autobio series I started months back to document my gender transition. I'd only been on hormones for 5 months at this point. ✨June 18th, 2016✨Still only 5 months on hormones and very visibly trans, going out in public could be stressful for me. I'd never felt so Visible in public as I did early on, nobody ever took notice of me when I looked like a cis man. It SHOULD go without saying but if you see someone who looks visibly different in any way, don't stare. (Transitioning is expensive!! If you enjoy my work, you can directly support my transition via the Patreon link in my bio)
"I found making them to be therapeutic," Kaye told Mashable. "It got me to set aside time at the end of my day to reflect on how I was feeling. And because I was making the comics for myself, I allowed myself to be more honest than I might have been otherwise."
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Kaye said she had received many messages of support and appreciation from other transgender people.
"That my story has given them hope for their future, or made them feel better about being themselves — it's really been heartwarming."
🚨PLEASE READ🚨This is part of a serious autobio series I started months back to document my gender transition. I'd only been on hormones for 5 months at this point. ✨June 11th, 2016✨First time for everything. Getting over my fears of being thought of as a man in the lady's room was a very big hurdle. I'm over it.
🚨PLEASE READ🚨This is part of a serious autobio series I started months back to document my gender transition. I'd only been on hormones for 5 months at this point. ✨June 9th, 2016✨My parents making efforts to switch pronouns. It took them time, but they did it. I'm so fortunate to have their support. They mentioned that my living at home, being a constant presence, definitely helped speed up the process. If I was in another state, out of sight, out of mind, it would have taken ages.