The media I loved never loved me back
Writer and activist Lois Shearing shares her personal story behind hashtag campaign #DoBetterBiUs
As a child, I was sent home with a note telling my parents that The Beano was not appropriate for class reading hour and could I please be sent with something more substantial tomorrow. Such was my love for The Beano that I had boxes and boxes full stuffed under my bed, ranging back to the 70s. But as I attempted to declutter them recently (they were still taking up valuable storage at my parents’ house), I came to a sad realisation: they were queerphobic AF.
The main storylines always revolved around Dennis, a tough boy’s-boy, bullying his schoolmates for being too feminine. In earlier copies the terms “sissy” and “pansy”, easily recognisable trans/homophobic slurs, were used liberally against Walter and his crew for crimes such as playing doctors, being clean and enjoying cakes. Many of the earlier comics were also deeply misogynistic and racist, and frequently featured caricatures of Asian stereotypes for cheap laughs.
I’m not sure why I was surprised comics from the 80s and 90s were like this, but it still stung. I spent my childhood as a young bi girl pouring over these comics, running down to the shops every Thursday with £1, and right under my nose, they were treating my bi, gay and trans siblings as punchlines.
Read the rest of this article in the May issue of DIVA, available to buy in print or digitally here.
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