Family Portraits: a collection of stories about queer people in New Zealand
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Family Portraits is a graphic novel that explores a diverse range of queer stories in Aotearoa. I move beyond traditional coming out narratives and explore how age, history, gender, and ethnicity shape our experiences of ourselves. The varying protagonists in each vignette illustrate the diversity of the queer community, and the diverse experiences that we have. The novel attempts to peel back the concept of being ‘queer’ and to examine individuals’ investments and overlaps with the ‘queer community’ and other communities they belong to. Each vignette is told using different graphic storytelling devices, comic styles, and genres. The intention is to provoke a response from the reader and to explore how graphic storytelling devices can be used to add to the story itself. The novel includes my own story as a queer-identified transman. In using my own voice as a narrator I aim to take readers on a journey that interweaves the story of me, a queer transman who was(n’t) a lesbian, with short stories of queer people I have interviewed. I examine the burden of creating queer media, and how the stories of others shape and affirm my own (whether through connections or differences).