FINE: a comic about gender is a 390 page graphic novel about gender in the Midwest United States. The book resists the urge to oversimplify, and you will find no handy charts or graphs to summarize a person’s experience of gender. Instead, FINE explores gender from the specific perspectives of 56 different people throughout the Midwest.

FINE is an offer of conversation: a chance to see the world from another’s perspective. The answers within the book contradict and compliment each other, inviting the reader to approach the people in their community with compassion, curiosity, and trust.

In 2012, graphic novelist Rhea Ewing became consumed by the question: What is gender? Determined to find an answer, Ewing started talking with anyone who was willing to share their experiences with gender. As the project grew, it became clear that a person’s experience with gender varied depending on their culture, race, class, assigned sex, and ability.

Misogyny, racism, and ableism all played a role in many people’s experience of gender. However, so did personal feelings, community, and the loving support of friends and family.

56 people from Ohio to Minnesota were interviewed.  The interviews took place between 2012 and 2016, and the people interviewed include transgender people and cisgender people… and folks who didn’t identify with either term.

The book is a snapshot in time. Between the start and finish of the project, many interviewees changed the way they would describe their experiences. People came out as trans, adopted new language, or took new steps in their physical transitions. The language in the trans community changed during that time as well; new words were popularized as some phrases fell out of favor in different regions. FINE celebrates the incredible variety and diversity of terms and experiences within the trans community.

Those outside of the trans community offered valuable insights into the construct of gender as well. Many people expressed that they were much happier after reflecting upon the expectations society placed on their assigned gender and finding their own meaning instead.

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