I’ve been trying to find a way to discuss 2017 here on Okazu without writing a purely political post. Every single time I have attempted to do so, I’ve ended up deleting it. In some cases because I have become too angry at the things I feel have to write. Sometimes I’ve self-censored to not offend people who tune in here for news about comics and manga.
But today I was reminded by Notes From The Resistance that language is – and always has been – a weapon. And likewise, comics have always been political acts, acts of rebellion and protest and defiance and propaganda. And LGBTQ comics have, likewise, always been the voice of people largely silenced by mainstream media.
I’ve made a few promises to myself in the last month. I’ve committed to working only on and with genuinely diverse books and publishers. I’ve committed to listening to and speaking with voices I haven’t formerly opened up to.
I re-read this post on defending democracy about twice a week and hope you will too. Unfortunately for all of us, the checks and balances we presumed we had in the government are gone and a liberal democracy has no real defense against that.
So what does this have to do with Yuri manga? I’ll be doing a talk – my first of several – in January 2017, on the way fans pushed for and created spaces for LGBTQ stories in manga. When I return home I am joining a march to protest the inauguration of a patsy for a foreign government as President of the United States, a man who has hand-picked a Cabinet that will dismantle the last 150 years of American progress…and I encourage you to protest, as well. There are marches all over the US being planned. If you care at all about anyone who is a non-white, non-Christian, non-male, you will make your voice heard that this is not acceptable.
Despite the pressure by straight men to keep Yuri manga in a space of fetishized infantilism, Yuri manga is and always has been, stories of women in love with other women. Yuri manga is lesbian. Yuri manga is our story. I commit to continuing to speak for and about women who love other women, to demand Yuri from creators and publishers that represent the stories of women who love other women.
My primary goal for 2017 on Okazu is getting to the point where we can pay our guest writers and get their voices out there and heard by as many people as possible. Your subscriptions on our Patreon will help achieve this goal!
I commit to keeping Okazu radical and outspoken and for those of us who care that women who love women deserve a place for ourselves at the table of social and political discourse and representation in entertainment on our own terms.
And I think it’s only fair to warn you, my dear readers, that I’m not planning on stopping using words and pictures to speak up against the wall of injustice I can see being built already.
A lot of you have been with me for years and I appreciate that more than I can ever express. I hope you’ll stay with me in the year to come. I think it’s going to get harder before it gets better, so keeping Okazu and the Yuri community here for all of us is important to me.
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Art is resistance. Tell your stories, draw your stories, sing your stories and support artists who tell those stories for you.
Come here to Okazu to share your stories and tell other people where to find those stories, too. We all need them. Making sure our stories get out is an act of resistance we can all share. Make 2017 the year you back diverse causes, creatives and creations in your entertainment, consumer and business behaviors.
Happy New Year to all to all of you. Here’s to great art in 2017