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Transphobic Comic In Toronto Star Prompts Backlash From LGBTQ Advocates

Many people called the comic out for perpetuating harmful stereotypes about trans people.
The Toronto Star's Vaughan printing plant is pictured on Jan. 15, 2016.
The Toronto Star's Vaughan printing plant is pictured on Jan. 15, 2016.

The Toronto Star is facing backlash after publishing a comic strip featuring a transphobic joke and imagery in the national paper this week.

The Toronto chapter of PFlag, an outreach and support group for the LGBTQ+ community, drew attention to the comics on Twitter and called on the Star to apologize.

“The comic perpetuates stereotypes and discriminatory thoughts towards trans folks by depicting them as individuals who are deceptive, who hide in plain sight, all of which couldn’t be further from the truth,” PFlag York Region president Tris Coolman said in a statement condemning the comic.

The comic is part of the syndicated comic strip “Pardon My Planet” by Vic Lee and syndicated by King Features Syndicate.

According to TorStar’s syndication service, “deftly balancing the tightrope of political correctness, Pardon My Planet gives us a rubbernecker’s eye-view into the boarded up attic of the human psyche.” The strip currently appears in over 130 newspapers around the world.

On Twitter, users were quick to call out the comic’s mobilization of dangerous stereotypes about transgender women.

Non-profit Pride AM, which advocates for better representation of LGBTQ+ people in media and advertising also condemned the comic.

“As a society, we have moved well past this sort of sophomoric humour. It is surprising that the Toronto Star is not aware that “dudes-in-dresses” jokes are not only hurtful but also dangerous,” Pride AM vice-president Chris Bergeron said in a statement.

In a reply to Toronto PFlag’s tweet, the paper confirmed that public editor Bruce Campion-Smith’s office was looking into the matter.

The Star’s communications department did not return HuffPost Canada’s request for comment.

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