Since I missed out on making the banner, I had to at least put together something visual for this thread. *heh*
For anybody who is transgender, and especially for anybody who would like to better understand how it might feel to be transgender, I cannot recommend enough Hourou Musuko
(lit. Wandering Son
). Japanese manga has a long-running history of transgender characters, gender-bending characters, or "trap" characters, but typically they are depicted in ways that never really take the character not the issue seriously.
is different. The story is about two young children - Shuuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki - both of whom are struggling to come to terms with the feelings that exist inside of them. Nitori, a boy, is finds himself drawn toward the life (and especially clothing) of his many female friends, while Takatsuki rebels against the pressures she feels around her to be more feminine. So far, throughout its ten chapters, the story has done a really good job of portraying the struggles, hopes, fears, and other such feelings that people who are transgender feel, though it does so while still trying to be entertaining and never getting so heavy that the reader gets overwhelmed by the inherent drama of the situations the main characters are put into.
While Hourou Musuko
creator, Takako Shimura, is not transgender herself, she has done a number of LGBT-related manga titles. What I've found amazing while reading through Hourou
is just how much I can relate to Nitori in many of the things he goes through throughout the story. While he's a courageous and upbeat character, there are little moments in the various chapters where some small sign of the struggle he's going through come out, and those moments are absolutely heartbreaking
Even if you're typically not one for Japanese manga (and/or comics in general), Hourou Musuko
is seriously a really worth-while read. As I said, if you're not transgender, but are curious to know more about what such people are going through, I've been really impressed by how much you can learn from this comic.
There are currently ten chapters of the story completely, but unfortunately not only is there no official English-language release of the series on sale either here in North American, or anywhere else from what I know, an English-language release is probably unlikely. However, thanks to the hard work of fan translators, you can read all ten of the current chapters online. I'm hesitant to directly post a link to where the comic can be read in English online, since the best source for it unfortunately doesn't have a policy of taking down any titles that are licensed in the West, but doing a big of Google searching can get you in the right direction in a matter of seconds.