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Best of Tumblr: 8 Smashing Art Pieces Which Break Down The Male-Female Binary

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The conversation about gender and sexuality on Tumblr takes various forms, and art is one such powerful medium. For its LGBT users—especially people who are trans and gender nonconforming—the website becomes an important platform for expression, because more often than not, they  find their voices either silenced or underrepresented in mainstream visual culture. Following is a collection of tumblr artwork about transgender issues that are groundbreaking to say the least:

Trans 102 by thenonbinarylife

Zeke is a nonbinary graphic artist who has been documenting his experiences as a nonbinary teen through comics such as these. They have drawn comics about pertinent issues such as coming out, the use of correct pronouns, misgendering, bullying and so on. This particular comic is an interactive breakdown of the gender spectrum, and tells us what it really means when a person identifies as trans and nonbinary.

Agender by unsquandered-talent

Unsquandered-talent is an anonymous tumblr graphic artist who identifies as neutrosis and agender (someone who does not identify with any gender), and deals with agender and nonbinary identities in a large way through their artwork. This piece addresses the various debilitating questions and comments that they experience on a daily basis after telling people that they identify as agender. These kind of insensitive reactions are way too common for any gender nonconforming person, and hence, this piece has a harrowing universal appeal.

How You Look Or Dress Doesn’t Define Your Gender by eliasericson

Elias Ericson is yet another one of those graphic artists and illustrators who shot to fame through Tumblr. He is based in Sweden, and has even been featured in major art curations and exhibitions! His work explores queer and gender nonconforming identities in a major way (in fact, his first Tumblr art blog was called ‘superqueerartsyblog’), and this piece is yet another one of his brilliant comics on challenging gender binaries, and accepting that gender identities are vast, vivid and various.

Patterns from the ‘Stories I need to tell’ series by uncommongirlhood

Uncommon Girlhood’s series of comics titled, “Stories I Need to Tell” is perhaps one of the best comics about transgender identities out there. The series covers a wide range of trans issues—from exploring pronouns, gender expression, the painful processes of transitioning, societal backlash and so on. This particular comic follows the story of a young DMAB (Designated Male at Birth) child who finds gender expression through sewing the dresses and outfits they really want to wear, and how their grandmother encourages and supports their identity. It’s both emotional and life-affirming, and makes us all wish that we had a grandparent like this!

None of Your Business by tooquirkytolose

Though ER mostly dabbles with fanart, this is one piece that really stands out among her body of work. This comic is about the obsession the cis gaze has with transgender and gender nonconforming people’s genitals, and how this question—‘what’s between your legs?’—is so commonly asked. This fetishizing of trans people’s genitals really needs to be called out, and that is exactly what this comic does.

Pronouns Plus Work by bikesbabesandbooze

Minneapolis-based artist Anna Bongiovanni describes themselves as “cartoonist and sometimes nice person”. They started out with comics that deal with gender and sexuality on tumblr, and due to their popularity, has now moved on to illustrate for websites like EverydayFeminism and Autostraddle! This comic talks about the sensitive issue of pronouns, and how for a cis person, declaring their preferred pronouns might be a futile exercise, but is extremely important for someone who is gender nonconforming or trans.

Genderqueer Steve and Bucky by demenior

Fanart can be an excellent means of subversion and for challenging the inherent heteronormativity of mainstream media. ‘Slash Pairings’, where fans imagine two canonically cisgendered and heterosexual characters with romantic potential as being in a queer relationship, is extremely common on Tumblr. Fans draw artwork and write stories (known as fanfiction) surrounding these slash pairings, and the characters of Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes from the Captain America comicbooks and movies is a common such pairing who have a lot of fanart about them. This piece of fanart imagines Steve and Bucky as a genderqueer homosexual couple, which not only challenges the cisnormativity of the original comics, but also works wonders for queer representation! Infact, reimagining popular characters as trans and gender nonconforming is seen commonly on tumblr—something that’s absolutely revolutionary about this website!

I Will Get Over It by copper-rose

Tyler, a transmale teen from Vancouver, is currently going through the long and arduous process of transitioning, and has been documenting the same through his comics. And not just his transition, he also talks about various other struggles he faces as a trans boy—prejudice, body image, dysphoria and so on. This comic deals with the various times he feels dysphoric in his body, but he refuses to loose optimism, because his caption for the comic is ‘I will get over it’. We support you, Tyler-you will definitely get over it!

This is the second part in our ‘Best of Tumblr’ series, where we curate our favourite artwork on gender, sex and sexuality from the website. Read the first part here.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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