Pop-Culture | Posted by Bryan Pierce on 05/6/2016

Why I Created A Gay, Male Superhero

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Indigo Dax

As a gay man, I know how much I owe women for the equal opportunities I have, and do, enjoy. When I was bullied by other boys schools, I always found female friends to nurture and care for me. I came out to women even when I was still afraid to admit my identity out loud to myself. Women have made the difference in our last Democratic presidential victory, and are therefore a major reason we’ve seen advancements for the LGBT community in this nation. Mainstream culture still undeniably belittles and even rejects any behavior that can be considered feminine — an experience gay men and women alike understand.

Growing up, I was constantly looking for my place in the world. I couldn’t wait to leave behind my toxic family situation, the people in my town who bullied and harassed me, and the anxiety and fear that had consumed my life since the age of five because of these experiences. I thought that especially if I moved to the “gay” part of town in a big city, I would find peace and safety. Unfortunately, that’s hardly what I found when I moved.

The gay male community is a wounded, often jaded community. We’ve grown up with the expectation that we’ll inevitably be disappointed and must take what we can get from any given situation before the other shoe drops. Moving to the big city didn’t get rid of my fear and anxiety, but only made it worse: I found a shallow, “mean girl” environment in a community I expected to be a safe haven. I think a lot of gay men tolerate these “mean girl” environments in the hope that they’ll eventually find their true love and then they can move away to the suburbs and finally have the happy family they’ve yearned for their entire life. For a long time, I did just that: I endured and looked for a white knight to save me.

But one day I realized that no one was coming for me. I started to ask myself how I could instead contribute to creating the community I originally hoped I’d find. I’m just one gay man in a sea of millions, but I want to create a better, safer gay community. The first step in that process, it seemed to me, would require embracing, affirming, and recommitting my connections with women in my life.

One way I’ve done this is by recognizing the commonalities gay men and women face when it comes to discrimination in the workplace. Women make only 79% of what men do and I have also faced redacted salary offers and was often shocked to find that straight men in my department were offered higher salaries for the same job. Many women have spoken out about facing sexual harassment in the workplace and I was certainly bullied and harassed as well: I was called a “bitchy faggot” after I spoke up during a meeting, for example, and told I wasn’t being a “team player” when I talked to my boss about it.

While I hadn’t previously considered my own experiences in relation to my female co-workers’ experiences, I began to realize that our discrimination shared a root cause: We didn’t fit into a boys club. Corporate America tends to reject and even discriminate against any employees who present themselves as feminine in any form.

This realization played a part in my recent decision to quit my job and devote myself to writing a graphic novel. The novel, entitled “Indigo Dax,” is a scifi/fantasy story that — unlike the vast majority of works in the genre — features a gay male lead. I took a chance on this idea in order to embrace my feminine, compassionate side and to create a new narrative. My story attempts to name what’s wrong in the world and show a better way forward.

I look forward to the day when such a novel is not an anomaly, when being gay is just a normal experience. I hope the day comes when men, both gay and straight, can embrace their feminine side and recognize that men and women are fully equal. Until that day comes, though, we have to imagine that world, fight for it, and take steps in our own lives to make that a reality.

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