Updated on 16 October, 2021
Assigned Male has been a webcomic written and illustrated by Sophie Labelle, an out trans woman. It draws on her own experiences as a woman and trans woman. The comic, and ongoing series of comics, deal with issues of cultural privilege and cultural norms. It was started in October 2014 and currently is running, first in English and later in French.
The comic strip takes place in and around Toronto, Canada, a city populated with a large gay community. There are many comic shops in the area. It is the only comic strip depicting a lesbian relationship, or at least the two women involved, in such a conservative region. It is a challenge for some in the conservative community to accept that a woman can be a lesbian. Other than one or two examples in the comic it is entirely possible for a woman to be a lesbian while living in a conservative region of the world.
The Toronto comic strip is not simply a work of fiction for Sophie Labelle. She has been featured in the media including the Oprah Winfrey show and CNN. As a result this comic strip has become well known among a younger audience as well as among the larger lesbian community. It has even gone on to become a movie. Although it was intended for the target audience, it has since broadened to include both straight and lesbian characters and subject matter.
Labelle's comic has received critical acclaim from many quarters. Many who have seen the strip say it is one of the best they have ever seen. Many comic book readers have also been impressed with the depth and robust plot line which makes the strip very enjoyable to read. It is also worth noting that despite the subject matter of the comic the writer does not present it in a way that is offensive in any way. This makes the strip very appealing to an audience that may be either very liberal in outlook or very conservative.
Just as there are many different types of people with female and male pronouns, the same can be said of the characters in the strip. Two of the more popular characters are Ross and Jake. Jake is described as being "practical and logical" while Ross is described as being "ambitious, direct and arrogant". They manage to get along quite well despite the fact that Jake frequently uses male pronouns when talking to his friends and colleagues.
Jake always uses male pronouns when speaking about women. This is most apparent in the first few strips where he is simply calling out girls he is interested in. In the strip however he will switch to using female pronouns, but only for a short period of time. It is clear from the conversation that he would prefer to be called by a female name. This may be a result of pressure from his social circle to be one, or because he is just one of those guys.
Ross isn't much different. He is constantly using male pronouns when he is speaking to his peers or other adults. He also has a fondness for feminine products and tends to say things like "honey, I just found what I'm looking for" and "you're so pretty, honey". These comments are obviously meant to be flirting phrases rather than words of affection. Still, they do make him seem a bit boyish and are clearly meant to arouse the interest of the reader.
One of the things that stand out the most about Ross and Jake is how comfortable they are with each other despite being from two different worlds. They have great friends in common and maintain good relationships with all of their acquaintances in the comic strip. Their love for each other seems genuine, even if it is sometimes difficult for Ross to articulate it. The same can be said for Jake, who is clearly in love with Ross. They are two peas of the same pod.