NBJC And Cartoon Network Launch Gender Identity Comic

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) has proudly revealed its latest project after partnering with Cartoon Network to release a comic strip that is the first of its kind to highlight the inclusivity of gender identity and gender pronouns. 

Designed by the members of NBJC Youth, Young Adult Action Council, creatives from Cartoon Network Studios, and leadership from NBJC’s director of education programs and research, Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond, the gender identity comic launched on Monday (Dec. 14) and features characters from some of Cartoon Network’s most popular shows. You’ll see Stevonnie from Steven Universe and Craig from Craig of the Creek discussing the use of the proper pronouns for their new friends, Kam and Alex, who use them/they. 

The National Black Justice Coalition is America’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV. The partnership with Cartoon Network is to teach younger viewers about the respect needed around gender pronouns and identity.

“At the heart of our work at NBJC is affirmation of the dignity and beauty of our Black transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary and other gender-expansive siblings,” said Dr. Darling-Hammond in an official press release. “This comic strip advances our goals by showing what it looks like to treat people with respect, while finding a sense of common humanity.

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Dr. Darling-Hammond hopes that the audience for the transformative comic will grab the attention of all ages and backgrounds who not only feel inspired to begin to volunteer their own gender pronouns but “respect those of others, and normalize awareness of the existence of people across the gender universe.” 

“We believe that recognizing and celebrating gender expansiveness will move us closer to a world where we can all be healthy, happy, and whole,” she adds. 

According to the William Institute School of Law at UCLA, nearly 150,000 teenagers identify as transgender in the United States, and an as-yet-uncounted number of children as young as three years old are transgender or gender nonconforming, as well. 

“Part of the excitement of this project is that we are engaging a topic that young people almost always have experience with, but don’t often have the space to discuss,” says Tyler Miles, a member of NBJC’s YYAAC. “Whether these youth identify as transgender, gender nonconforming, cis, or the multitude of identities therein, this comic is a radical act of trust and care to reach all youth who are beginning to, or have already, thought critically about gender. They are heard, they are seen, they are accepted, and they are loved.”

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