TV and comic book writer and creator Grant Morrison, whose credits include an impressive list of works including Doom Patrol, The Flash, JLA, The Invisibles, and Green Lantern in comics as well as SYFY's Happy! and the recently-cancelled Brave New World on Peacock in terms of television, has revealed that they are non-binary. In a recent interview with Mondo2000.com, Morrison opened up about their various projects and also shared their views about current events and in the process, opened up about how the evolution of language has offered them words to describe their experience as a non-binary person.
During part of the conversation regarding power of words -- for good or for ill -- Morrison explained that the words didn't really exist when they were younger to describe their experience, an experience they described directly as being non-binary and something they've been since childhood.
"As a for instance, when I was a kid there were no words to describe certain aspects of my own experience," Morrison explained. "I've been non-binary, cross-dressing, 'gender queer' since I was 10 years old, but the available terms for what I was doing and how I felt were few and far between. We had 'transsexual' and 'transvestite' both of which sounded like DSM classifications rather than lifestyle choices! I didn’t want to be labelled as medical aberration because that’s not how it felt, nor was it something cut-and-dried and done. I didn’t want to 'transition' or embody my 'female' side exclusively, so I had no idea where I fit in."
They continued, "Terms like 'genderqueer' and 'non-binary' only came into vogue in the mid-90s. So, kids like me had very limited ways of describing our attraction to drag and sexual ambiguity. Nowadays there’s this whole new vocabulary, allowing kids to figure out exactly where they sit on the 'color wheel' of gender and sexuality, so I think it’s OK to lose a few contentious words when you are creating new ones that offer a more finely-grained approach to experience."
Morrison also spoke about the significance of gender in the consideration of the stories they tell.
"In the Wonder Woman book I’m doing, for instance, I've actively avoided writing the boy hero story that’s so ubiquitous as to seem inescapable — the familiar story of the One, the champion, the Joseph Campbell monomyth thing that drives so many Hollywood movies and YA stories," they said. "We've seen it. The Lion King. The callow youth loses mom or dad, or his comfortable place in the tribe, and he has to fight his way back to save the kingdom from its corrupt old leader, before claiming the captive princess and becoming the new king and… ad infinitum. The Circle of Life if it only applied to boys. I thought, where is the mythic heroine's story? In Ishtar Rising, Wilson talks about the myth of Inanna, and how she goes down into Hell and has to give up everything of herself to gain the wisdom and experience she can bring back to her tribe. Privileging the network rather than the sovereign individual."
They continued, "And so, as I thought about the differences between the hero's and the heroine’s journey, it gave me a bunch of different modes to work in. Finding ways to avoid telling the boy hero story again was quite liberating. It just gave me a bunch of new ideas, an interesting new way of telling stories that didn’t rely on the framework of the hero's journey that Campbell talks about."
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Photo credit: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for WIRED.