Performance: A new zine (and my first published co...

Performance: A new zine (and my first published comic!)

As anybody who reads this regularly will know I’m a huge fan of comics and occasionally manage to make comics of my own.

I’ve managed to include a few small cartoons in some of my books and zines over the years and I’ve been involved in a few great comic-based projects, notably the year of Asylum Magazine which Caroline Walters, Joseph de Lappe and I edited about comics and mental health, and – of course – Queer: A Graphic History, where I provided the words, and Julia Scheele provided the pictures.

Along with her colleagues, Julia also makes great comic anthologies over at One Beat Zines, and they invited me to contribute something to their latest zine on performance. As readers of queer will know, one of the major theories about gender is Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity, so I did my best to explain that idea, and the implications it might have, in 3 pages! Like many of my comics it’s a personal reflection on my own experiences of gender over the years, asking the question of what it’d be like if we moved away from judging people according to a real/fake binary, towards encouraging everyone to find the gender (experience, identity, expression) that feels comfortable and consensual for them.


The anthology includes many beautiful comics around the themes of performance and performativity, many of which relate to gender. Do order a copy if you’re interested.

If you want to read more of my thoughts on gender, check out my book with Alex Iantaffi: How to Understand Your Gender.

Meg-John (MJ) Barker (they/them) is a writer, zine-maker, collaborator, contemplative practitioner, and friend. They are the author of a number of zines and popular books on sex, gender, and relationships, including graphic guides to Queer, Gender, and Sexuality (with Jules Scheele), and How To Understand Your Gender, Sexuality and Relationships (with Alex Iantaffi).