Project Title: Queer Bodies in Confidence
What Is this Project and Who Can Participate?
This project is a comic anthology that is focused on body positivity for queer men. Using health literature and personal experiences, artists that identify within the LGBTQ community are asked to create a comic strip regarding how society and culture influences body image and the impacts this has on the mental and sexual health of queer men, including gay, bisexual, queer, trans, two-spirited, and other men who have sex with men. It is our goal to capture as much diversity and as many stories as possible in the pages of this work.
Who We Are?
Our team consists of students from Dalhousie University and Queens University working within queer healthcare. The team consists of Phillip Joy, Matthew Lee, and Stephanie Gauvin.
Why Are We Doing This?
This project aims to:
- Start conversations about the cultural influences of body image for queer men
- Work towards improving the overall health and well-being of queer men
- Challenge stereotypes about the bodies of queer men
- Showcase the diversity within our communities
What Will Be Done with the Comic?
The comic will be published in print copy and may be posted online through our website and social media accounts. Printed copies will be sent to various LGBTQ health, resource, and community centres across Canada. The comic book may also be presented at academic conferences or within university classroom settings.
What’s in It for Me?
Your contribution will make a positive impact on the health of queer men across Canada. In addition, artists will be paid a standard one-time fee of $200/page. You will also receive a copy of the published book.
This project is funding by Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
How Do I Participate?
Submit an electric/digital portfolio that includes your contact information, website information, and a brief bio (max 250 words) that details on why you would be an excellent artist for this collaboration. Also include a short proposal (max 250 words or a few illustrations) that outlines your comic submission and details how it aligns with the overall project and its goals. This proposal may include concept artwork for the comic. Submission of a proposal does not guarantee inclusion in the anthology or payment. Selected artists will be contacted and asked to sign an artist contract detailing their rights and responsibilities. For those artists whose work is not selected, the rights to their proposal remain with them.
Please email your electric submission package as a single pdf to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Proposal Deadline: Oct 10, 2018
Please note that we will attempt to notify all artists within 3 weeks of the proposal deadline regarding their submission.
Storyboard Deadline: Dec 8, 2018
Final Comic Deadline: Jan 25, 2019
Comic Format Requirements
Comic Book Dimensions: 17.8 x 22.9 cm | 7″ x 9″ (It is critical for layouts and final product to format your comics to these dimensions.)
Colouring: Black and white is acceptable but coloured comics are preferred
Text Language: English text only
Comic Length: 4 pages maximum
PLEASE NOTE: It is up to the artist to complete and submit their comic with text on the date of above deadline to ensure publication within the anthology. Payments to the artists will only be made upon successful submission at the deadline.
What Should My Comic Be About?
Although there are many aspects to body image, we are focusing this work on two aspects that have been identified within health research to contribute to body dissatisfaction and health issues in queer men – weight and muscularity.
Your work should feature a story focused on how social and cultural influences in the queer community influences the body image of men and how body image may, in turn, affect their mental or sexual health.
The comic can be within any genre (realistic/fantasy/superhero/Manga).
The comic may contain your own real experiences with the topic or be drawn from the research. Below are some potential topics, identified from health research, your comic may address. You are not limited to these topics but should contact us if you have other topics to ensure it fits within the scope of the project.
What Are Some Possible Social/Cultural Issues to Address
- Social media use, websites
- Dating apps – Grindr, Trinder, Scruff
- Anxiety during sexual intimacy with partner(s)
- How talking with a partner can help with body image concerns
- HIV-related concerns about body image
- Media – advertisements, TV, magazines
- Fitness and beauty industries
- Ideas surrounding masculinities
- Intersections with ethnicities, race, aging
- Heteronormativity and gender norms within Canadian society
- Social stigma and marginalization
The research shows that all of the above issues can shape the health experiences of queer men. These issues may also contribute to the exclusion of bodies on basis of weight or ethnicity through the images and language used in them.
What Are Some of the Health Issues Related to Body Dissatisfaction?
Body dissatisfaction is “never benign” (Jankowski, 2015, p. 34).
- eating concerns, eating restraints, eating disorders, purging and binging of foods
- body and muscle dysmorphia, steroid use
- isolation, feelings of being inadequacy
- avoiding social situations
- issues with sexual intimacy
- stress and tension
- social exclusion
- risks of STIs
What to Avoid in your Comic
Avoid stories that could potentially stereotype queer men.