I’m Charlie Manzano, a student at SF State minoring in comic studies. Melahomos is a comic I wrote this past Spring for a Queer Comics class final. It’s about my experience meeting a fellow young trans person with melanoma during the pandemic, Lex. It shows some of our experiences building a friendship while navigating the medical system and “cancer culture.” It’s about dealing with the ins and outs of navigating facial cancer microaggressions, transphobia in medicine, and a social and medical framework that blames patients for their disease – especially commonly “blameable” cancers, like melanoma.
I chose this topic because I think radical friendship and community is vitally important, and narratives that don’t fit the typical expectation of cancer stories are needed for change and connection. I thought this comic would be a great way to explore and share this!
I also run the Transgender Cancer Patient Project (@transcancerzine on Instagram or transcancerzine.com) which is a community-based project that shares personal experiences and social support through zines about trans and cancer related topics. Also, I run the Young Adult Facial and Bodily Disfigurement and Difference Network (a group on Facebook), which is a social support and community space for those with facial and/or bodily disfigurements and differences. You can find my personal instagram @coolrelatablecancerteen !