Stumbling on Lennon Mancini’s Lennon Sweets cartoon on Instagram reminded me how the social media app can still be magical and transformative. I reached out to him about his beautifully rendered, eagerly authentic evolution of one young trans man’s life.
From testosterone injections to the transformation and new appreciation of his body smells, the strip captures the pathos and sweetly sexual awakening that accompany these physical changes in this young man’s life.
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My smell changed! I first noticed on Monday after the gym. Then coming home from work yesterday. It was like I was wearing someone else's sweater. But instead of thinking, "oh this smells like my friend", I didn't recognize it at all. This is just me now? It's not bad. Just different. It's /WEIRD/. Can't wait to go noseblind to it. . . . . . . #trans #ftm #transmasculine #lgbt #nonbinary #gaycomic #lgbtcomic #transcomic #transgender #transman #testosterone
#GAYNRD spoke to Mancini via Insta DM.
Why did you start the comic?
It felt like a very ‘me’ way to document my journey. I’m not one for a diary or to start up a YouTube channel.
I’m a very visual person so the goal was to be able to capture the atmosphere and emotions I was feeling in little moments. Like my friend holding my hand for my first T shot, how I felt seeing myself in a binder for the first time, or coming out to my mom in her car… Seeing it immediately puts me there.
Down the line, I’d love to publish a graphic novel version of the first year or two.
Had you been an illustrator before?
I’m a tattoo artist by trade, so drawing is part of my every day. Though prior to the comic about my transition, I only casually made small comics and mini zines based on my experiences and funny interactions with my friends.
Has doing the comic brought you anywhere creatively you didn’t expect?
I think consistency and efficiency is the thing. Previously, I’ve been too caught up with client drawings to work on any personal art. Now I can’t stop roughing out comic ideas and will have posted 10 by the end of this month. Not sure if I’ll be able to keep that pace up, but I’m going to keep it going as long as I can.
What’s been the response?
I’ve gotten so many supportive messages from other people in different stages of their transition. Whether it be people who went through it ages ago, people going through it all same time as me, or people who haven’t quite figured it out yet. Also friends/allies of trans people and even parents!
I’m honored I’ve been able to touch so many people in some little or big way. I didn’t know if it would go anywhere, so if it was just a method for me to process my feelings then that would’ve been great too. Getting to interact with people in the community this way has been incredibly uplifting and reaffirming.
Lennon Mancini is a tattoo artist and comic illustrator living in Toronto, Canada.