How to be a Gender Explorer (2017)

How to be a Gender Explorer is an ongoing graphic narrative series about gender exploration and self discovery. The story is based on Samuel Luke’s personal experiences of being transgender, and uses themes of ‘transitional spaces’ and outer space to represent infinite and expanding possibilities of (gender) exploration. The book also provides positive affirmations and validation to other Gender Explorers on similar journeys, to create awareness, understanding, and acceptance of being transgender. 


This series of comic illustrations use Samuel’s continued theme of space exploration, as seen in How to be a Gender Explorer (2017), but now address his lived experience of recovering from ‘top surgery’, a double mastectomy and chest masculinisation surgery. Samuel continues to document his gender transition through autobiographical comic illustrations, paired with creative writing to critically reflect on his journey so far. These illustrations also reference previous scenes, items, and imagery from How to be a Gender Explorer, adding depth to the ongoing narrative and special insight into Samuel’s history.


COMFORTABLE was created for Read To Me (at Knox Street Bar, Chippendale, NSW) and read in front of a live audience (on May 7, 2019). This autobiographical comic was created from journal entries Samuel wrote to process some of his complicated feelings and emotions about being one year on testosterone, over 7 months post-op top surgery, yet still feeling uncomfortable in his body. It is an intimate look into his trans experience, sharing vulnerabilities about body image, childhood memories of gender, socialisation, and navigating the world as a trans person.


Audio recorded at Read To Me for FBi Radio for ‘Or It Didn’t Happen’ (Episode 2, ‘Ghosts’) podcast by Zacha Rosen. Listen to the rest of the episode here.