Lugs and Anode, two Autobots, have been revealed to be trans characters in issue #8 of the Transformers: Lost Light comic book series. Bleeding Cool did a recap of the comic, which was written by James Roberts and Jack Lawrence, with art by Priscilla Tramontano and Joana Lafuente. IDW Publishing is the company behind the book, the same company that will soon be publishing Sonic comic books.
The authors and artists make no surreptitious efforts in conveying their intent. They re-introduce two characters as “She” instead of “He”. There’s about three pages featuring a handful of panels where Anode explains that after leaving Cybertron and meeting other races and alien species, it was time to stop using the “He” label. Anode proceeded to change appearance and start requesting people refer to the Autobot as “She”.
There’s no explanation as to why exactly this matters for a biomechnical lifeform that can transform at will, and the rest of the story moves in a completely different direction, only stopping to talk about becoming trans because it seemed to make “perfect sense”. The question of “why” is left up to the reader, and the comment section on the article breaks out into debate about how trans issues should be discussed in comic books.
The one thing they don’t mention is how does “She” have a significance in the realm of Transformers when they don’t have lady bits? The distinction for humans is based on biology, but the distinction for Transformer is based on… what exactly? If they don’t have a strudel or a cookie under the apron, then what’s the significance of pastry identity?
For humans, the whole reason “trans” exists is because it’s a transition between gender identity, both physically and biologically. If Transformers, however, don’t have biological identifiers for gender, then what are they transitioning to or from?
Some of the readers of the Bleeding Cool article thought it was progressive and “cool”, others thought it was ham-fisted and unnecessary. The Kotaku in Action thread about this particular topic felt it was nothing more than virtue signaling given that they’re robots and they don’t have biological genders.
This very topic was actually parodied in a video created by Flashgitz, which was released last year in July of 2016. The four minute long skit easily went viral for being so ridiculous… but what happens when it’s now part of the Transformers: Lost Light comic book canon?