Quebec comic book writer forced to move after transphobic attacks
A Quebec comic book writer and illustrator has gone into hiding after her personal information was made public and she became the target of death threats.
Sophie Labelle’s project, called 'Assigned Male,’ is a web comic that centres around a transgender girl.
“I really helped me talk about gender issues, about my identity,” said Labelle, who is trans.
“I have a children's book that I wrote in 2012,” she said, along with 15 cartoon books.
“Since most of my audience is trans itself, it's become more of a tool for me reframe trans-ness into something positive and empowering. It became my first priority,” she said.
Hate mail and threats have been consistent in her career, something she said she has had to become accustomed to.
“It's been there since day one. A couple of weeks into my comic I was already receiving death threats,” she said.
The latest threats, she said, feel different.
“Since the American election, I do feel my haters feel emboldened in their hate. They kind of feel legitimized to do what they do,” said Labelle.
In the most recent attack, Labelle's website was hacked and she was doxxed: the hacker released her home address.
When the threats became more real, she went into hiding.
“I was forced to leave my house and we were forced to cancel a book a launch that was supposed to happen last week in Halifax,” she said.
Labelle is working with Montreal police to try to locate the hackers and ensure her work and social media can stay up and running.
“I came out on the internet when I was 13, because this is where we're more likely to find community,” she said, adding that no threats or haters will keep her from it.