Blessed Cure by Mário César unravels the violence of gender essentialism and conversion therapy. The protagonist of this webcomic endures decades of humiliation and conditioning to live the life his parents want.
Blessed Cure contains heavy but much needed discussions about traditional gender roles, “acceptable” sexuality, and the harmful effects of conversion therapy. As someone who grew up in a family steeped in traditional gender roles and gender essentialism, I admire and appreciate Mario Cesar’s storytelling and handling of these issues. The story begins with Acácio do Nascimento as an older man in the present narrative. At a Gay bar, he tells his story. From there, we see him as a child considered to be “different” from other boys.
Note: If you’re currently in a toxic environment or know someone who is, please know that there is help. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. International readers can look up hotlines from their country or region here.
Also, be aware (if you aren’t already) that conversion therapy is still happening today in 69+ countries including the US. In other words, it’s not “a thing of the past.” Not everyone has the luxury or privilege to be out and in a supporting environment. It’s important to keep this in mind when discussing topics involving coming out.
Acácio’s parents are concerned about him playing with dolls and preferring long hair. So they consult a psychologist and then decide to go ahead with sending their son to conversion therapy. Subjected to corporal punishment, psychological abuse, and having a woman perform oral sex on him without his consent, he becomes hopeless and repressed. His parents think it’s for his own good; they want him to grow up “normal,” marry a woman and have kids.
And Acácio does end up marrying a woman and having kids of his own. Of course, he’s not happy. His parents want him to live a life that’s never for him. He’s aware of his attraction to other men, but he suppresses it. However, Blessed Cure ends on a hopeful note. I’ve said before that I don’t usually cry during sad stories or scenes, but the ending to this powerful narrative lures tears from me every time I remember it. Mário César has written a well nuanced story about the courage to be yourself.
Learn more about Mário Cesar here.
For more great webcomic recommendations, check out our Wednesday Webcomics archives!
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
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