In the context of the US population, I am a statistic. I fill a whole bunch of categories if you want to play human bingo. My parents migrated from Tanzania, in East Africa, and I’m ethnically South Asian. I get to be even more specific, because I’m an Isma’ili Shi’ah Muslim. That means I’m a religious minority, in a religious minority, in a religious minority.
Born in Manhattan, and growing up in Queens, New York, I wasn’t different. Everyone was different to everyone else. That was the norm. Then we moved to Long Island, and it was a different beast. Suddenly, my status as a “statistic” was glaring. In our new home, you needed to fit into categories, and people didn’t know or understand my categories. Thankfully, I found my escape in the world of speculative fiction that comics offered me. When I first picked up comics in the 80s, I wasn’t thinking about representation. I was more focused on learning how to be like the Super Heroes I loved, different. Like most folks then, looking for something similar, I found the X-Men. Cyclops is still my man, and the fact that Jay Edidin recently made him canonically neuroatypical makes him even more dear to me, especially as someone who was diagnosed with ADD as an adult.