My geek identity was formed before my gay identity. In fact, it has always been easier to say “I like comic books” than “I am gay.” While other series have come and gone, interest piqued by a shiny #1s but ultimately faded, the X-Men titles continue to be stalwarts. It was the X-Men that provided escapism and first put a name on the un-namable in me that still had to be discovered – I was a mutant and that’s why I didn’t fit in! Underneath the garish early 1990s costumes the X-Men had pathos. The Avengers and Fantastic Four were clubs filled with melodrama and squabbling over used condiments. The X-Men were a found family because there were no other heroes that understood their position in society. The X-Men didn’t want to save the world, they wanted to live and be left alone. The villains of other teams wanted their opponents subdued so that victory could be achieved. X-Men antagonists were actively attempting to kill and commit genocide. Still the X-Men believed in showing compassion and empathy to their opponents, believing in finding a common ground to move forward. The X-Men taught me communication, that by sharing emotions and experiences we can all come to mutual understanding.