The Trans-Hero’s Journey

There have been some really awesome posts from fellow bloggers in the last few days and they’ve really got me thinking about this journey that we’re all on together and separately.  Each of us has our own unique road with sometimes similar and sometimes very different destinations.  Sometimes, the destination isn’t quite clear to us.  But, seeing this as a journey made me think about the idea of this being a sort of Hero’s Journey that we’re all part of in some stage or another.  Often we find other would-be heroes at similar junctures as ourselves.  Others are further ahead or just getting started.  We help each other navigate on this solitary journey to ourselves.  Our True Selves.

After just a little research I found some very interesting correlations between the standard Hero’s Journey and my own current path.  The journey has several stages and cast members.  In the beginning of the journey the hero lives in the ordinary world as an ordinary person but doesn’t quite fit in and feels somewhat out of place.  The journey begins as they are called away from their ordinary world to embark on a fantastic quest (transition or whatever your path is to authenticity).  The hero must leave the ordinary world in order to go on this quest.  Often the hero resists leaving their comfortable world and people they know.  The new world is strange and different, full of “treasure and danger” for the budding hero.  The hero is given a quest that only they can accomplish.  At first, the hero refuses.  They’re not prepared, strong enough, smart enough, worthy enough.  Many excuses come to mind for refusing the quest.  And, sometimes, the hero never does accept the quest, their destiny, but this only brings trouble for the hero in the end.  Once the hero accepts the quest they can move on to the next stage.

The hero embarks on their journey and enters into the new, strange land (the land of gender identity which only the hero can define for themselves).  There are many tests and trials awaiting (coming out, name changes, pronoun changes, therapy, letters, surgeries, hormones, etc.).  They meet some helpful people who aid them in their quest along their path (doctors, therapists, fellow trans* folks, friends, family).  These are their Talisman and Allies.  Sometimes these helpers seem to have supernatural powers.  The hero progresses through a series of tests and trials that makes them stronger and smarter for their final obstacle.  This final obstacle is The Supreme Ordeal (this could be a surgery, or being accepted as our true self or something else entirely) which, once surpassed, the quest has been achieved.  This is when they receive their rewards for passing the Supreme Ordeal (Living an authentic life).

The journey is not over though.  The final stage is the journey home.  The journey home often has a few obstacles as well but are handled easily with the new knowledge, wisdom and strength the Hero has gained from their previous adventures.  The Hero’s quest is life-changing for them as well as others.  They return home a master of two worlds and often bring with them special powers that helps them heal or improve their home world.

I started thinking about this concept quite a while ago.  I was watching the movie A Knight’s Tale with Heath Ledger at home one evening.  Heath plays a poor squire who wants to be a Knight.  He trains hard to win tournaments with the help of a few of his friends.  He enters the tournaments, which only nobles are allowed to participate in, by pretending to be Sir Ulrich and has forged papers to verify his nobility.  Eventually he is found out as a fraud and is about to be captured.  His friends and allies all urge him to run for his life and tell him how he can hide and get away with his deception.  He listens to them and simply says, “NO!  I AM A KNIGHT!”  That moment in that movie, even though it’s not that great a film, hit me hard.  It was like all of the people telling me my whole life, mostly myself, that I am not good enough, strong enough, tall enough, whatever enough to be who I really am were silenced.  I can hide for the rest of my life and pretend I’m really a woman…sort of.  Or I can claim who I really am and pay the price for that.

I don’t feel like a hero most days and I bet most of you don’t either.  But, the truth is, we’re all heroes in our own right.  We’re out here fighting every day for our right to be seen and heard and acknowledged for who and what we really are.  The battles may be small or seem insignificant like asking someone to use your preferred pronoun or name but each battle matters in the end.

Keep fighting the good fight and journey on my fellow heroes.  Stand proud!

* information and some language in this post came from


12 thoughts on “The Trans-Hero’s Journey

  1. What a great way of thinking about our journeys! Thanks for sharing.
    – Jacob


  2. It is hard to feel like a hero when people claim to have been hurt, disappointed, or betrayed by the journey. It is an epic struggle to take on transition.
    I feel like I still have grief demons from my past that weaken me and hold me back, and that I need to deal with in order to move forward. Damn that kryptonite.


    • I think it’s important to remember that this IS an epic struggle and that it is worthwhile and important. If others are hurt, disappointed or feel betrayed because we were chosen to walk this path is not a reason to turn our backs on our life mission. I know that keeping the peace at home is important too and we both struggle with keeping that peace. One day we’ll all get it figured out. Stay strong.


  3. Great post love the comparison to each of us being heroes in an adventure! On the comment about seeing films that drive things home, one song that I really love is Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror. I know it sounds corny but every time I hear it, hairs go up on the back of my neck and it fills me with confidence I can complete my adventure.


    • It’s not corny! I love that song too. Anything that makes us feel strong and confident is useful. Use that song to fuel your journey. It can be your theme song. Glad you liked the post.


  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. We are indeed on a quest to become our true selves. It isn’t always easy, but I am convinced that in the end it’s all worth it.
    Keep going, hero. You are a man – and a brave one at that. Because you accepted your quest.


  5. For some reason, your post made me think of this song:

    I’m not quite sure how it relates. “Little Jackie Paper” had to put aside his “little boy” dreams and become a “man,” and leave behind grieving Puff. That’s the journey for some of us. We weep about the “boyhood” we should have had, but didn’t. Puff was there with his magic to help Jackie on his way. How can we not cherish Jackie’s hero’s journey and how can we not love Puff for comforting and guiding Jackie?

    Use those further-along and further-behind heroes and kindly dragons nudging you toward your own true path of authenticity.


  6. I found your blog today through T-Central and read all the way back to your first entry. Your writing is beautiful and uplifting, and I can tell by all the wonderful comment exchanges that you are inspiring many people. I’m excited to share your blog with my wife. ❤


    • Wow! Thank you so much for the huge compliment and welcome to my blog. There seems to be a growing group of us here who inspire and support each other through our various journeys. I love reading all of the different perspectives and experiences people share and I think it keeps us all going through these murky times. I hope you and your wife will join in the discussion. The more the merrier.


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