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The Heroine in This New Fairy Tale Is Transgender

“I want everyone to feel like they can have their own ‘Once upon a time.’”

Courtesy Greg McGoon

Lyric, the heroine in Greg McGoon’s new children’s book The Royal Heart, is your typical fairy tale princess. She lives in a beautiful castle, her mother and father are the king and queen of the kingdom, and her narrative begins with the classic opening line “Once upon a time.” What makes Lyric a little different from most princesses is that she used to be a prince. McGoon’s groundbreaking story, the first in a series of fairy tales about LGBT characters, centers on a transgender child.


“[T]he world of fairy tales … is something I have always wanted to explore,” McGoon writes in an email. “However, LGBT characters are rarely acknowledged or represented. I want everyone to feel like they can have their own ‘Once upon a time.’”

In the story, illustrated by J. Orr, Lyric is a child who is born male but who doesn’t feel like a boy. Lyric worries, however, that her parents will be disappointed if she doesn’t grow up to be the king of the kingdom. When Lyric runs away from home, she meets the spirit of her grandmother, who helps her transition into a princess.

Courtesy Greg McGoon

McGoon says he hopes The Royal Heart helps children who may be struggling with their own identity questions, but adds that many readers should be able to relate to Lyric’s story.

“As the story evolved, I loved the idea of embracing the transformation as a moment of both relief and freedom,” McGoon writes. “The ability and desire to acknowledge oneself is not limited to the transgender community. I think that is a feeling many people struggle to reveal. This story embraces that idea … That holds so much magic in itself.”

Courtesy Greg McGoon

(Via Refinery29)

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