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Supernaturally Validated Trans Person

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One of the most basic things to acknowledge about transgender rights is the simple fact that people are the gender they say they are. A lot of Trans Tribulations come about from characters (or in the worst cases, the narrative itself) refusing to acknowledge this. While society has largely begun to accept trans people, to the point where a character who deliberately misgenders someone is far more likely than not to be unsympathetic (and yeah, it's a low bar, but it's progress), shutting them down with a complicated sociology lecture would rather slow down the plot (unless it is the plot, of course).

Enter this trope: some aspect of the setting confirms that a trans person is as much the gender they present (or even the gender they've yet to present as) as a cisgender person of the same gender. This might be as simple as a Residual Self-Image or mirror showing their true self, something subtler like having access to a Gender-Restricted Ability or Magical Seventh Son/Daughter powers, or as complex as them fulfilling a role in a prophecy. It can also apply to more "meta" validations, such as being treated as the correct gender by game mechanics. While it's become more common in The New '10s (thanks to an increase in stories being written about, and by, trans people), examples can be found in folklore.

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Often the source of a Prophecy Twist (a trans woman and the child of a trans man can say they're No Man of Woman Born just as easily as someone born via caesarian section). Contrast Unsettling Gender Reveal (which typically carries the implication that a character's presented gender was a deception of some sort) and compare Samus Is a Girl (which plays with expectations of a character's gender when it hasn't yet been revealed).

Not to be confused with Gender Bender, which is actually about sexual anatomy and doesn't, on its own, confirm or deny their inherent sense of their own gender.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fire Punch: Though Togata was assigned female and presents as such, Bat Man's telepathy correctly perceives they actually identify as male. This example is more negative than most, as the recipient is Forced Out of the Closet by someone using it as evidence they're untrustworthy.
  • Magical Girl Site: Kiyoharu is allowed to be a Magical Girl by the titular website (which targets troubled girls) because kids at school bully her for being transgender. It's later revealed that men can use Sticks, but this harms the King who runs the website, so Kiyoharu wouldn't have have been given one if she was considered male in this respect.
  • Princess Knight: In the 60's manga, Madame Hell steals Sapphire's female heart, turning her mind into that of a boy. The fortune-tellers summoned by Duke Duralumin all acknowledge that her gender identity has changed.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: In volume 2, Pete Reston turns out to have a magical trait called Reversi that causes him to switch his biological sex overnight. He still identifies as male for the moment, but alludes to having experienced possible dysphoric episodes. The Kimberly Wizarding School turns out to have a student club for mages with gender- and sex-linked magic, which agender upperclassman Carlos Whitrow founded and invites Pete to join. Whitrow themself was assigned male at birth but magically neutered in order to serve as an effective minder to Ophelia Salvatori, who Smells Sexy to biological males; Whitrow's gender identity conveniently worked well with this.
  • School Mermaid: The spell that summons the titular mermaids can only be cast by women. When Shinobu and Shuutarou cast the spell together, Shinobu is surprised that Shuutarou can see the mermaids, while Shuutarou is elated that the mermaids have acknowledged her 'woman's heart'.

    Comic Books 
  • The Sandman (1989) features a Double Subversion; a trans woman can't perform magic restricted to women... but this turns out to be because the specific deity providing that specific magic is behind the times and refuses to allow it.note  Even after Wanda dies and her parents bury her under her dead name in men's clothes, her spirit appears as a woman and Death (who's been around a smidge longer than life has existed in the universenote ) acknowledges her as such.
    • In The Dreaming: Waking Hours, an Unseelie attempts to invoke I Know Your True Name against sorceress Heather After using her birth certificate, but starts choking on blood mid-word.
      Unseelie Counselor: Your true name is Ell— is Ellio— it's Ell— [kaff kaff]
      Heather: You thought you could control me by telling me the name on my birth certificate? Let me tell you a little secret, counselor. There is no such thing as a true name.
  • In Demon Knights, the nigh-omniscient Merlin tells Sir Ystin that he can detect two natures within them, confirming that they are genderfluid. Everyone else in the setting treats Ystin as though they are a Sweet Polly Oliver.
  • The Witch Boy centers around a queer metaphor where the protagonist, a boy named Aster, is unable to perform shapeshifting magic typical to males and is instead more interested in learning witchcraft that is only taught to girls. At the climax when confronted by a hungry beast consuming shapeshifters, it “tastes” Aster’s soul, only to gag because the boy’s soul is that of a witch.

    Fan Works 
  • Magical Metamorphosis opens with the Potter child (who at this point hasn't actually figured out that she's trans) passing unaffected through the no-boys-allowed ward on the Gryffindor girls' dorm, much to the confusion of Ron and Hermione.
  • New Blood (artemisgirl): "Amanda" Barrowsnote  finds herself barred from the Ravenclaw girls' dorm for reasons she doesn't quite understand, but include it lacking a bed for her — but when Hermione finds an extra bed in the boys' dorm, she admits to having never liked being a girl and being terrified of the onset of puberty.note  Hermione, hearing about this, takes it to the logical extreme and asks Snape for a place that would forbid girls and allow boys, and indeed the Quidditch boys' locker room allows Amanda in while forbidding Hermione. And it is strongly implied that both locker rooms let Luna in, setting off a gender exploration arc centered on her.
  • Secret Names using True Names magic, Sadie Kane hearing her sibling's name is male lets her understand she has a brother instead of a sister.
  • Themyscira is a Zootopia where men mysteriously disappear. Only a few "men" are left, including Nick. This is because they're closeted trans women, not cis men.
  • Go Down With You has Shen Yuan — who insisted he wasn't a girl since he's four years old — being confirmed as a boy when he's unable to go past the wards of Xian Shu Peak.
  • Harry is a Dragon, and That's Okay: During a Care of Magical Creatures lesson, Transgender student Samantha Ackerley (formerly Stewart) successfully bonds with a unicorn (a creature that is more comfortable in the presence of females than males). Professor Kettleburn even reassures her that her initial fears of being rejected are unfounded.
  • Kaleidoscopic Grangers: Ariadne is concerned on a semi-frequent basis by how the world will see her — not just the people, but magic itself. But not only do the stairs to the girls' dorm (and by extension Hogwarts herself) accept Ariadne as a girl, but in book 4, so does a unicorn.
  • Played With in Pure Mischief, where Ladybug gives Adrien the Mouse Miraculous. Due to Adrien being genderfluid and the last Mouse hero, Multimouse, being a woman; his Miraculous transformation came out as female.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Matrix, Switch was originally planned to appear as a man in the real world, but a woman in the Matrix itself (to the point of being portrayed by two different actors in each), implying some sort of gender identity gulf and raising questions on what was their real form. The final film largely cut this subplot out in favor of an androgynous appearance (and there's a Shrug of God on whether it's still canon).
  • The titular character of Shallow Hal is put under hypnosis that allows him to see people's true inner selves. This includes the transgender hostess, whom Hal recognizes as a beautiful woman.

    Literature 
  • InCryptid has yet to introduce any canon trans characters, but in the tenth book, Calculated Risks, Sarah remembers when she and Elsie were kids, Elsie hypothetically asked the Aeslin mice what they would do if she told them there'd been an error and she was actually a boy. They immediately began planning a ritual to modify her catechisms from those of a Priestess to those of a God,note  and only stopped after she explained she was only wondering and really was a girl.
  • The Nemesis Series:
    • The first novel, Dreadnought, opens with a closeted trans girl named Danny receiving the powers of a dying superhero, which has the side effort of transforming her into her idealized self. Notably, it was written by a trans woman specifically as a Power Fantasy for young transgender adults.
    • The second novel features an inversion, where a transphobe's sense of being "normal" is invalidated instead. Greywych (an Alpha Bitch modeled after "Trans Exclusive Radical Feminists" in the first novel, and an outright antagonist in the second) casts a spell to kill off "men"; by her definition, anyone with a Y chromosome. She almost dies when she casts the spell and Danny theorizes that it's because she's a cis woman with a Y chromosome and androgen insensitivity, though Greywych insists that it's just because the spell is so powerful, she accidentally Cast From Hitpoints. It's left to the reader to determine which explanation they believe, but Greywych was shown to be very, very self-deluded throughout the book.
  • The Cosmere: In Dawnshard a new Radiant, an afab king of the Reshi Isles in fact, begins to undergo "dramatic changes" almost immediately. This is implied to be, and confirmed by Word of God as, Stormlight "healing" his female body to match his gender. Magical healing in the Cosmere works by matching the physical self to the ideal spiritual self, so it follows that most forms of healing magic would be capable of this.
  • This is Older Than Television (at a bare minimum). The Romanian folktale "The Girl Who Pretended to Be a Boy" (adapted by Jules Brun in the French anthology Seven Romanian Tales in 1894, then translated and adapted to English by Leonora Blanche Alleyne and Andrew Lang in their 1901 anthology The Violet Fairy Book) describes how, needing to give his conqueror a "son" to serve as a knight, a conquered king who had only daughters sent them instead, requiring them to dress and act as men. His youngest, Fet-Fruners, took to it with aplomb and went on a series of daring quests. Then one day a quest put her in conflict with a hermit guarding a church from which she stole some holy water, who prayed that she be cursed with a Gender Bender. The prince(ss) is overjoyed and the narrative switches to using masculine pronouns for Fet-Fruners almost immediately, and in short order he overthrows the evil emperor, marries a noblewoman he rescued earlier in the story, and lives Happily Ever After.
  • Inverted with Elise Kavanaugh in The Descent Series. She's externally female and identifies as such. However, she's the only woman on record to be a kopis (demon-slayer and exorcist), which appears to be tied to the fact that (as revealed in book two when she visits a gynecologist in a flashback) she's intersex: she has an XY chromosome pair and an androgen insensitivity disorder. It's a touchy subject for her, as her boyfriend Anthony finds out the hard way.
  • Ana Mardoll's anthology No Man of Woman Born is all about LGBT+ people putting twists on No Man of Woman Born-style prophecies. The first story, "Tangled Nets", has a dragon declare that "no man or woman can kill me" after butchering a knight who tried to kill it. The protagonist, Wren, is nonbinary and manages to stab the dragon in a major artery with a fish-filleting knife. In another case, a warlord suffers a Genocide Backfire when he kills all the "sons" of a man whose "son" was prophesied to kill him. He missed the trans man, who is very pissed about the warlord killing his brothers.
  • The Salvation War features kitten (spelled with a lower case k), a trans woman medium whose role in allowing the army to send their forces to hell allows her to finally get GCS surgery on military health insurance. Word of God is that on dying and passing on to Heaven or Hell her spiritual form would be that of her post-surgery self.
  • Poor Kade in the Wayward Children series gets hit by a negative version of this. He is taken to Fairyland by a group of The Fair Folk who are all about kidnapping little girls. He becomes a hero there and slays the Goblin King who, with his last breath, recognizes that Kade is really a boy and names him his heir. Unfortunately, this causes the fairies to realize they accidentally kidnapped a boy, and they unceremoniously kick him back to Earth (and back to his transphobic family) never to return.
  • An interesting version comes up in The Wheel of Time with Balthamel/Aran'gar. Balthamel was a male Forsaken (powerful mages in service to the local God of Evil), who was defeated and killed. The Dark One was able to reincarnate him, but as a punishment for his failures elected to reincarnate him in a female body. However, despite his now female form, Aran'gar (as he was now known) still drew on the male half of the True Source.
  • The plot of Cemetery Boys revolves around Yadriel's desire to become a brujo, but his family won't let him because their magic is gender specific (women heal, men help spirits pass on). His family is convinced he'll be let down if he tries brujo magic because they don't think he's a real man, and refuse to let him try. Cue Yadriel going behind their backs to prove them wrong and kickstarting the plot when he successfully summons a spirit.
  • The short story Women's Need Calls Me features the sword Need choosing a closeted trans woman as her newest bearer, much to the shock of her old bearer, who sees Need as Gender-Restricted Gear. Need, who responds to the distress of women, also offered a magic solution to Pol's intense dysphoria.
  • Vigor Mortis: Vita meets a male crime boss, notices that he seems rather slender with a feminine voice, and consistently refers to him as male while yelling and berating him. She is rather confused when he claims that she has been extremely respectful. It's implied several times that the crime boss is a trans man (and he certainly doesn't have money for surgery or cosmetic biomancy), so he has to deal with constant misgendering, and was happily surprised that Vita didn't. By this point Vita mostly identifies people by their souls, so it never occurred to her that he was anything but male. She also mentions that most people's souls don't actually have a strong gender identity one way or the other, while there are some who are explicitly neither (which is why she uses gender-neutral pronouns on the hunter Song).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Supergirl (2015) introduces Nia Nal/Dreamer (billed as the first trans superhero in a major TV series), played by trans actress Nicole Maines. In her family, one woman in every generation inherits oneiromantic powers. While Nia’s family was always supportive of her and treated her as female, they assumed her sister would inherit the powers. Nia herself doesn’t appear to need convincing that she’s a woman (though she is insecure about the powers at first), but this plotline makes her status as such very clear.
  • Used as a plot point in Charmed (2018) for Josefina's character, a trans woman from a family of witches. Though they accept her as female, they discouraged her interest in witchcraft and she lacks an active power that cis witches naturally possess. Upon meeting the Charmed Ones, they agreed to help her find her power.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina:
    • Early in the series, Roz's grandmother, a Blind Seer, greets Susie Putnam as "a handsome fella." Roz is quick to correct her, but Susie seems to take it as a compliment, and later comes out as a trans man, changing his name to Theo and joining the boys' basketball team.
    • Late in the series, when the incubus spirit is exorcised from Dr. Cerberus, it is said that it will seek out a source of masculine energy. It makes a beeline for Theo.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pathfinder:
    • In story material:
      • Shardra Geltl, the iconic Shaman, came out as a trans woman after she developed her spiritual powers (which, for dwarves, are often connected to being trans; the dwarven word "Rivethun" can mean either of the above).
      • In the Adventurer's Guide, the Lawful Good Fiery Redhead oracle Xomar Glavit, who appears in the Adventurer's Guide, is implied to have had a similar journey to Shardra but from the opposite direction.
      • In the Wrath of the Righteous adventure path, it's revealed that Anevia Tirabade received a very expensive potion with which to complete her transition as a wedding gift from her wife Irabeth.
      • In First Edition, this potion was rather cheap as far as magic goes. Anevia got it after her wife sold her sword to afford it; Irabeth may have been ripped off. Of note, Irabeth is a Paladin of Iomedae and very much favored by her goddess; Iomedae certainly does not seem displeased about Irabeth's choice to do so for her wife. Also, no one in the crusade seems to give half a fig about Anevia's transition.
      • In Second Edition, a third level character might be able to scrimp up enough to afford one.
    • Starfinder makes Anevia's potion (now called the serum of sex shift) a fairly commonplace item. By second level, it probably costs less than your gun.
  • In Exalted third edition, one of the benefits of Lunar exaltation is that your default human form shifts to one that reflects your true self. Several trans Lunars are mentioned, including longstanding character Admiral Leviathan.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse has a villainous example with Eye, one of the Black Spiral Dancers. Whereas the sect's mystic rituals of glamor will usually just make someone more attractive for a time, she magically takes on the appearance of a beautiful woman instead. For an ugly villain who could otherwise never "pass" successfully, to be affirmed like this by the dark gods (not to mention given the chance to prey on unwitting men as a legitimately gorgeous vamp) is a dream come true.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: If one of the titular Hopeful is transgender, their Transformed self (idealized, magical form) will always be the gender they identify as.
  • In Shadowrun's 5th Edition sourcebook "Chrome Flesh", a comment by Winterhawk notes that trans people don't suffer from essence drain (basically damage to the soul caused by modifying one's body), heavily suggesting that they're moving closer to their natural state (as opposed to, say, the difference that replacing all your limbs with robotic arms would make).
    It’s actually something of a hot topic at MIT&T. KAM might like to attribute it to psychological reactions, but magical theory has found that people who identify as preop transgendered has a slight distortion to their auras. Almost imperceptible, but still there, though it doesn’t seem to affect them, health- or magic-wise. The crazy thing is, procedures to bring them closer to their self-perceived correct state cause this distortion to stabilize. Some people say it’s a matter of self-sabotage or a subconscious side effect of feeling disconnected from your true self, but most of the research done thus far strongly supports that operations aligning the body with the identity of the subject in a non-enhancement way don’t damage their metaphysical self at all. Pretty revolutionary stuff.
  • In Arkham Horror, investigator Stella Clark has this as part of her backstory. Before she came out as trans, she heard mysterious whispers calling her by her true name, which was part of what drew her into the world of Eldritch Abominations the investigators, well, investigate. The place the whispers came from and its connections in the lore imply the mystical recognition came from Nodens, the closest thing the Arkham Horror universe has to a Big Good.

    Video Games 
  • Deadly Premonition leaves the exact gender identity of deputy Thomas somewhat ambiguous, but they suffer a similar fate to the cisgender women victims, and at the end their spirit joins the rest of the "Forest Goddesses" in whatever afterlife York inhabits.
  • The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories uses this as a twist in one of its subplots ...or rather, the main plot. The entire game is a nightmare J.J. is having to help her regain the will to live, having been Driven to Suicide after being outed as a trans girl. Her appearance when she wakes up is very different (despite the fact she was already presenting as a girl at university), implying that her form was a sort of "true self". Maybe. The game was made by the same creator as Deadly Premonition, who made a point of asking several transgender people for their input on their experiences.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Characters with Ambiguous Gender (d'Eon and Enkidu) usually won't be affected with skills that target certain genders. For the Valentine and White Day events, they can both give chocolate (a feature for female Servants) and receive chocolate (a feature for male Servants).
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Cole (who is a spirit and capable of reading minds) identifies Krem, a trans man, using masculine pronouns. Even the Iron Bull, who is Krem's best friend and from a culture that fully accepts trans people, is surprised that Cole is using Krem's correct pronouns in their conversation.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: An in-game book reveals that some Argonian Lizard Folk choose to receive a magical Gender Bender by seeking the aid of the Hist — primordial Wise Trees that are central to Argonian religion and culture. It's described as a profound spiritual union with the Hist that's celebrated by the entire tribe.
  • Sunless Skies: The Fortunate Navigator is a trans man. During his questline, a devil at Death's Door congratulates the Navigator on making his physical form match his soul.
  • Legends of Runeterra: Several cards depict a journey of a group of climbers up the mountain of Targon. Tyari the Traveler starts out with masculine voice lines, and according to Word of God identifying as non-binary. At the peak, they ask the Arbiter to witness their true self. In the end, they transform into a Celestial - The Traveler, with a fully feminine voice and identity. Several other characters acknowledge the two as the same person - mundane people see a vague resemblance, while other magical sages recognize the transition in full, referencing the interactions they had with Tyari while speaking with The Traveler. And if you play both Tyari and The Traveler, she'll give her past self some extra encouragement for the journey.
  • The Kyrian of Bastion in World of Warcraft undergo trials and rituals to cleanse themselves of their previous mortal lives to eventually become their idealized selves to serve as the ones to ferry souls into the Shadowlands. Who or what you were before you died does not matter, and whatever body you choose is entirely your choice. Pelagos, a Kyrian Aspirant, was born and died as a woman while never feeling truly comfortable as a woman. Upon becoming an Aspirant, Pelagos took a male body and identity, feeling truly himself for the first time.
  • LISA: While it does not come up in the game itself, Word of God says that the Great White Flash did not spare trans women, whether or not they had transitioned.

    Web Animation 
  • In gen:LOCK, Valentina is a genderfluid person who presents as a woman at the start of the series but mentions early on that the urge to transition again is coming on strong. In the Mental World that all of the Holon pilots share, all the other pilots' mental avatars look exactly the way they do in real life, but Val appears as a man.

    Webcomics 
  • A page shared by Stjepan Šejić from a work-in-progress Humongous Mecha comic, Achilles Shieldmaidens, depicts a trans woman pilot describing how, in order to properly feel her mecha Aphelion as an extension of her body, she tricked its Self-Healing Phlebotinum into remodeling it into a feminine form. She even renamed the mecha to Ophelia.
  • Sleepless Domain:
    • Transgender girls are able to have the Dream and become Magical Girls. In Zoe's case, this happened before she'd even come out. Fans immediately started wondering how this would affect Zoe's physical transition, but the author said very firmly she's not going to get into that.
    • Word of God is that non-binary people can have the Dream and gain powers, but she said she's not going to bring it up in the comic because it's a complicated subject and she doesn't want it to seem like she's saying there is only one "correct" way for non-binary people to act.
  • El Goonish Shive: Susan is able to summon a hammer in Tedd's defence, a power that's designed only to work on behalf of women. While this was originally played as joke about Tedd being 'just that girly', Tedd later realizes they are genderfluid. After they learn that being transgender, or genderfluid, is a thing that exists outside of transformation magic.
  • Space Dread of Val and Isaac once avoided being hexed because a deadname doesn't count as true name for the purpose of curses (she chose her name after she'd begun using Space Dread as an alias, so only her and her mums know it). As a result, a Warlock who went out of the way to find her birth certificate was wasting his time; as shown in the page image, all it did was earn him a Boom, Headshot!.
  • In Demon Street, trans characters' chosen names are the names that are used in magic. When Norn is about to trade their name with the archivist in order to unlock their magic, they ask if it matters that it's not their given name. The archivist responds, "your real name is the name that's you. I don't need to know what you were called before."
  • Inverted in Magical Boy, where trans boy Max gains hereditary Magical Girl powers from his mother and hates it. This slowly works its way to being played straight, however, as his outfit gradually changes to reflect Max's own feelings and personality and becomes more masculine with each successive transformation. Over the course of a few pages, his dress has become shorter and less sparkly, he's been getting a skirt over slacks, sneakers instead of high-heels, and, in later strips, has become a tunic and pants, along with short, masculine hair. Eventually his magic wand seemingly snaps but still works fine, once Max realizes this means its actual appearance doesn't matter he resummons it as a magical sword instead.
  • Angels in the universe of Kill Six Billion Demons have physical forms sculpted from rock that contain their true forms, which can only exist in the Void. While these forms are generally androgynous or masculine, their true forms are far less humanoid. In the case of angels that identify as female (or are in denial), such as Deliciousnote  or 82 White Chainnote , their true form reflect this, being more reminiscent of humanoid women. Their leader, 2 Michaelnote , disapproves of this. When 82 White Chain becomes human by shattering her form and moving through Solomon David, her body is that of a female human.

    Western Animation 
  • The final arc of Steven Universe centers around the Diamonds attempting to reunite with Steve’s late mother Rose Quartz formerly their family member Pink Diamond. In a manner allegorical to a family struggling with their child or sibling transitioning, they refuse to believe that Steven is not Rose Quartz anymore, insisting on dressing him like Rose and addressing him by her old name. White Diamond eventually goes so far as to pull out Steven’s Gem, thinking this will force her daughter to manifest herself. But instead the separated Gem turns into a pure light version of Steven, who emotionlessly declares that Rose/Pink is gone forever. The Diamonds are shocked, but Steven is extremely relieved to learn that he is himself all along and not a reincarnation of his mother.


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