If you don’t already know, I write a little series about a transgender superhero called Shero. When people first started asking me what the series was about, I used to respond with “It’s a superhero parody.” I’ve since opened my eyes to a truth even I didn’t see. Shero isn’t a parody in any shape or form. Shero is much more than that and I’m here to explain.
When I first set out to write Shero, my goal was simple — celebrate diversity in a way that hadn’t been done. I enjoyed the friendship of many a transgendered person and wanted to show them just how loved and necessary their existence was. After celebrating that in a serious fashion with A Blade Away, I realized enough dramatic blood had been spilled and the community needed something to raise them up with joy and laughter. What better way than with a superhero? Slap some three-inch heels and a little black dress on that superhero and you have the makings of something unique.
Since then, Shero has developed a bit of a cult following. Knowing that my work is developing into something special means the world to me — not on a selfish, look-at-me level. I cherish the acceptance of this series because it means that acceptance does, in fact, exist among the human beast. It means we can all set aside our difference and celebrate the human heart and soul — even if the celebration is over a man in a dress and heels… fighting crime… and looking damn good.
I’ve spent a great deal of my life fighting for acceptance — for myself, for others, for everyone. Equality matters more than many care to believe. That equality is the heart and soul of Shero. It’s setting aside gender, race, background, class, and the traps of crowd mentality in the hopes of keeping the human creature alive and kicking.
That’s not all. If I left Shero festooned only in the colors of acceptance, I’d have lost the battle from the beginning. It was also very necessary to make sure the series wasn’t afraid to make fun of itself. To that end, I allowed the narrator to develop a very snarky attitude. The narrator in the books has become a character in and of himself. He breaks what is called the “fourth wall” and interacts with the audience (often mocking them and having as much fun as a narrator should be allowed to have). The narrator serves as a sort of Greek chorus to the on-going shenanigans that surrounds Shero and Sentinel.
Over the years, I have learned that taking oneself too seriously is a recipe for heart attack, gray hair, and sleeplessness. So Shero never pulls his punches (especially when aimed at the narrator). As I near the completion of the third book in the series, Shero III: Death by Cosplay, I am reminded that when grace and humor go handed in hand, magic can happen. This is not a testament to my ability as an author, but to the ability of the human spirit to rise above the confines of hatred, bullying, ignorance, and fear. It is my hopes that Shero can be a vehicle to help those in need get beyond their fears and understand that acceptance so often begins from within.
So… how do you explain that which is “Shero”? You don’t. You let Shero do the explaining for you. And when Shero talks, you best be listening.
Shero is about life, about celebrating the grace and wonder that comes with accepting both the masculine and feminine qualities of humankind. Shero is about hope for the continued evolution of our collective heart. Shero is about breaking the rules in a quest for what is truly right.