Ripley here to get all sappy and poetic about my personal journey with HRT! It’s been one hell of a trip, full of ups, downs, snags, traverses, switchbacks, and leaps of faith. All the research in the world couldn’t have prepared me for this experience–sometimes walking in someone else’s shoes isn’t enough, you gotta change your own shoes! I look forward to where this adventure will take me next.

Matt’s Call-to-Action Note!
As always, we’re able to commission these beautiful, unique comics from our cartoonists because of reader support on Patreon. You guys keep us running and in return we share behind-the-scenes posts and bonus comics with everyone who contributes- even if it’s just a dollar for a day! We’re a tiny operation so every contribution actually does make a noticeable difference.

– Oh Joy Sex Toy’s pay-per-comic Patreon; directly supports each comic
– The Erika Moens Monthly Patreon with her many art projects

And if you ever just want to make a one time donation, please reach out!

↓ Comic Transcript

Page 1
Ripley LaCross looks pensively and with a little worry on their face. They wear a kerchief around their neck and a wide-brimmed hiking hat, along with a camping backpack. They are deep in the woods.
Around them, the narrator says, "The term Trans Joy has appeared often in my travels, and just as often I've wondered... How does conscious and authentic joy feel in an increasingly cruel world? After nearly a decade of indecision that watched me slide toward rock bottom... This month marks my 2-year anniversary of starting HRT."

Ripley stands at a fork in the path, with signposts pointing in opposite directions. The narrator continues, "The anniversary of taking control of how I love myself."

Ripley sets off at a trot to the right, with the narrator stating, "And barreling down the path to find my true self."
A pink banner obscures part of the page with the text, "Read the rest on"

As Ripley reviews a handful of maps, the narration goes on, "Reading trans blogs and forums for nearly seven years prepared me for the odyssey I was embarking on. At least, I thought they had."

Chewing on a food bar, Ripley sits on a cushion under a tree, one leg outstretched as they mull over the maps. "They wrote about milestones. About embracing identities. And blossoming self-confidence. So, I wrote too. Page after page of my whys... My what ifs... And my if onlys."

Ripley looks out at the horizon, full of tree tops and further hills. "In the end, they all boiled down to one single question: Where is the true me?"

"A few weeks into treatment, answers appeared around the bend." The narrator states over the next series of images.
Ripley looks up smiling as the sun casts shadows on their face, the narration stating, "I found myself... smiling more."
As a river of small frogs fills the path, Ripley crouches low close to them in delight, holding their cheeks as they smile and laugh. "Laughing more."
Covered in sweat, Ripley pulls off their hat and takes a chug from their water bottle. "Caring for myself more."

In a single panel, four versions of Ripley cross the distance. On the furthest left they are sweating and painting, struggling with exhaustion. The back of their head is closely buzzed while their bangs and side locks hang down from under the brim of their hat. As they progress across the middle of the panel, Ripley loses the hat and proceeds to walk more upright, sweating less with each step. Their locks of hair grow out (while remaining buzzed on the sides) until they have a mini-pony tale. The narration explains, "Step by step, parts of me I never imagined would see the light of day came forward. And they just kept coming." At the farthest right side of the page, Ripley looks over their shoulder at their past selves.

Page 4
The narration reads, "I finally spoke stood, and walked like... Me." as Ripley stands before a new signpost with an arrow pointing to the right. Small wildflowers and grasses bloom at their feet. Gaining momentum, Ripley takes off down the skinny descending path, joy breaking through them as they careen to the bottom and kneel at a stream. "Hello there, Me." the caption says as Ripley smiles at their reflection in the water, their fingers dipped into the stream with purple and yellow wildflowers blooming around them.

As they brush the dirt from their knees, Ripley's narrator asks, "So, what does trans joy really feel like?" Ripley shields their eyes as they look upwards, smiling, and the wind blows bits of petals and pollen around them. "Everyone's different, but for me... It's like a deep reath of cold mountin air. Full of light and love."
Ripley looks out across the horizon with big trees and mountain silhouettes in the distance. "And like all adventures, you keep moving."
We now see from Ripley's point of view, a trail stretching on into the distance with a signpost pointing towards the trees and mountains many miles away. The native grasses and flowers fill the air with their pollen and loose bits that are light enough to be caught in the breeze. "No destination."
states the narrator. "No finish line. All joy."

Transcribed by Erika Moen on November 27, 2023