Okay, but trans man Edmund Pevensie, right? He’s constantly being told that he’s getting too old to be pretending to be a boy (and Peter and Susan have started calling him Ed, no longer “indulging” him with Edmund), which has hardened him, made him bitter. His dad’s off at war and he’s stuck out in the middle of the country with his siblings and he just feels so ignored. Middle child, feelings denied, so of course he’s going to go along with this magnificent stranger who calls him a Son of Adam and listens when he speaks.
It takes Aslan acknowledging Edmund as a man before Susan and Peter realize what Edmund has been saying is true. And yes, his betrayal hurts, but now that they realize they’ve been betraying him for so long by denying his words, so how could it even compare? And trust is hard earned, years pass and mistakes get fewer and far between, so he eases a little, where he used to tense up, and relishes this freedom.
Going back to the real world hurts a little more every time. The first time, he stayed in Narnia for so long that he’d almost forgotten what it was like to be referred to as “she.” The first time he’s misgendered (only days in the real world, but decades in Narnian time), it’s in a note from his mother, and he wanders back into the wardrobe and cries. He knows there’s nothing in there but musty old coats and a wooden back panel, but he scratches gashes into the paneling anyway, desperately trying to find a way back in. (Lucy understands. She sits in the darkness with him and rubs his back while he sobs himself sick.)
Then he’s back in Narnia again and Caspian so easily refers to him as king and it hurts just as much as it feels so comfortable, so right. He doesn’t know how long this is going to last, doesn’t know if he’d rather grow up here again or leave before he gets comfortable.
It’s almost too much when he’s sent back a third time. Eustace learns the truth and seeing Caspian is like coming home and then just like that, his time in Narnia is done. He and Lucy will never come back. He’ll never be called a king or thought of as a son and he trusted Aslan, so why is this happening to him? He should be able to stay in this place where people know who he is and don’t treat him with cruel indifference. But he trusts Aslan, so he leaves.
He returns home with Lucy and Eustace and yes, his aunt and uncle and mother and father still call him a her, won’t call him Edmund, but Lucy will. Eustace does. And Peter and sometimes Susan. And it’s not right and it’s not enough, but if being a king has taught him anything, it’s patience and strength, compassion and discipline. So he bears it, though it weighs down on him. He bears it, though he gets yelled at for binding his breasts and gets caned at school for wearing his hair short and refusing skirts.
Because he’s always going to have Narnia. Every time someone accepts who he is, a little piece of Narnia returns to him. And he knows, somehow, he’s going to get back to Narnia one day.