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Dolly Parton Wrote and Performed “Travelin’ Thru” for “Transamerica” Movie

Dolly Parton + Travelin' Thru

“Travelin’ Thru” is one of Dolly Parton’s original songs that she wrote and performed in 2005 for the film “Transamerica.” Appearing on the soundtrack of the film, the single is about a transgender woman who wanted to get to know her son. 

The song earned Parton a second Oscar nomination for Best Song and a nomination for Best Original Song for the Golden Globe Awards. The Broadcast Film Critics Association also nominated it for Best Song, and the Phoenix Film Critics Society awarded it Best Original Song in 2005.

Meaning Behind the Song 

Dolly Parton is known to be an outspoken advocate of controversial issues, including that of transgender equality. The lyrics of “Travelin’ Thru” reflected the struggle for identity and acceptance, common themes in situations where inequality is experienced.

Parton drew from her experiences growing up in East Tennessee, where she felt she wasn’t accepted. “My grandfather was a Pentecostal preacher. It was a sin to even pluck your eyebrows, and they thought it was a sin for me to be there looking like Jezebel,” Dolly said to USA Today

RELATED: Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings: Eight Episodes You Should Not Miss

“Travelin’ Thru” represents the central character’s struggle with identity and acceptance, with lines like “I’m out here on my journey, trying to make the most of it/ I’m a puzzle; I must figure out where all my pieces fit.” How she can identify with outcasts helped her get that Oscar nomination through the controversial song.

The New York Times wrote that she maintains the country’s historical role, not as a symbol of conservative patriotism (as it was rebranded by Richard Nixon’s “silent majority” in the 1960s) but as a workman’s music that gave outsiders a voice. For this reason, she penned the song “Traveling Thru” for the 2005 film “Transamerica.”

Dolly Parton said her motivation in writing the song was that “Some people are blind or ignorant, and you can’t be that prejudiced and hateful and go through this world and still be happy. One thing about this movie is that I think art can change minds. It’s alright to be who you are.”

Do you think you can relate to what Dolly Parton said that it’s “alright to be who you are”? Watch the video of “Travelin’ Thru” to find out. 

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