Hedwig Robinson (John Cameron Mitchell) is the lead singer of the rock band Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Hedwig is furious that her ex-girlfriend Tommy Gnosis (Michael Pitt) is playing her songs and becoming a big star. Both a copyright lawsuit and Tommy himself: Angry Inch’s small-scale venues are located in cities where Tommy plays sold-out concerts.
Between songs, Hedwig tells the story of her life to her incompetent listener. Through his narration and flashback, we learn that he grew up as a “girly boy” named Hansel, who lives in a small apartment with his domineering mother in East Berlin. Unable to find true love on that side of the Wall, Hansel dreamed of fleeing to the West in hopes of finding his other half. Enter Luther (Maurice Dean Wint), an American soldier who persuades him to undergo gender reassignment surgery so they can marry and move to America.
Hansel’s mother arranges surgery with a questionable doctor and the procedure goes horribly wrong. Hansel is left disfigured by the “hot inch with a chunk of meat here”. [his] where was the penis before [his] Never had a vagina.” Adopting his mother’s name, Hansel becomes Hedwig and moves with Luther to Junction City, Kansas, but their marital bliss is short-lived miles from home.
Lonely and depressed, Hedwig finds strength in a blonde wig and forms a band with several Korean military wives who still dream of finding her other half. That’s when she gets a babysitting job and meets Tommy, a naive Christian boy, and the two instantly bond.