The Journal, by Karin Bishop
Part 2: Exploring
This was the first full day of Amy’s new life, and it was interesting in that nothing special really happened, and yet it was so very, very important. Basically, we cleaned up the house and went to a movie and that was it. But it was so full—and fun!
I was having coffee when Amy walked in. Not a trace of Randy. She looked lovely, even sleepy as she was. And I’m going to keep using the feminine pronoun here, unless I’m trying to make a point. Amy had a deep sleep in her new nightgown, and her hair was all tousled, but the happiness that shone in her eyes made me think how lovely she is and just then, I realized with a jolt that, some day, she is going to be lovely in the eyes of a man. As much as that rocked me to my core, I knew that I’d have to start thinking things like that, like the mother of any teenaged girl. Of course, it feels even stranger because she was a teenaged boy only a few days ago.
No, she wasn’t. Well, at least outwardly. Oh dear, this is all so confusing!
Anyway, she had a melon slice and toast for breakfast without me even suggesting it. She said that she’d have to watch her waistline, and giggled self-consciously. I am just continually surprised by how easily she’s adopted feminine mannerisms—no, not adopted … she’s allowing her true nature to finally be seen. And it’s a feminine nature—like the giggles, use of her hands, and even the way she bounced up out of the chair and went to the sink, on her toes. I have a beautiful, bouncing baby girl—only she’s already a teenager. Oh, God, am I in for it now!
I joined her in her room to help put things away, in a flurry of trying things on, clipping tags, and teaching her to hang up or fold for drawers. All along we kept a running dialogue going about clothing, undergarments, modesty, girl/boy things. It was so very wonderful, but there was this little core of sadness that I couldn’t put my finger on. It was only just before I started this entry, at the end of the day, that I realized what it was. I wasn’t sad because of any thoughts that I was losing my son. I was sad that I’d missed Amy’s girlhood. We’d never had those mother/daughter baths when she was a little girl. We’d never played dress-up in Mommy’s clothes, her little feet dwarfed in my pumps. Oh, and the special dresses for holidays! We couldn’t share those memories, and so there’s a bittersweet taste to welcoming my beautiful—but teenaged—daughter.
Once we got everything put away, Amy came to help me with household chores. Randy always did, too, but I knew he did it out of duty. Amy did it cheerfully. She’d pulled her hair back with a scrunchie, and so she was wearing her first ponytail, bouncing high on her head. I did some fiddling with it, telling her what I was doing, so it looked even cuter on her. And the ponytail suited her, especially when I pulled a few strands down in front of her ears. Then I tucked them back and we got to work. She’d put on flared khaki shorts and a short lime tank top. At one point she raised up on tip toe to put away some linens, and seeing her waist and belly button, I was struck again by that curvy waist and how cute she is—and that looking like that, she’d be encountering boys very soon, without the benefit of years of learning the ways of boys around girls, and girls around boys.
We changed the sheets, did the laundry, ironed, dusted, vacuumed, and generally got the house changed to a winter mode. I fixed some ice tea and we relaxed on the patio; the day was crisp and clear and we got chilled quickly, but put on sweaters and stayed out in the clean air. We’ve been so lucky; I think yesterday was the last warm day we’ll see until spring! I noticed that she wrapped her arms around her, fists balled in the sleeve-ends, like I had always done. Oh, there were so many things about girlhood I can share with her—and so many we’ve missed out on already!
We’d been talking about classic movies for some reason. I think we’d been talking about how women were treated. For some reason, I decided to check on the movies in town, and asked her if she wanted to see the new Drew Barrymore movie. She leapt at the offer, then pulled back. I realized the reason: she was worried about being recognized. So, like the mall, we went to a theatre across town. I changed into slacks and a twinset; she chose a denim skirt (I’d bought her one like the one Carla had loaned her) and an oversized fisherman’s sweater of mine over a tank. She’d fluffed her hair out and looked adorable.
I could tell she was looking around at the theatre, but we were in a whole other school district. I did notice boys were definitely looking at her—even with their dates—and, bless her, she seemed oblivious. That would change very soon, I knew. The movie was delightful; something we could both enjoy. We talked about it on the way home, and she said something interesting. I’ll have to mix pronouns to get the point across. In the past, if Randy had gone to a movie like this, he would have felt embarrassed, but not for the usual reason—a boy stuck watching a ‘chick flick’, that is. Instead, he responded to the movie—or rather, the movie struck a chord in the Amy part of him—and he was ashamed to feel any response that could be perceived as feminine. Thank God, he didn’t overcompensate like so many men do, going all tough and macho because they don’t want to be thought effeminate. But it had diminished any pleasure he could have had, and added to his depression and worries about himself. No wonder he was always so somber!
But tonight, free at last to watch the movie as a girl, Amy enjoyed herself and we talked about the boy/girl relationships in the movie. I mentioned the boys who had been watching her when we stood in line. She blushed and stammered an apology. Instead, I embraced her and told her how proud I was that she could be attractive to boys—and in less than 24 hours since putting on her first skirt! I wanted her to know that there would be no problem with me about her being attractive to boys, and being attracted to them. I understand—and I hope she does—that if she’s a girl, it’s perfectly natural. I’ll keep my worries to myself for late at night. She was just so happy!
We kept up the happy chatter when we got home, and after she’d washed and changed into a nightie, I offered to brush her hair and give her a sleep braid. We watched the news while I did this, and we felt so close! Her hair fell shimmering below her shoulders; this was really the first time I saw how long it’s gotten. I couldn’t help but notice the straps of the nightie on her shoulders; she didn’t have the typical male shoulder line, either, just the graceful feminine slope of shoulder and that surprisingly creamy skin—I wish I had her complexion! I had this pang that, genetically, she’d really been shortchanged as a boy. Well, that only strengthens my determination to correct things for her.
A news story came on about a rape near the college, and we both involuntarily tensed. We started talking about it after Amy asked, ‘Why do men do that?’ It just reinforced that even her thought processes were feminine. I guess they always had been, but Randy had kept them under lockdown. But now, Amy was free. We talked about rape being about power and not sex; and then we talked some more about boys and girls, men and women. In the back of my head was a little voice that gave thanks that she couldn’t become pregnant or have to deal with periods, but I knew she’d have a mountain of difficulty all her own. I promised myself I’d do everything I could to help her, and went back to brushing her hair. I braided it, telling her how to do it herself. We hugged, and she went off to sleep.
I’m finishing this entry right now before I go to sleep. I think I’m probably going to bed, actually, because I doubt if I’ll sleep. My beloved new daughter has given me much to think about.
Another long day. I didn’t get much sleep last night, thinking about what the future might hold for Amy. I decided that we’d have to have some serious talks; it’s been a joy so far but what about school?
I was having my second cup of coffee, reading the Sunday paper, when Amy came into the kitchen. Unlike me, she was well rested, and seemed the very picture of a healthy teenaged girl. I marveled again at how naturally feminine her movements were; she was wearing white capris and a scoop-necked boat shirt, her hair up in a ponytail, and as she reached for the bowls I saw her belly button for a moment. Once again it struck me how typically female her waistline looked, and again I wondered, has Randy always been this way and I just never noticed?
I didn’t remember buying the capris, but Carla apparently had loaned them to Amy, just as girls typically share clothes. Even her relations with Carla are naturally girlish. Amazing. I mentioned some sales on at the mall, and we decided to take one of the outfits back and see if there was something else she liked better. I was surprised at her willingness to go out in public as Amy; maybe it was because we’d ‘broken the ice’ last night at the movie, but this was daytime and just seemed a more forthright declaration, so to speak, that she was Amy to the world. But I had a dark thought—was she only living in a fantasy? Was she fully aware that tomorrow morning Randy would be sitting in school? I found that that thought disturbed me more than I would have imagined; I didn’t want to lose Amy. But at the expense of losing Randy? This plagued me all day.
On to the mall. We returned the dress with no problem, and there were a couple of blouses and a skirt that looked cute and were on sale. Then for the first time I saw some embarrassment on Amy’s part, but the why surprised me. She shyly asked if she could get some tights. I thought she meant like stockings, so I said ‘certainly’, but she corrected herself. She wanted a leotard, and she was very specific: blue, short cap sleeves, bunched bodice. Blue tights and white tights. I asked her why, and she said, ‘Aerobics?’ but then admitted that she’d always wanted that particular leotard set. I chuckled and hugged her to put her at ease, and as we were walking away (after buying the leotards, of course) she sheepishly asked if maybe she could take a dance class! I almost stopped walking and stared; instead I got myself together and decided we both required fruit smoothies.
Of course, the smoothies were just the excuse to sit and talk. As we took the first cold sip, I studied my daughter; I reached out and pushed a strand of hair behind her ears and got a smile from her. I also noticed how nice her ears looked with the earrings. Sitting with her knees together, ankles crossed, and one hand in her lap, she looked so natural, and there was that graceful straw-handling thing again when she sipped her drink! I realized with a start that my memories of Randy were becoming indistinct; that the child of mine across from me was my daughter, and always had been. I’d just never really noticed …
We began talking, and I found that she’d been wondering what the future would bring, too. She was dreading tomorrow. Even though she’d only been Amy for a few days, she felt such an improvement in her feelings about life that the thought of putting Amy away and returning to Randy was painful. I reminded her that she was going to have enough trouble, even as Randy, with her pierced ears and the feminine mannerisms that have materialized out of nowhere.
No; I thought—not ‘out of nowhere’. The feminine mannerisms have always been there. It surely is one of the reasons boys had beaten Randy up. Kids have a strange radar, sensing kids that don’t fit into neat categories. Randy didn’t fit in because Amy was the reality. She tried to act like Randy, which struck me as funny just then, both because of the way she was dressed, and the fact that it obviously took great effort to act masculine.
I put the question to her, point-blank: ‘Do you want to live as Amy part-time or full-time?’ I knew there was no way that Amy would go away forever, and I took comfort in that. The only question was whether Randy could function at school and become Amy on weekends, or make the much more difficult transition to full time.
Amy didn’t hesitate. ‘Mom, I am and always was your daughter. It was ... society that told me I had to be male, and let’s face it; I sucked at it. I know it’s going to be tough, but I don’t want to be Randy ever again, even for a minute. I know now that no matter what I’m wearing, I’m a girl. So I guess I am, always was, and always will be your daughter. Please, please, can I live full time as Amy?’
What could I say? What were my options? And, come to think of it, would I really want it any other way? I told her, ‘It will be tough, but I support you 110%. I love you, Amy, and I wouldn’t be honest if I said that I preferred Randy. Sorry if that hurts’—I don’t think it really did—‘but as a woman, as me, I love the idea of a daughter, and I love you as that daughter. I can’t promise you won’t ever have to be Randy again—we both know that might come as soon as tomorrow—but let me start the ball rolling tomorrow morning. Maybe make some calls today. In the meantime, there’s a sale on something I think you’re going to need.’
Bless her, she protested that I’d already spent so much, but I knew something that she didn’t—she needed a vanity, and Sears was having a furniture blowout. I’d rather get her a beautiful vanity from a top-quality manufacturer, but the sale was on and it was a start. So we bought the vanity—she fell in love with it instantly, the darling—and it will be delivered this week.
I decided I’d treat Amy to an indulgence, but one that I think might be important: I took her to Maureen. All the years I’d been going to the salon, I’d talked about Randy, and I trusted Maureen as a person. I did something crafty, though, that was kind of fun. Amy thought I was checking on something for myself, so I told her to just sit in the waiting area and read a magazine. Then I pulled Maureen out of earshot of her employees and told her that I’d like her to do a makeover on my child. ‘Is Randy doing something weird for Halloween?’ she asked, and I almost burst out laughing. I told her, ‘No, we haven’t even talked about Halloween. But Randy’s in the waiting area.’ I followed her out innocently. She scanned the people in the lounge; two old ladies sitting together, and a pretty teenager in capris, shopping bags at her feet, legs crossed at the knees and swinging her sandal, reading Seventeen and idly twirling her hair around one finger. Maureen turned to me, opened her mouth, frowned, spun back to look at the girl, and then back to me—and the look on her face was priceless! ‘God damn it!’ she whispered. ‘One question: Did you do that or did he?’ I told her, ‘She did.’ Maureen smiled and nodded, ‘About damn time. She needs work, but she’s pretty. And she can be a knockout.’ She grinned and said, ‘Like her mom’ and I could have hugged her right there, but the old ladies looked up and we went to business mode and I told her what I wanted. But I still blushed ...
Maureen took the shocked Amy—I introduced her as, ‘my daughter, Amy’, of course.—without hesitation and with a warm smile. Randy knew Maureen from meeting me there over the years, and Maureen—bless her—treated Amy like a girl right from the start—like she’d always been a girl. I had some calls to make so I watched her follow Maureen into her salon and found myself getting teary.
I called Joe Livingston and asked about the legal implications. If I’d called him tomorrow at the office, the call would have been logged in and billing would begin, but I presumed on our long friendship to call him on a Sunday afternoon. And I took the chance that he’d still be sober. He filled me in on our course of action, and I was surprised that he wasn’t surprised. ‘Anyone that’s ever met Randy has assumed him to be gay,’ he told me. ‘I’m sorry how that sounds, but it’s true. If he’s—if she’s truly transgendered, it’ll be both easier and tougher. The path is pretty well laid out, but it’s tougher because she’s a minor. But with your support that shouldn’t be insurmountable. And I think she’ll be a lot happier this way.’
That accomplished, I called Gloria and told her what was going to happen tomorrow morning. She wasn’t surprised, either, and I blessed her for her friendship and assistance. Next I called Andrea and asked if we might be able to see Dr. Kirby tomorrow; she was going to check first thing in the morning and call my cell. Then it was time to head to back to Maureen, but at the last minute I detoured and picked up a fresh cut rose from the flower kiosk.
I had to wait another fifteen minutes—Maureen came out and told me to relax. I thumbed through a magazine without reading and wondered what was taking so long. Were there problems? Did someone realize Amy was male and cause a ruckus? I sat there getting more and more worried, and then Maureen led my daughter out to me.
I can’t possibly describe how fantastic she looked! Maureen had worked wonders with me on more than one occasion, but this time she’d really outdone herself. Amy’s hair had been styled and highlighted; it framed her face and was marvelously feminine. I’d asked that her eyebrows be shaped, and they flowed in a graceful arch, giving her eyes a softly knowing look. The makeup was flawless; her eyes positively shimmered and there was the gentlest girlish blush on her cheeks. Her lips were a sweet rosebud. In the words of the old books, she ‘bloomed’. They’d changed her into the black skirt and one of the blouses we’d bought, a lacy poet’s blouse. My daughter was stunning!
I stammered, I stuttered, I made a fool of myself, and they loved it! We had a silly little hug fest right there in the lobby, and then Amy and I headed back to the car, with two events occurring on the way.
First, there were boys—and men—darn near walking into walls when they saw Amy. She was blushing furiously, and even though I told her to be proud and get used to the attention, I could tell she was cringing. We’re going to have to have a much more serious talk about sex much sooner than I’d thought!
The second event occurred when we passed the Macy’s window. There was a strapless cocktail dress in a shimmery green fabric with a dagged hem. It stopped Amy dead in her tracks and she just stared at it. I asked her what was on her mind, and I saw tears form in my beautiful daughter’s eyes. I handed her a tissue, but she blinked them back and didn’t ruin her makeup. She was silent the rest of the way to the car, and when I asked her what was wrong, she floored me by asking, ‘Oh, Mom; when will I have breasts?’
I have to admit that I hadn’t really been thinking specifically that far, but of course that would be on her mind. Because the dress was strapless, as much as she wanted it (and would look ravishing in it) she didn’t have the boobs to hold it up. I put my arm around her and she wailed, ‘Am I just fooling myself?’ I assured her, no, things would work out, and would start to move forward tomorrow. She sniffed all the way home, and the breast issue led to other questions, about boys, about kissing, about whether this was all a front for being gay, and she was tied up in knots.
She quickly washed and got into bed, and after I kissed her goodnight I had to sit and think for awhile. Are we fooling ourselves? Have I gone completely bonkers, gone round the bend, off my rocker … to have the absolute certainty that my child is female, without even a single doctor’s opinion? And that by all that’s right she should be able to live as a female?
But, damn it, she is female! It’s as plain as
Had to get up and pace there. I wrote that Amy was tied up in knots; I’m all knotted up! I thought I was helping her, being a loving mother, but have I been unwittingly cruel? To have the happy two days that we’ve shared, and it all might come crashing down around us tomorrow? That would be agony for her, and for me. Did I let my desire for a daughter run away with me? I just went forward without thinking it all through. My God, I had her hair styled, her eyebrows waxed, and Randy’s supposed to be in school tomorrow? What was I thinking? Was Amy just some Barbie stand-in, some doll that I got to dress and play with this weekend?
Okay, enough pacing. No, no, and no. Well, and a yes. No to the things about Amy being a doll for me. But, yes—I have to be brutally honest—yes, it will be unspeakably cruel and awful if she’s told that she cannot be Amy. Because, damn it, she is Amy! I just noticed that I already wrote that, more or less. Well, that’s what I’m going to cling to. That’s what I’m keeping in mind, guiding my actions. My child is female. My child is a girl named Amy. My child should be allowed to grow up to—No; my child will be allowed to grow up to be a woman named Amy. Everything else, everybody else, is going to have to accept that fundamental truth—Amy’s a girl. They’re just going to have to!
And how could I not even think until now about her breasts? I worked up a full head of steam writing that last part, closed things up and went to the bathroom and suddenly remembered the cocktail dress. And Amy’s wail about her breasts. This is so very, very strange. When she tried on her very first dress, I’d noticed her bust. I bought her bras, so somewhere in my little brain the idea was percolating; it was just easier to think about a bra stuffed with ...whatever she stuffed it with than to think about her breasts filling the cups. All girls stuff their bras at some point; I did, too. But I hadn’t really thought about the physical changes that would be coming, if we can proceed as I hope. Tomorrow, tomorrow ...that damn Annie song won’t stop going round in my head.
But as I sat there, I thought about the pure ... strangeness of my son developing breasts. When I thought of my child as Amy, it made perfect sense, of course, but it was kind of oddly rootless, because I don’t have fourteen years of raising a girl to base things on. Of course, if she’d been born a girl, then her breasts would already have started, probably around 11 or 12, when mine began. I remembered how proud I was of my ‘little nubbins’, as my grandmother called them. I died with embarrassment every time she said that, but that’s part of girlhood—the constant wonders and worries about your body. And the embarrassments; the first time a boy noticed you and shouted ‘boobies!’; the first time you got ‘accidentally’ felt up on the stairs between classes. Oh, and comparing yours with your best friends’, and there’s always that girl in class who has spectacular boobs, and how come she’s so lucky?
I suddenly realized how totally unprepared Amy was for the male reactions in the mall today. The whole gradual development every girl experiences cushions us for the ... attack of male attention. The non-stop onslaught. Amy didn’t have that; she’d gone from trying to be invisible, worrying about discovery, to being a knockout and the center of attention. I’d have to work with her on keeping a grip on reality.
Ah, but which reality? Randy dressing up, or Amy living on her own? We’ll find out tomorrow. Now if I can just get that damn singing orphan out of my head!
Oh, boy, was I unprepared for today. I thought I had everything planned, and knew how I was feeling, but Life had its own agenda ...
One of the benefits of working in insurance (if you’re good at it) is that you know a lot of people, and I used my network of friends. That’s how I could make Sunday calls to set everything up. Bright and early this morning while I was still having coffee, Andrea called to tell me that Dr. Kirby could see Amy at ten. I’d thought of going to school first, but on reflection, everything hinged on what the doctor said.
I had Amy wear a denim skirt and simple blouse, a light blue with delicate sprigs of tiny white flowers. With her pierced ears and accessories, she looked like any other teenaged girl, which is what I hoped the doctor would see. I called Gloria, who said we could meet with Principal Darrington after 4:30. That would allow us time with the doctor.
Dr. Kirby hasn’t seen Randy other than for occasional checkups; if nothing else, my child has been blessed with great health. And maybe because Randy didn’t roughhouse with the other boys, he didn’t have the breaks and sprains that meant trips to the doctor. Anyway, Dr. Kirby was totally unprepared for Amy. Totally and completely! For that matter, Gloria—who has seen Randy at least once a month for years, because of our Thursday bridge games—was stunned. Then she jumped up from her desk and hugged Amy; that seemed to be the normal female reaction. Dr. Kirby thought I was pulling a trick at first, substituting a real girl, even though Gloria had prepared him.
There really wasn’t any preparation possible for how natural Amy looked. Amy had to change into a paper gown, and was completely naked under it, as requested by Dr. Kirby after he realized it was Randy (or had been Randy!).
After a few awkward moments, the doctor poked and prodded and took blood and urine samples and asked a few personal questions. He gently felt Amy’s chest, and then came the really unpleasant moment. I know it would be painfully embarrassing for Amy, so I’d prepped her in the car, and sure enough—Dr. Kirby put her in stirrups. Again, he was ever so gentle, but I’m sure it was humiliating for Amy; she was blushing furiously. I reached out to hold her hand, and she gripped mine tightly. Dr. Kirby was feeling around ‘down there’, and then measuring and making notes.
There followed a discussion about testicles, and I think we all shared equally in the embarrassment of the topic! There was the startling fact that Randy’s—I have to use that word to keep things straight—Randy’s testicles have not descended …sort of. Apparently, there are definite ‘before-and-after’ stages that define ‘descended testicles’, more commonly known as ‘his balls dropped’. The testicles are either in the abdomen, or working their way down the tubes into the scrotal sac; it’s hard to define whether they’re parked or moving, so to speak. But that’s the ‘before’ stage; the ‘after’ stage is once they’ve cleared the abdominal wall and dropped into the scrotal sacs. Once there, they can be manipulated back up if needed—Dr. Kirby said Sumo wrestlers do this—but it’s a bit of work to get them to cooperate. So they’re either up inside, or down outside.
Well, Randy’s are, first of all, much smaller than the ‘average testicles of a boy his age’, as Dr. Kirby said. And second, they slide—slid?—easily back up, with no resistance. And back down. There was no sense of before-and-after; they moved too freely. Apparently that’s odd enough that Dr. Kirby’s eyebrows rose so high I thought they’d touch his hairline! He said that—I’ll use the common terms instead of medical—that even if Randy’s balls dropped that morning, they shouldn’t move so free and easy. I reminded him that he’d said they were smaller; might that have something to do with it? He frowned and gave one of those non-committal ‘maybe’ shrugs, but said further testing was indicated.
He stepped back, told Amy ‘You can get dressed now. dear’—and I had to grin because unconsciously he’d already assigned her to the female gender!—and started to write out his notes in the file, then stopped and jotted a note for us to take to Dr. Nachtman down the hall—a psychiatrist. I knew that would happen, but still had the first reaction of ‘there’s nothing wrong with her head!’ and of course that was part of the question.
Dr. Kirby was running Amy’s tests—and probably still writing his notes!—while we met with Dr. Nachtman, a pleasantly plump fellow like my cousin Larry. Anyway, he has some serious diplomas on his wall—Yale and Johns Hopkins, I noticed—and I felt better than ‘the shrink down the hall’ feeling I’d had at first. He had a nice manner but serious questions. I could tell that Amy was truthful, even when she answered, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I haven’t thought about that yet’. I got the feeling, though, that those answers satisfied the doctor. I guess they’re wary of somebody that has all the answers—probably coached.
We broke for lunch and Amy and I opted for salads at a bistro down the street. Once we were out of the clinic, it was just mother and daughter having lunch, with nothing out of the ordinary. I could feel her relief to be past the humiliating examination. We had decided that we weren’t going to talk about what was going on at the clinic, because we’d spent every moment together and we really didn’t want to speculate what the doctors were thinking, anyway. The waiter couldn’t fill our water glasses often enough, because of my attractive daughter. I am so proud of her!
Back at the clinic, we met with both doctors. They’d actually gotten together for this, with Dr. Nachtman sitting in Dr. Kirby’s office. There were results of the tests and some preliminary guesses, and general conclusions. In a nutshell, Amy should be a girl. As the kids say, ‘Duh!’ While there were no abnormalities, there was a general predisposition to the feminine, in terms of her blood chemistry. There were still some chromosomal tests to be done, but they’d probably confirm that she leaned towards the feminine. Stripped of clothes and makeup, totally naked, anybody could still see that her body was quite feminine, I guessed, but the doctors had to have tangible evidence.
The less tangible evidence came from the psychiatrist’s interview, and Dr. Nachtman scared us at first by announcing, ‘she does not fit the usual parameters for a transsexual or transgendered male.’
I didn’t see how that could be possible; Amy looked stricken and I started to protest when the doctor dropped the other shoe. ‘She does, however, fit the usual parameters for a healthy heterosexual female teenager.’ He chuckled at our confusion; Dr. Kirby nodded.
Apparently, there are little tell-tales of transsexuals, like at what age they felt they were in the wrong gender, how they handled it, how they feel about themselves and their bodies, and so on. Amy’s answers were not those of the typical transsexual; they fit a genetically-born girl! The doctor said that unless she was the most gifted actress and coached in the proper advanced psychology, there’s no way that, mentally or psychologically, she could be anything else than a girl. It would be cruel and inhumane to try to force her to live as a boy.
That was a huge load off our minds, but there still remained the question of how will she live? Full-time girl? Part-time boy, part-time girl? Girl with penis? Reassignment surgery? It seemed obvious to me that Amy wants to live the rest of her life as a full-time girl, with hormones and reassignment surgery, but they still had to go through this whole procedure—I think to satisfy the HMOs and any regulatory agencies. They had to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’, so to speak. And to change every ‘M’ to an ‘F’, I hoped.
Dr. Kirby would have the chromosomal results tomorrow but his considered prognosis was hormone therapy now and surgery later. I can’t tell you how glad I was, and a little sad, too, for losing Randy. But—gaining Amy is so amazingly special!
The psychiatrist said that the next step was called a Real Life Test, and that Amy was already on her way. Dr. Nachtman gave us documents to give to the school, and we left the clinic walking on air!
We left at three; stopped to get some Diet Cokes at McDonald’s, and worked our way through the traffic to Randy’s school. Most of the kids had gone home, but there were a few extra-curricular activities going, and one of the boys literally walked into a door while staring at Amy! I didn’t have the opportunity to ask her how she felt about that, because Gloria hurried out, stared at Amy herself, and then gave her the usual female welcoming hug.
Gloria told us that the principal had a bad day, and maybe we should reschedule. I made a huge mistake by saying that we’d see him anyway. I guess I was too buoyed up by the doctors’ recommendations.
It was hell. The whole upshot is that I think the principal is anti-gay, and he refused to even consider the name Amy and declared that Randy was just a gay boy in a dress. And he was somehow certain that Randy was therefore a sexual predator. No way he would allow it, he yelled. He had to protect his students, he thundered. The school wasn’t going to hell on his watch, he roared, and demanded that Randy attend tomorrow dressed as a boy, and would be policed to make certain he didn’t prey on others. Amy cried. That really set him off. He threatened me with legal action, I threatened right back, and pulled Amy out of there.
I was boiling mad, humiliated, and so-so-so sorry I didn’t listen to Gloria, but I don’t think it would have mattered. I think there’s a fundamental problem with the principal, so it’s obvious that Amy can’t go there. And it’s obvious that Randy can’t either, because I don’t trust the principal not to single Randy out for special attention from thugs who think like him. My God, what a moron that man is! What an asshole! How dare he subject my poor girl to that tirade!
Well, instead of getting everything neatly tied up by Monday evening, I’d managed to botch things. But as I fumed on the way home—Amy stared out the window, alone with her thoughts—I realized that maybe this was better. Even if the principal had been the most compassionate, understanding supporter of Amy’s transition, there’d still be the classmates who knew Randy, and there were bound to be a few idiots who’d make her life miserable. So maybe a clean break with the school was for the best. I called Gloria and got her before she left, and she assured me it’d be no trouble getting Randy’s records. She was so upset about what had happened, the poor thing!
So it’s left it for me to find a better school for Amy. A school where they didn’t know Randy, and will only know my pretty girl.
By the time we got home it was quite chilly; already in the 40s and not quite dark. I realized that Amy didn’t have a coat; her arms were crossed and her shoulders hunched just like any cold girl. That made me realize just how many things she doesn’t have, despite our shopping spree. A winter coat, tights, leggings, scarves ... I made a list later when she went to sleep. Money isn’t tight for us, but I will have to watch the spending. One thing I thought about; Amy will be fifteen in a few months, and can start looking for a job; the usual fast food or boutique kind of thing. I think that will better help her assimilate into society, and give her confidence. And cash of her own.
One other thing—two other things that came up when I noticed Amy was cold (and I’m ashamed of my poor humor!) were her nipples. They were hard points over her crossed arms. I haven’t put it in this journal yet because so much happened today but I’ve got to mention this so it might as well be now. Amy has … no, I’m going to change that to Randy, because it’s not odd if it’s Amy.
Wow! I know what I’m talking about and even I’m confused by that last sentence! If this was a computer journal, I’d just delete the sentence and re-type it, but as long as my handwriting holds up I’ll just plow ahead with an explanation.
What I mean is this, and I have to state it this way with male terms: Today when Randy stripped down for Dr. Kirby, it was apparent that Randy had protruding nipples. His breasts are budding! Even maybe a teeny-tiny bit of mounding … So Randy is developing, and needless to say or write, that’s very odd if Randy is a boy!
Now, my confusing sentence should be clearer—it is not odd if Amy my daughter is budding, because that’s normal for a girl. Although, it is odd that she’s budding now at 14, when she should have around 11 or 12, like I did and my mom did. And the fact that there is any budding on Randy-or-Amy’s chest is so surprising that I didn’t immediately process the fact.
Dr. Kirby’s eyebrows really got a workout today, and seeing Randy’s chest caused them to raise yet again. I wrote that Amy and I were together all the time, but there was one brief moment when she was dressing; Dr. Kirby kind of plucked my sleeve and we left Amy to dress. Outside the door, he asked me once again if it was possible that Amy was using my birth control pills. I assured him that I am not taking any, have none at home, and was unaware of Randy or Amy taking any pills—it’s just not her nature. He nodded his agreement, murmured something about a ‘Tanner Two, maybe Three’ and at that point Amy came out and the matter was dropped.
But obviously, if my daughter’s breasts are budding, she is not going to any school as Randy!
My mind was awhirl when I got home, about finding a school, about the doctors’ revelations, about Amy’s breasts—I realized that while I had seen her in lingerie, I hadn’t actually seen her bare chest until today because everything’s been moving so darn fast. But she had asked me—when she saw that pretty dress—she’d asked about ‘when will I have breasts’ and I’d thought she meant ‘when would she start developing’, meaning some months after she was allowed to start taking hormones, so it all meant months and months away—a year or more, maybe?
But she must know that she’s budding; Carla probably knows, too, and now I know it, finally, along with Dr. Kirby. The ‘how’ will be worked out by the doctor, I’m sure, but the ‘when’ is already here. So now the question ‘when will I have breasts’ is very different—it’s the typical girl’s lament that they’re not there yet, they’re not big enough yet, they’re not really big enough to call breasts yet … all of which just further proves the truth that my child is a typical girl.
So now we’ll have to factor in bras, some basic mother-and-daughter talks about breasts and their care and comfort and self-exams and embarrassing nipples reacting to cold and boys and …
All of those things would be hashed out later, I thought, and I just wanted us to have a restful night after the emotional craziness of our day. I made dinner for us; she came to the kitchen to pitch in but I told her to go relax, there’d be plenty of meals she’ll be helping with, so enjoy the off time. It wasn’t particularly special, just some steamed vegetables and rice with chicken strips, but it was fast and easy and I didn’t have to think about it.
That’s because despite my intentions to wait until later in the evening, alone, to think over everything, my brain was already busy. I was thinking about our options. Going back to that school is out of the question. That means a transfer to another school (I couldn’t home-school her, anyway). In October! Assuming anybody would take a student this late in the semester, the question is whether it should be public or private. And if private, co-ed or girls only? My initial thoughts are co-ed, public or otherwise. A school full of girls can be vicious; I still have psychic scars from my time at Brier Academy. And co-ed would allow her to learn how to interact with boys. Interact; there’s a loaded word!
I was wondering about the expense of a tutor when Gloria called, apologizing about the lateness; after we’d left she made a call to a friend at the school district and found that we’d have no trouble getting a variance to go to another school. Gloria was still spitting mad at the principal’s behavior. Well, we were out of there and thanks to Gloria, we have two good school choices.
The first option is Garfield High School, which is a pretty good school across town. Randy’s grades (I have to write it like that because that’s how the records currently state it) are good enough that he would qualify for an advanced program they offered; we had heard about it but never looked into it. Gloria chuckled and said there’s an unspoken but very real bias in favor of females in the district’s advanced programs; she said this almost as if it was another way to thumb her nose at her own principal. Because of the unacknowledged bias and transferring Randy’s grades as Amy’s, she was a shoo-in—assuming that her grades stayed at the same level (and why not?)—plus they have a bus service on this side of town for kids in the program! The extra benefit is that Garfield isn’t in the same sports league; they never play against Randy’s old school so there wouldn’t be a problem with someone recognizing her at a game.
The other option is The Steadman Academy, which is pricey but top-notch. Again, Randy’s grades, translated to Amy’s grades, are more than good enough, and if we scrimp a bit we could afford the tuition. Amy won’t have to board there, and they also have a bus service, so that’s a saving, and it’s co-ed, so that’s a plus. But I lean towards Garfield, because, ironically, it’s in a better part of town. Steadman is in a grand old mansion, but the neighborhood has changed and toughened over the years. I decided we’ll apply to the advanced program at Garfield; we can always keep Steadman as a fall back.
Since Gloria and I have been friends for a long time, she had a strong recommendation that had nothing to do with our choice of schools. Since Hartelius was a somewhat-unusual name—and was actually the name of my dead husband—she suggested that Amy choose a new last name to further distance herself from any lingering memories somebody might have of a boy named Hartelius. Brilliant! Of course; I could almost slap myself for not thinking of it!
I talked it over with Amy during dinner and she agreed with Gloria, then gave me a long look and quietly suggested that perhaps she shouldn’t be the only one to change her name …
My wise, wise, daughter!
She also agreed with my reasoning about schools. She’d heard about the Garfield program but hadn’t pursued it because of Carla, and that was the real downside of today’s mess with the principal; it means that Amy and Carla won’t be going to school together. But I resolve to let them spend as much time together as possible, and I’m certain that Amy will make many new friends at Garfield. I can tell she’s excited and fearful about the change. As am I ...
End of Part 2
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudo!
Click the Good Story! button above to leave the author a kudo:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.