Fake It Till You Make It - 1&2

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Fake It Till You Make It


Fake It Till You Make It


How Not To Transition In High School (Probably)
One teenager Vs the world, what could go wrong?

Author Note: This started out as a simple edit and continuation of my old work 'Homework' It has since spiraled out of all control into its own beautiful new beast. Enjoy this rollercoaster and hold on tight, we're doing barrel rolls.

A Double bill introduces this monster adventure, so dig in and enjoy!

 

Chapter One - This Is A Terrible Idea

 

The world of Transgender Fiction is a truly wild and wonderous beast in the world of literature. In one overarching genre, you can run the gamut from magical tales of gender-bending tomfoolery to an unending tide of teen dramas. It has as many spinny skirts, cute boys, and cheer contests as you can possibly handle without vomiting pink glitter.

While it has delighted the spirits and the underpants of many readers, I’m sorry to have to tell you that this fiction is… well, fiction. The sad reality is that our experience is often nowhere near as exciting or adorable as it is on the pages of a book.

For transgender people, life is often pretty tragic and sometimes quite a violent experience. Our lives are full of doubt, fear, and shame. More often than not it is quite simply depressing and lonely. On rare occasions, however, it can be stranger than fiction. Often it’s hindsight that allows us to see how truly strange life has been. Without realizing it, you might be living out the same tropes that you found on the pages of those very books. Did I get recruited to the cheer squad? Did the captain of the football team take me to the homecoming dance in my pretty dress? Sadly not, but I promise you won’t be disappointed either way.

I write this now, twenty years later, as a very different person. I cannot believe the people I’ve known and the places I’ve been. I’m the person I was always meant to be; living proof that there can be a happy ever after. I didn’t believe it was possible at the time, but desperate times led to desperate measures. Was it funny then? Absolutely not. Is it funny in hindsight? One hundred percent thigh slapper. Welcome to my rather unconventional story; one that is far more true than it is fiction. That might be difficult for you to believe, but I’m sure you’ll probably read it anyway.

As with cake, untangling headphones, and defusing bombs, the best place to start a story is at the beginning. Let’s pretend this is an Alcoholics Anonymous group meeting and I will start by introducing myself:

Hi, my name is Alexander, and I’m a girl. Are you seeing something wrong here? Good, because I wholeheartedly agree with you. That minor inconsistency is why we’re here in the first place. If we hold true to stories of this nature I should tell you that my real name, the name that I gave my true self, is Holly; Holly Juliet Winters.

You know the routine; I’ve always felt as though I should have really been born a girl. As a little kid, I tended to display more feminine tendencies and I played dolls with my sister; all the usual stuff. Let’s not pretend that you don’t know how this all works, it saves us a great deal of time and prevents me from having to tell you my tragic back story of the girly boy trapped in terrible misery and angst. Far too many of these stories spend half the book moping and crying while the protagonist works out what we all knew from the moment we opened the cover.

It’s true, that some people have a moment of discovery. For others like me, it’s something we’ve always known; a cosmic certainty that we’re positive nobody else sees and nobody else wants. No matter what though we feel the urge to correct that imbalance. That first group? They’re the egg. Me? You can call me the chicken. Cluck cluck motherfucker.

Without further ado let us begin. Who am I? Who is Alex Winters? I’m a sixteen-year-old student starting my Junior year of high school today and for most children that’s an exciting time in their young lives. Returning to school means a time to see friends, get your learner’s permit, and enter your cool years of high school. You see, for me, that’s a little different. My school is a private institution and while that sounds very fancy and wonderful at face value, it presents certain challenges if you’re transgender like me. Why, you ask? We’re divided by gender into two schools on one campus, boys on one side, and girls on the other; great.

To explain how I found myself in the situation that predicates the entire plot of this story I need to take a brief detour into the darker side of our transgender world. Like many people in my position, I suffered greatly from my feelings. I hit a really bad patch of darkness during the Christmas holidays last year as puberty was starting to raise its ugly head. I was watching my brother and school friends turning into men and I knew it was coming for me too. It was too much and I had to hit the eject button.

It became bad enough that I reached a major fork in the road of my life where the decision was set before me; self forever-sleep, or transition. Not as exciting or funny as cake or death, but you get the picture. I realize this isn’t what you all want to read about but it was, however, the major motivating factor behind my starting my transition the way I did. Was I stupid? Absolutely.

I have been taking female hormones that I bought from an online source for about six months now. It’s a combination of estrogen and a blocker to overcome my body’s own best-laid plans and to shunt me in the right direction. I know how stupid self-medication can be, you don’t have to lecture me. I had reached the end of my rope and didn’t want to turn into some hulking hairy monster like my brother. I did my research, I was exhaustive and I ensured I was as safe as possibly could be short of being prescribed and monitored by a doctor. Those kinds of things are somewhat impossible as a minor without parental consent.

I’ll preface this by reminding you that this is the early 2000s. Back then, There weren’t a massive number of trans teens running around with cans of energy drink, spinny skirts with Toktik accounts. At the time the average age of someone transitioning was closer to forty. Why is this important? Well, all the anecdotal evidence I’d been given about the effectiveness and speed that hormone therapy worked with was tied to that. Now dial it back twenty-five years and into puberty; HRT goes like a raccoon out of a T-shirt cannon. (Don't ask, he was wearing a crash helmet.)

The effects had been relatively easy to hide for the first few months as nothing major happened to me physically. What did occur was possible to be hidden with relative ease. That was rather useful as I haven’t even told my parents yet. Honestly, that is one of the major challenges I’ve yet to face; “Hey Mom, hey Dad, I’m not your son, I’m really your daughter despite being born a boy and being called Alex.”
Doesn’t sound too logical, does it?

At first, the only changes I experienced were emotional ones. My sense of smell changed and I became far more weepy and sensitive. I was so up and down that it did get me some weird looks. Then again, when you’re not very popular people don’t tend to notice the quiet moody kid in the corner.

I did start to get some development in my chest and hips but it was possible to be hidden with careful choices of clothing. The problem is that things somewhat accelerated over the summer. I lost a lot of weight in some areas and I gained it in some others. Where do you ask? Let’s be honest, you know exactly where; my chest, my butt, and my thighs.

I generally have what one would casually describe as a girl’s figure by now and that has become far harder for me to disguise. I know what you’re thinking; typical trans story; the protagonist looks like a girl but nobody else seems to notice or seems to care about the effeminate kid, well that’s a darn lie. My sister and my mom both noticed and a few of my friends that I saw over the summer noticed too. Most told me that I was looking too girly and that I should probably cut my hair. It’s funny how they mentally gloss over the other bits and seem to think it's ONLY my hair that makes me girly. In all honesty, I could probably shave my head and still look very feminine. Not that I’d ever consider doing that of course!

Now a five-foot-five-inch tall boy with long blonde hair is relatively uncommon, especially when he has a butt the size of New Jersey. Strangers tend to read me as a girl at first meeting, although admittedly, a somewhat skinny and flat-chested one. I love it, but it takes all the strength I possess to do the ‘hell no! I’m not girly’ routine expected of a teen boy when I’m around other people.

Well, what would they think if I didn’t? That I liked it? Of course, I did. I can’t let the normals in on that though can I?

So now we’re all caught up on how we got here we can return to the story proper; the first day of the fall semester of my Junior year of high school. This wouldn’t be much of an issue if I didn’t now look like I belonged in the girl’s division of our school rather than the boys. Getting dressed this morning has been interesting; I’d call it affirming if I wasn’t still very much in hiding. I had avoided trying on my suit for most of the summer as I knew full well how much of a pain it would be.

Allow me to explain my school’s dress code for students so that this makes sense: For most of your time at school between the grades of six and ten, one wears the uniform. This consists of black trousers a white shirt with the school tie and a red sweater with the school crest. Once you become a Junior, that changes to a business suit in your choice of grey or black, a shirt, and a school tie. It’s intended to set us up for a lifetime wearing professional attire while we become business moguls. The reality is we look like a young Republican convention with only mildly less bigotry.

With a tear in her proud eye, my mother dragged me along to the men’s department of our local posh department store to buy me my first big boy suit. Yes, as you can imagine my mom got asked why on earth her daughter wanted to wear a man’s suit. That made her extremely embarrassed and nearly led to an emergency trip to the hair salon until I distracted her.

The fact they cannot see what is happening to me is both a relief and a concern. It reminds me that people have a fixed image in their minds of the ones they love; their ideal version. The fact that somehow mine still reads boy is a reminder that it’s not time for me to come out yet. Maybe they just don’t want to see it? Denial seems to be a fairly big river in Africa when people want it to be.

We bought a suit eventually and I won’t bore you with the details of shopping for menswear; it fits really weirdly thanks to my unusual body and I know I won’t finish the year in this thing. Quite honestly I doubt I’ll be able to look like a boy at all by Christmas. Part of me is excited about that and part of me is terrified because it puts real pressure on me to tell people. The scary part is that it makes it real and real is hard.
So the suit; it’s a dark charcoal pinstripe; boring I know. I found a collection of shirts I could live with consisting mostly of blacks with the occasional dark blue or red. They are simply men’s dress shirts and there is no way I can possibly describe them to you that might make them interesting. They come in one style, one shape, and are still boring. You didn’t read this story to hear about men’s clothes, did you? No, you want to hear about the juicy transitioning parts like skirts, panties, boys, sex, and other sordid details. Hold your horses guys, gals, and others. I’ll get to the good stuff in two shakes of a pom pom.

School tie-tied, I don’t really think that required further discussion. It’s a tie, there are many like it, and unfortunately, this one is mine. I collect my flowing feminine locks in a boy's low ponytail as normal and throw on my black zip-front hoodie. With my suit jacket over the top, I’m dressed and ready for battle.

Why a hoodie you ask? Well two reasons; it's September which is already starting to feel a little cold and it bulks my torso up rather nicely. The major benefit is that it hides my swelling chest better than just a shirt meaning I don’t have to spend my day with hunched shoulders. While not uniform items they are generally ignored by staff unless garish or ratty and mine is neither.

This isn’t your usual trans story and no, I’m not intersexed as far as I’m aware. I didn’t suddenly wake up with double-D boobs after popping my first estrogen pill either. My breasts, and yes that still feels strange to say, are big enough to be noticeable on my frame. Sure, if I was fat they would simply look like moobs, but I’m skinny and thin so they look undeniably like boobs; the jacket stays on.

”Alex, get your butt down here, we’re going to be late!” my father yells upstairs. He gets cranky in the mornings when I keep him from the job he complains about. I ride to school with him each morning on his way into the office.

I grab my book bag and bounce down the stairs to the kitchen. Ow! Damn it, I need to buy a sports bra or work out how to flatten these darned things out. Bouncing, I’ve realized, hurts a lot more since they turned up.

“Did you brush your hair dear?” calls my mom from her office.

“Yep Mom, it's all tidy as usual, I look vaguely presentable.”

”By your standards or mine?” she asks, popping her head around the door frame.

I roll my eyes petulantly while I bite into the slice of toast waiting for me and grab my mug. I really need to control my morning bitchyness better.

I have my learner's permit, but no car yet so my dad lets me drive to school in the mornings before he takes the car on to work. I can’t say I’m thrilled by the prospect but it does mean one day I’ll have my independence. Experience is experience, and a Mercedes is a Mercedes.

We arrive at school after about thirty minutes and I’m deposited in the parking lot as Dad heads off to work. I used to enjoy getting into school early when it was quiet but today it just means more time to think. All of this seems so very real now. I know I’ve waxed lyrical about this already but the truth is that I’m quite scared of the reaction I might receive. People who see you every day don’t notice change quite as much because it’s a gradual process whereas people who haven’t seen you in months will spot things right away. What do I do? How the hell do I get out of Gym class? I have no idea, but we’re going to find out.

Ugh, one disaster at a time. My fingers tentatively press the keys on the electronic pad controlling the pedestrian gate to school. It’s early and out of hours but students have the code to get in if they need it. I get to school an hour early thanks to my father’s schedule so I always let myself in. Usually, this would be something I’d enjoy as it gives me time to unwind, wake up, and get homework done but today it feels like a stay of execution and the Governor is feeling particularly bipolar. A part of me wants this to be over straight away and another part doesn’t want it to happen at all.

I slowly sip my coffee as I walk into the building; the warmth is reassuring and the caffeine is necessary for my own sanity. The corridors are quiet as I make my way inside and toward my new home base; the common room. Juniors and Seniors, as befits their lofty status are permitted an exclusive common room on the ground floor to call our own. I arrive at the doors and tentatively stick my head inside. It's empty at this hour and silent. Normally, I'd be excited to finally get to enter the den of the cool kids but my apprehension is tempering my enjoyment. Right now it feels like a tomb… My tomb.

Picking myself a spot away from the main entrance, I slump down on one of the sofas to wait. I’m far too nervous to go to the library or use the computers like I normally might before school. I feel like I need to see this one coming.

Unconsciously I sit with one leg tucked under me as I feel most comfortable. Today though, it seems far too girly so I straighten myself out and sit properly for a boy; Legs apart and slouching. I chuckle to myself because I’m going to all this effort for absolutely nothing because nobody is here to call me up on my lack of ‘manliness’.

Sadly I know I need to do it even when I’m alone or I’ll slip when it does matter. Hiding yourself like this is exhausting, I have to remain focused or I’ll let people see the truth. I’d prefer to tuck my legs up and sit comfortably as it feels more natural; I never liked sitting with my legs apart because it always seemed crude. When not crude, it was unwise; an open target location for the bullies. As much as being kicked there hurt, I sometimes wondered rather darkly what might happen if they did it one too many times and ruined those hateful things.

The door across the room creeks and I jump. Looking around I realize it’s just one of the cleaners.

”Sorry dear, didn’t mean to make you jump.” she smiles kindly as she goes about her business. The one thing I can’t work out here is whether she means dear in the way women talk to young boys or the way women talk to girls. Why can’t she at least use a gendered phrase so I’d know whether to run home and fake sickness or stay and face the day ahead?

The door goes again and I look around; It is one of the other Juniors, Steve. He’s alright I suppose; he’s on the soccer team, but not a snobby prick like the rest of them can be at times. He’s probably secretly gay because he dresses far too well and I swear he wears makeup sometimes. I listen to myself stereotyping so wildly and shake my head at the blatant hypocrisy of my judgment.

“Hey, Alex! Damn, you’re early already this year! Good summer?” he asks dropping down on a sofa across from me.

“Not so bad, kinda quiet.” I reply neutrally, “yourself?”

“Yeah, It was awesome, soccer camp was cool and our Italy tour was amazing.” He pauses and looks at me critically for a moment, his brow furrowed. “You look kinda different, did you change something?”

Shit, this is working out great. “Aahhh,” I stammer intelligently, “I lost some weight, I was pretty sick for ages over summer vacation,” I offer, hoping he takes the bait.

“Shit man, you’re really fucking skinny, but you just look different. Like you put on weight and lost it… kinda.” He gestured strangely before trailing off. “Sorry dude, didn’t mean to have a go.”

“Ah, don’t worry about it. I know I look a bit weedy,” I shrug. “Guess I won't be making the Football team this year for JV.”

Steve chuckles and rips open a candy bar before shoving it into his mouth. “Like you’d ever try out.”

I smile and shrug, “You might have me there.”

Steve looks over my shoulder at someone coming in through the doors.

Twisting around to see who’s arrived I see Gary Byrne and his sisters Megan and Kara. Yes, I know I told you it’s a single-sex school, and that’s true. The only difference is that the nurse’s office is in the Girl's Division and the girls will often come over before school because our common room has a snack bar and theirs doesn’t. Yes, girls want to stuff their faces too, weird concept that. Megan and Kara are Gary’s sisters and his general duty entourage so they’re a fairly common sight around the place.

As usual around other girls, I get rather quiet and shy. I’m jealous of them, and feel inferior to them; I sort of feel I have more to prove to other women. I feel more pressure to prove that I belong with them than I do to prove I’m not a guy. Life is complicated. This year I’m hyper-aware that they’re more likely to spot my changes than boys are.

“Hey you two,” beams Megan, the fiery redhead sister. She’s the epitome of the family’s Irish past: Freckles, bouncy, and hair like a burning potato field.

Kara is more ginger than red. She has a more subtle and cute bookish look. She’s a nice girl; we get on rather well. Gary is the odd one out; jet black hair, fair skin, and glasses. The girls often kid him that he’s adopted, despite their father’s very similar hair.

“Hey guys,” I mumble a greeting past my coffee mug PRAYING that they don’t make some blunt comment about my appearance the way Megan has an extreme tendency to.

Steve begins chattering to Kara about some book and Gary slumps on the sofa and throws his feet on the coffee table.
“Just like we’re back home again,” chuckles Megan shoving his feet off the table.

”Hey I’m just getting used to our new palace,” he laughs flicking the TV remote in the general direction of the TV on the wall.
Some random news show comes on, distracting most people's attention momentarily the way any newly turned-on TV does.

“You look different Alex, did you get your hair cut?”

“No he didn’t,” Kara answered assuredly, shaking her head, her ginger straight hair wagging around in front of her eyes.
“He lost weight though. You have GOT to give me the name of the diet you used. You’re skinnier than me!” She pouted trying to look hurt.
“He had some exotic disease or something,” chimed in Steve.

“You look different, but I can't place it,” Megan replied slowly, squinting her eyes at me.
I felt VERY uncomfortable as they all scrutinized me in ways I didn’t need.
“He looks kinda like a girl with that hair.” Gary laughs.
I cringe, these are NOT the words I wanted to hear already! Part of me knew it was only a matter of time though.
“I think he’d look like a girl even if he was bald,” smirks Megan, holding up her fingers to frame off my face like a photographer.
“Get lost all of you.” I huff, crossing my arms to square my shoulders. “Get a new joke.”

“Just kidding Alex,” Megan grins, “Come on, you might want a haircut though eventually.”

Quick, Fury Girl! deploy smoke bomb! “I Just like it ok?” I bluster, “And so what if I look a bit girly, I’d take that any day than be your adopted ratboy brother.”

“Hey go die in a fire dweeb!” Gary growls, launching the TV remote in my direction. Thankfully it’s the distraction I need to change the topic. I enjoy settling back into the background and allowing the conversation to take its own life. Every conversation where I’m not heavily involved is a safe conversation. It’s a shame really, in an ideal world I’d love to be more open with Meg, Kara, and Gary, they’re good people.

Conversation thankfully changes track and I’m no longer the center of attention. As the clock approaches nine, the room fills up with the rest of the students and the sisters head off to get ready for their own homerooms. For a very brief while, I’m invisible and I can just exist in the sea of students. Everyone’s far too busy catching up with friends to bother with me this morning. Before long it’s time to head off to homeroom and begin the day. One hurdle is down and a few more to go. I’m hoping that if I can survive the day and let people get used to me they won’t notice how I look quite as easily. The plan is solid, but I’m feeling pretty uncertain about its efficacy.

We pile into the Geography hovel that is our homeroom. It’s full of maps and rocks and all sorts of natural curios to fiddle with in the name of academia. We’ve been in this same classroom with the same seating assignments since we were freshmen. This year the room starting to feel a lot smaller though. Most of my classmates have grown significantly over the summer. They are wider, taller, and generally bigger in nearly all directions while my skinny butt stated the same (relatively speaking). All around me are muscles, facial hair, and dear lord, the smell of guys.

So here’s one thing that the typical trans story never seems to mention; boys smell! It’s not necessarily bad, I’ll give you that, but when they’re in a group it’s a general tangy musk that seems to invade your nostrils. Add to that their proclivity for drowning in body spray and cologne and it’s almost a choking hazard!

Mister Carstairs calls us all to order and runs through roll call with his usual detached boredom. He’s known us for two years and he’s not particularly paying much attention.

“Winters,”

“Here sir,” I call nervously.

Carstairs raises an eyebrow and looks back at me through the mass of bodies. “Winters, try to hit a growth spurt this year please.”

A wave of sniggers runs through the room at my expense, I feel my cheeks redden but I brazen it out, there’s a law even in the jungle and a reply is expected. “Absolutely sir, as soon as you grow some hair.”

Carstairs frowns but the rest of the class laughs openly at my quip. Honestly, if we had a Christmas play we could cast him as Baldylocks and the Three Hairs.

“Touché Mister Winters,” Carstairs replies dryly. “At least speak up, I can barely hear you.”

“I’ll try sir.”

You’d think someone in my position would keep their head down and try to maintain a low profile. What you don’t understand about schools like this is that that approach can often get you noticed more. A certain level of tet-a-tet is expected and non-participation in the good old boy’s culture will get you in some serious trouble. I might not be a boy, but I have had to learn to coexist with them.

Homeroom wraps up and we’re dispatched to our first class. For me, that’s Physics. I’ve always loved the sciences. To me, there is nothing is more clear than the atoms that make up our world. Whether it’s the cells of the body, a formula for a chemical compound, or the reaction of excited molecules I find peace in the order it creates. Sounds lovely and fluffy too doesn’t it? Makes this entire work seem somehow loftier and more meaningful. Truth be told I’m rather good at them so I consequentially enjoy them. Studying is a really easy single-player game when you’re limited on friends and generally don’t want to hang around and socialize as a boy.

The way I see it is the harder I work now, the more money I’ll make later. Awfully capitalist of me I’d agree, however, the world runs on money. Being transgender, you need a fair bit of it. Whether that is surgery, or simply being able to afford to live somewhere you won’t be abused it’s really important. That and I plan to become an incurable clothes horse in the most stereotypical fashion.

I really want to be a doctor if I can make it to a good college. Mom’s a surgeon, did I mention that? My mother, the woman who birthed and raised me is a Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Mercy General in our city. It’s why I have enough medical knowledge and drive to pursue self-medicating myself at my age, it kinda rubs off on you in that environment. Mom’s a badass and if I can be half the woman she is one day I’ll be truly happy.

I want to say that I want to go into medicine so that I can give back and help others like me, to save other young trans people in horrible situations but the truth is I really think I can pull off the Merideth Grey vibe. Am I joking? Who knows. But I will say I want to end up in a career that sees me making a difference. Not that all software developers in their programming socks don’t contribute… but god damn, y’all are a stereotype.

The school’s corridors are packed with students of all ages. It feels strange to be out of the familiar uniform but I’m rather glad to be free of it. I’m pretty certain I’d struggle to pull the look off these days. The crush is significant and boys are anything but gentle when they’re in a hurry. The corridors often feel like sharing a log flume with most of the logs and three Grizzly Bears. I clutch my books to my chest and reduce my size; my standard defensive tactic when the waters get choppy. I’m getting eloquent aren’t I? Must be that academic influence. I feel a body move in alongside me as I walk, a look confirms it’s one of my few friends.

Andy is my best friend here at school, you’ve not been introduced to him yet because it wasn’t relevant to the story. It now is, so surprise; meet Andy. Be warned, this isn’t a prelude to him becoming a mystery romantic interest as this progresses so get your horny minds out of the gutter. I will not be falling head over heels in love with my friends. What? He’s the real man after I go boy-crazy over jocks that don’t really love me? Pull the other one!

“Ready for Junior year Rapunzel?” he grins, nudging me with his elbow.

I roll my eyes at his delightfully appropriate choice of words. He’s called me this since we were Freshmen. I would worry that he spotted something but it’s always been this way. Andy and I have an understanding; both of us have a lot to lose against the school bullies. Me, problematically feminine and not actually a boy. Him? Incurable nerd with glasses thicker than the Hubble Telescope and a permanent limp thanks to his dad’s swimmers recruiting from the kiddy pool.

The dregs of society, school, or otherwise end up grouping together like flotsam in a river. The few friends I have are from this social sewer. Although as you’d expect, there are actually far cooler people there than most give credit for. The misfits that we are include the only two out gay boys in school, most of the nerds, and anyone that simply doesn’t fit with the expectations of the good old boys. Not athletically gifted? Big, broad, or chiseled? Any defects or flaws? Down you go. To them, we’re the scraps. To us? We’re the goddamn Ninja Turtles living down here with Master Splinter.

What the ‘cool’ kids don’t realize is that in twenty years this social group will contain inventors, scientists, doctors, and tech moguls. We are the ones who invent social media, start tech companies, and go on to big careers. Them? I hear Willymart is hiring greeters.

Here is where you find people playing fantasy card games over lunch or nerding out in the computer lab. These are the artists and the creative people that I’d rather know if I’m being totally honest. Andy has never judged me for what I look like. None of them have. They care about who I am, and how I treat them. Well, they care about who I present to them. I’m not sure they’d be ok with the real me.

Modern Day Holly speaking here; Andy actually went on to found a dating and hookup app that now titillates half of the planet’s loins, I’m not kidding. This sweet bookish nerd became the digital playboy he never dreamt of. Still a great guy to have over for dinner.

“Two more years and we can get out of here,” I sigh, narrowly dodging a knuckle-dragging linebacker that’s meandering through the crowd without a care in the world. “Two years and I’m at college and free.”

Andy chuckles and shakes his head. “You make it sound terrible dude.”

I ponder the thought for a moment as we walk. “It’s not that it’s bad,” I admit slowly. “I just want to be somewhere with more… more.”

“That makes so much sense,” Andy laughs. “More sir! Please sir, can I have some more?”

“Shut up, you know what I mean, I just want to be somewhere that isn’t this place. I’m done with the traditions, the cult of jock and I’ll just about take anything that isn’t all boys anymore.”

“I get it,” He nods as we file into the classroom. “Somewhere that isn’t ruled by the jocks would be nice. Where my limp doesn’t make me a loser.”

“No, you manage that on your own, the limp is just a bonus,” I grin as we take our seats.

Andy unpacked his textbooks and looked momentarily more serious. “I never took you for the girl crazy kind you know.”

“I’m not, but it would be nice, uh, you know.”

See, if this was the typical trans fiction adventure Andy would be pointing out that hanging with me is like having a girl around. We would laugh about it and I’d play it off and secretly fall in love with my best buddy who sees me as a girl when nobody else does. That is if this was a typical adventure. Spoiler alert; it isn’t.

The truth is that Andy doesn’t see me any differently and I keep it that way. I value his friendship but I’m still not telling him a damn thing. Not a single one of these people can know the truth; if I let it out once then the whole house of cards can come tumbling down. I can’t afford for that to happen.

I’d love to go class to class and detail every moment of my day so far but quite honestly it's really boring. The teachers don’t actually care what we look like as long as we follow the dress code and pay attention. For them, we’re here to learn, and learn we do. My appearance might raise an eyebrow in the teacher's lounge, but they daren’t mention a thing about it lest they get accused of something dodgy. Thank you Teacher/Student scandals I suppose.

Physics is followed by History, English Literature, and Algebra before we break for lunch. This isn’t the kind of institution that eases students back in on the first day of term. Here we go hard or go home. I suppose when our parents are paying thousands of dollars a year for us to attend they expect us to not waste any time with such niceties as comfort.

We spill from Algebra and the entire school begins the ritual of lunch. See, unlike normal high schools where this is a typical counter service or bag lunch affair, we’re served at the table. It’s another cooky tradition that this school shares with the ancient past it draws inspiration from. Here, we have our assigned tables with an upperclassman as the head. The catering staff provides the dishes and the head organizes its distribution to everyone with the Juniors assisting. There’s so much man of the house, patriarchy taking care of your family shit to unpack in this that I don’t even have words.

I make it down to the dining hall for my sitting and find my assigned table for the year. There’s always a mixture of years and ages to each table to avoid any major clique shenanigans and drama and I suppose further that ‘protect the weak family members’ attitude the school attempts to beat into us. I barely recognize any of the names I’m set to join so I make my way back through the throng to find my spot.

By the time I get there, there are maybe three of the eight spots on the long wooden benches filled. I grab one of the far ends, I like the ends; it’s only possible to get elbowed by one person at a time. Our table head is there and I immediately recognize him as one of the Varsity football gods the school romanticizes so heavily; Brandon Michaels.

“Come on down this end Winters.” Brandon grins aloofly in his newfound power as table head. “We’re sitting in descending grade at table twelve this year.”

“Does it really matter?” I ask tersely, not actually moving from my nice remote spot.

Brandon bristles and straightens his back aloofly. “Yes, it’s my decision and this is how we’re doing it, I can report you to a prefect if you want me to.”

I am not one for violence, but there are many things I would do to him with a fork right now and none of them enjoyable. Rolling my eyes so severely I’m pretty sure one nearly fell out I move my butt down to the far end of the bench nearest to him. “Happy?”

Brandon smiles smugly and nods. By this time more of our table are arriving and I’ve no further interest in making a scene to start out the year. Brandon has laid down his claim to authority and I suspect it won’t be his last while he attempts to convince everyone he doesn’t have a micropenis (probable).

The table fills and the catering staff staff begin their rounds and hand out serving dishes to each of the tables. It seems they at least are making an effort for the first day and it’s a rather delicious roast. I know it sounds improbable for a high school, and yes, I realize most of you were dragged up on pizza squares and mystery meat but when you're paying several thousand dollars a term, the least they can do is make the food edible, really really edible.

“Ok Winters, you can be mommy, start passing these down to the guys.” Brandon sneers handing one of the dishes to me. I bite my tongue; nothing I say here will be useful. He’s an upperclassman and he’s my tablehead, we do as we’re told. While I don’t mind the odd femininity dig from someone like Andy, others like this hulking turd mean it as an insult.

Let me clarify something. I have no problem being called female, feminine, or girly: I am. These are all facts and honestly, they are ones I’m currently trying to minimize for the sake of my own survival. What I do have a problem with is when people say it with malicious intent. When they mean it as though my being female or feminine makes me somehow lesser or worse than them. I’m no feminist gunslinger, but I do know my mother and sister are both amazing, strong, and proud women who hold our family together. I would give my left testicle to be counted alongside them… and the right one. See? I can make jokes even when I’m this depressed.

I know that if I call attention to girly Alex then people will look all the harder. Trying to dance this insane ballet is exhausting. I never truly felt like I belonged in this world of men, but now with more estrogen flying around me than the grade seven girls I feel utterly alone. It’s everything I can do to maintain my mask and preserve my truth. I told you bits of this would be depressing, promise I’ll talk about panties in the next few paragraphs, maybe.

Lunch is actually as delicious as expected. By the time I’m able to get to my own, the piglets up and down the table are already nose-deep in the trough. I’m still not sure how they manage to actually grunt out conversations around overstuffed mouths but it leaves me feeling mildly nauseous.

“Am I going to have to swap you out with one of the Sophomores Winters?” Brandon interjects gesturing at me with his fork.

I pause, a green bean halfway to my mouth. “What?”

Brandon chuckles to himself in that self-important way assholes do that signifies that they’re totally finding their own joke amazing and you should too. “You know when you were at the far end of the table earlier I thought you’d get bigger when you got closer.”

I roll my eyes at the insanely original height joke and return to eating my food. I really do not want to engage with him because it will only get worse. He’s on the varsity team and he’s my table head; it’s the way it works around here, he has the clout. This is how a lot of the abuse works at the school; it’s passive and it’s power-driven. It’s part of the culture designed to turn us into good strong leaders who wield power with manly authority. Can you tell I really am done with this shit?

Lunch wraps up and we ensure our plates are stacked neatly for the catering staff to collect. That falls to me and the other Junior to complete. I don’t really know him much, but I think he’s one of the sportier types. As we’re leading the dining hall that very junior slides up beside me and nudges me casually with his elbow and leans in.

“Don’t feel bad about Michaels, His girl dumped him for one of the guys at St James’ Academy over the summer so he’s extra pissy.”

I’m mildly suspicious as to why this guy I don't even know feels the need to make me feel better for Brandon’s asshattery but I smirk at his words regardless. “Not sure why a girl found him attractive in the first place.”

The guy grins and nods enthusiastically. “Yeah, you get it. Kinda hard to find any positives in that meat sack. I’m Rick by the way.”

“Alex,” I offer with a shrug.

“Cool, see you around Alex.” The guy offers cheerily and jogs off to join his friends. I can’t help but feel like he was picking up something I was certainly not putting down.

At my school, our Lunch takes place in two sittings, being on the first now means that I have the following half hour to myself before class resumes at one thirty. For many, it’s time to go outside and burn off energy or hang with friends. My preference however is the library.

Our library is my favorite part of the school. It’s located on the upper floor and extends for half of the entire wing and reaches up high into the open ceiling. It’s all wood and leather and smells of ancient paper. This place feels like it’s been pulled directly from A very famous fantasy author with a penchant for turtles and disks’ idea of a potentially less-than-visible university. Obscure reference? I think you’ll find it’s an exceptional reference, read a book. Preferably not one of those Logwarts magical wizard ones written by that feckless hag.

The library has been my refuge for as long as I can remember. Whether I was a lonely Freshman trying to hide from bullies or later, during my extensive research into what I was feeling, it provided me with a safe and comforting environment where I could feel in control. Before you criticise me for using school computers to search about transgender topics, fear not; Mar A Lago has tighter security. I settle into my favorite alcove toward the back of the library and pull out the novel I’m currently reading. Half an hour doesn’t seem like a lot of time but when you can extract a moment of silence in somewhere as noisy as a high school it’s incredibly precious. Today, it seems is not that day.

“Alex, I see you’re back for another year.”

I smile and close my book. It’s one of the few members of staff I look forward to seeing each year; Mrs Inverbrook the librarian. A jovial woman in her fifties, Mrs Inverbrook is the epitome of the librarian; she flits around in big flowing skirts, cardigans, and glasses on a string. Her hair is already grey, but it’s full and beautiful in a bun behind her head. Honestly, if I’d created a fictional character to play her, it would actually be her.

“Sadly yes, but I’m always glad to be here,” I reply giving her a genuine smile. “Did you work through the summer here?”

Mrs Inverbrook sits down primly on one of the chairs nearby and nods, “Every year your summer is my inventory and audit period. The entire library gets deep cleaned and damaged books repaired or replaced, our work never stops.” her expression softens and she gives me a more motherly look. “Now tell me, are you still hiding in here this year? You know you can report any issues like this to me or the other staff.”

I chuckle to myself and shake my head. “I enjoy it here, it’s quiet. I get to read and enjoy some peace. The benefit of being out of the path of the knuckle draggers is not bad either.”

Mrs Inverbrook doesn’t entirely believe me but she nods regardless. I do feel a moment of concern as I watch her eyes rove across me with more focus. “Are you doing ok dear?”

“I’m fine,” I smile cheerfully. “Was sick over the summer, really sick. I am recovering though, I just lost a lot of weight.”

Mrs Inverbrook eyes me with undisguised suspicion for a moment but I keep my expression as honestly neutral and pleasant as I can. Of all of the staff here, she’s the one that’s spent the most time with me over the years. If any of them were going to be smart enough to spot what was happening it would be her, and that could be a problem.

“If there’s ever any trouble or any… problems. You can talk to me.” She offers carefully. “About anything. You can confide in me Alex.”

This is the point in the adventure when our brave protagonist throws her lot in with the supportive teacher and gets the help she needs to seek professional help and come out to her parents, it’s the big key moment that turns the entire story and allows our perfectly feminine little miss to be her true self at school. Well, that isn’t happening here. I haven’t gotten as far as I have without being extremely paranoid. Nobody learns about this unless I can help it. I won’t be trusting any adults, especially ones with a duty to report and or cover their own asses. That is a road to baby getting locked up in some military school or an asylum.

Think I’m overreacting? Put your very existence on the line and we’ll talk.

I know she doesn’t believe me, and I can be reasonably sure she has suspicions, but without me coming out and saying it she can’t really make the connection for certain so it will remain our unspoken secret.

“Very well,” she nods, conceding the round. “Remember Alex, I’m not far away.”

I can imagine you’re getting a pretty dismal view of me and my situation so far. Honestly, I can agree with you. In contradiction to what many of these stories suggest, the experience of being a transgender teenager isn’t particularly fun. Being one that’s stuck at a single-sex school and is trying to both actively transition and keep it secret? I’m genuinely surprised that I never lost my mind. I feel like a spy in my own life trying to live, but trying to conceal. It sure does lead to some hilarious moments though, with significant hindsight. At the time I can assure you they were far from fun for the most part.

 

Chapter Two - Code Ermergerd

 

My afternoon classes passed with thankfully little incident. The pace at which we return to the semester keeps most people focused on their work and not on each other. I’ve been surprisingly lucky so far and the real challenge will kick in after school ends for the day; girls.

Private schools generally come in two flavors and we are what is called a day school. It means you go home each day and nobody stays there like a boarding school. It’s really simple but you’d be surprised how many people think all private schools are boarding. Anyway, while my dad might let me drive to school I have to make my own way home and that is by public bus. The school has a fleet for most routes but those of us that live a bit further away take public transit. It’s not that awful, and it's more relaxed than the school buses.

The local service stops just outside the school grounds twenty minutes after class gets out and I share it with quite a lot of students from both divisions on our campus. While I narrowly dodged the girls earlier this morning in the common room, I will be stuck with them for an hour now and so far women have scored higher when it comes to smelling a rat.

Gulp.

I reach the stop about five minutes after the final bell as I’ve little reason to stick around and chat with anyone. It isn’t long before Gary arrives along with a knot of other students.

“We made it through the first day huh?” he sighs, looking like his brain has been exhausted of every neuron, all three of them.

I nod and lean back against a tree with my hands in my pockets. I’m trying to look casual like I haven’t spent most of the day on a razor’s edge. “Yeah, just a bunch more to go.”

Gary grins and bobs his head. “Yeah, I just hope they ease off the pace or i might have to actually study this year.”

“You’re never going to actually study, don’t lie slug,” Megan calls out as the sisters arrive with other members of the Girl's Division.

“I might!” Gary manages to actually look hurt. His sister’s expression explains quite clearly how little she believes that statement.

The bus arrives before long and the hoard mounts up. There are about twenty-five of us boarding and it’s pretty full but Gary and myself manage to grab a seat while the sisters take the row in front of us.

“One less day of school till Christmas time!” Megan smiles happily as she spins around to kneel backward on the seat so she’s facing us.

“You’re already focused on that? We’ve still got Homecoming, Halloween, and Thanksgiving before we get to that,” Gary pokes his sister.

I’ve always been rather jealous of the Byrne family. They might all be insane but they have a closeness that I truly long for. My family is far from terrible; my parents love us and my siblings aren’t utter assholes. The problem is that Rob is a year older than me and a senior. He and I are pretty good, but I’m not the brother he thinks I am. I think that forms a bit of a disconnect between the two of us and It makes me quite sad. My older sister Christine and I used to be super close growing up. She’s away this year in Chicago for her first year of college. We drifted apart as we became teenagers because apparently boys and girls aren’t supposed to be that close. I miss her, I really miss her.

“You guys know who you’re going to ask yet?” Kara asks, turning around more delicately in her seat. “It’s only a month or so away. I’ve already been asked by Kyle Martins.”

“Kyle?” Gary seems taken aback. “You said yes to Kyle?”

Kara rolls her eyes and gives him that ‘you’re so stupid’ look that sisters nail every damn time. “Of course not, I just said he asked me.”

“What about you Alex? Any ideas about who you might ask?” Megan asks eying me carefully. “Any girl or, boy, catch your eye?”

She’s been needling me about that for a long time. Megan has had it in her mind that I’m secretly gay and she’s the only one that’s noticed. I really don’t have the heart to tell her that I’ve been called fag, sissy and queer since my Freshman year.

“Nope, probably not going again.”

“You’ve got to go,” Kara protests with a dramatic pout. “It’s a major life event and everyone goes. You don’t even have to go with someone, plenty go by themselves or with friends!”

“It’s just a stupid school dance and a popularity contest. I don’t like or play football, and I don’t want people to think I’m cool, so why bother?” I shrug. “Anyway, you three will all have dates so which friends am I meant to go with exactly?”

Megan looks a little dejected at my flat refusal to entertain their stupid dance. She’s always fancied herself as the defacto matchmaker of the group. “I know you said you didn’t find anyone interesting but that’s got to change eventually right? You can’t go through life not liking anyone.”

I cross my arms, “I just don’t ok? It’s not like I can force myself to be into people. I’m really very happy on my own.” I attempt to keep my tone level and sincere. See, this has been my message for years because it used to be the truth. Before I started on estrogen I really wasn’t even remotely interested in anyone; male, female, or cheesecake. The idea of romance and sex just didn’t enter my little squirrel brain. Technically you would call it Acearo; Asexual and Aromantic. Honestly, I had zero interest at all. The truth is I think those people actually mentally acknowledge they have no interest, I honestly just didn’t notice. I think a large portion of that was that I genuinely was so wrapped up in my identity and my gender that sex didn’t even get any time left.

This would be likely my continuous state of being for the duration of high school if female hormones hadn’t had an unfortunate side effect: They had woken up my sexuality and unfortunately for me, it turns out I’m incredibly straight; as a girl. How did I discover this life-changing fact you ask? I was away with family on vacation and a group of boys at one of the villas near ours were regular surfers. It turns out the sight of teen boys soaking wet in nothing but boardshorts is a violent awakening for the latent sexuality of a developing girl. It honestly scared me.

Naturally, in my current situation, I can’t even consider acting on my feelings. To the world, I’m a boy and they would see me as gay. There’s nothing wrong with that obviously, but I have no interest in a boy that would be attracted to me as another boy, even as a feminine one. The only boy I could possibly even consider would be one who saw me as a girl and nothing else. Chances of that happening in an all-boys school? Zero. Stop hoping for a whirlwind steamy romance with an enlightened boy who is both hot and willing to suspend his sense of disbelief. It’s not gonna happen.

“Leave him alone Meg,” Kara interjects kindly. “Alex is who he is and he’s our friend. We’d just enjoy his company there as a friend. If he doesn’t want to go then that’s his choice.”

I groan loudly now I’m caught in the sister trap. “See Megan I can turn down because she’s easy to ignore. You Kara, I can’t because you make me feel guilty,” I muttered glumly.

Kara smiles broadly and puffs out her chest. “Mom does say that guilt is my superpower,” she agrees proudly. “I can get anyone to feel awful about anything with very little effort.”

“It’s the cute little sister thing, nothing more,” Gary mutters rolling his eyes. “Everyone just likes you because you’re the baby.”

“That one doesn’t work for me.” I offer. “I’m the baby too in my family and they just ignore me.”

“That’s because you’re so mopey and depressing,” Megan pouts, poking me in the chest with an accusatory finger. Of course, this is that moment where the unknowing friend nails me right in the boob. Not just anywhere, but dead center, nipple shot with an extended finger. The pain that courses through me is like a bolt of lightning, It’s all I can do not to yelp audibly.

Megan gives me a weird look and I brush it off by slapping away her arm and giving her the finger. “I’m not depressing!” I hiss through gritted teeth. Keeping my voice even is not easy. I’ve only ever hit myself in the boob once before. It was a month ago and I walked into a doorframe. I was on my knees for ten minutes. Right now I cannot afford to explain to them why my chest hurts. Some careful breathing and the throbbing pain is under control. For those of you that have never been poked in the boob, I can only compare it to a boy getting kicked in the junk. It really, really hurts.

“I mean with his hair and looks he should totally win baby of the family points but I think she’s right,” Gary grins. “You’re too emo and everyone just feels bad for you.”

“Can we manage a conversation where I’m not the center of attention perhaps?” I grumble, still feeling extremely sore from Megan’s prod. “What’s your common room like?” I ask the girls. They’re both in our year and I know the Girls Division has its own equivalent. It’s just far less likely for the boys to visit there and somewhat discouraged.

“It’s pretty good,” Kara enthuses. “It’s not go the snack bar like yours but it's super comfy and it’s got a bunch of work areas too for us to study if we want to.”

The topic is successfully changed and the debate moves on to the difference between our two divisions of the school. I’m able to blend into the background finally where I can avoid people asking me probing questions like ‘How are you?’.

I’ll admit, this is where I’m most comfortable; just out of the spotlight. I like being part of things but not the focus. When I’m the focus, people notice me. Noticing me is bad as you can appreciate. It’s honestly a pretty awful way to live, but it’s what I have to do to one day have the freedom I dream of. It sounds awful but I can manage.

Thirty minutes later, the bus drops us at the edge of our neighborhood and we disembark for the brief walk home. We’re some of the last kids on the bus as we live the furthest from school in this direction. It means it’s pretty quiet by the time we get off and it’s just the four of us walking. I’ve always enjoyed the trip home, it’s given me time to think, listen to music, and unwind.

Gary and Kara are walking ahead of me talking about some anime when I feel Megan slide up alongside me as we walk.

“What?” I ask, giving her a healthy dose of side-eye.

“Nothing.” She replies casually, shrugging without actually looking at me. “How’s your chest?”

Le gulp. “It’s fine, why do you ask?”

I can see a half grin on her lips. This bitch knows something and has the balls (Irony) to play coy here. “Why’d it hurt like that?”

“Because you poked me, why else? So?”

“I bet that’s why you wear hoodies too right?” she adds and my heart goes cold.

“I… don’t know what you mean?” This was most no bueno. If she was onto me this could rattle everything.

“Gynocomastia duh.” She gives me a sympathetic look and smiles. This is not what I was expecting at all and I’m utterly speechless. “Don’t tell anyone but Gary had it for a while. They got him on some stuff and it went away. I can tell from how you flipped out when I poked you; sorry by the way.”

Somehow she’s managed to grasp the wrong end of an entirely different stick. She’s noticed exactly what I was trying to hide but her brain has somehow processed it as something entirely different… yet the same. This is an outcome I had not foreseen or considered but it does give me a plausible camouflage going forward should I get the right situation.

“Um, yeah, thanks I guess,” I mumble trying to sound embarrassed for that totally boy reason. “It’s kinda humiliating, I didn’t want to tell anyone.”

Megan scoffed and patted me on the back, “Sheesh, don’t worry about it ok? You can get it fixed, no problem. Gary’s doctor said it’s normal for boys your age. Can happen to anyone.”

I looked at my feet as we walked and nodded along to what she had said. “I guess I’ll speak to my mom and see if we can see the doctor.”

“Ah you spoiled it.” Megan groaned slapping her leg in mock frustration. “If only you’d actually seemed reluctant to tell your mom.”

Kara and Gary were already walking up their driveway, lost in their own world talking about whatever weeb crap they were currently watching and totally ignoring the scene Megan was creating out here on the sidewalk. I stopped and stared at her. “What the hell are you talking about?”

Megan shook her head and gestured up to the house. “Come on up and we’re going to have a chat, Alex. I’m pretty sure you’re going to need it.”

Goose officially cooked: please send help and a fork.

 

* * *

 

Let me paint this picture for you because this is one of those pivotal moment type of deals. I’m sat in Megan’s bedroom waiting for her to get back. She’s downstairs talking to her mom and grabbing drinks for our ‘study’ time as she’s spinning it. Her room is the typical teen girl paradise of dusty pastels and white furniture that I honestly expected it to be. It’s certainly not one I’ve been in before besides my own sister’s at home but she moved on from pastels at age thirteen. The bed isn’t a canopy as thankfully she’s not that far gone to girlyness but it’s big and fluffy and honestly looks kind of amazing. I’m perched on her desk chair awaiting sentencing.

I have a deep sinking feeling that Megan has cracked my subterfuge wide open and her gynecomastia angle was some ruthlessly cunning bullshit. This chick goes up three notches on my threat board going forward. Where do we stand? I’m pretty convinced she knows I have boobs and I’m pretty convinced she knows that they’re not an accident either. How much more is entirely up for play but my cards are now a lot closer to my chest, which might be part of the problem.

The door opens as Megan returns with a pair of tall glasses of coke in her hands. Kicking it closed with a foot she offers one to me and places hers on the nightstand. I figure I can attempt to bluff her out and hope she keeps quiet or wait and see what cards she’s going to play.

“Isn’t your mom going to be worried you closed the door with a boy up here?” I ask, hoping for some reprieve from her private torture chamber.

Megan grins and shrugs nonchalantly, “She didn’t mention it actually.”

I know her inference. I’m pretty sure a lot of people think I’m gay or otherwise inclined. I accepted that possibility a long time ago because I didn’t actually care. It’s hard to be offended for being called something you aren’t when it doesn’t offend your sensibility of what you are. Being seen as gay is fine; I’ve no male ego to be offended. The simple fact is that I don’t have it in me to play both a macho girl hunter and a boy. I’m really not into them at all that way.

“So.” She announces dropping onto her bed and fixing me with a grin. “Where shall we start? Hmm, are you maybe a little warm?”

“Huh, no?”

The truth is that I am absolutely too damn warm; I’m boiling. I suspect that this skank has turned the heat up when she was downstairs because September should not feel like June. If this is her opening salvo, touché Megan, because I can feel a bead of sweat dripping down my spine.

“You sure?” She grins broadly. She reminds me of a Great White Shark circling her prey. “I know you have boobs Alex so why pretend otherwise?” Take your jacket and hoodie off, it’s just us in here.”

The problem is that I know she’s right and she knows that I know that she knows that I know… God, even I’m lost.

So far, her opening salvo is exposure; I can pretend to be fine and suffer which leaves her assumptions without much evidence other than her inference. Alternatively, I can comply and leave myself at her mercy and see what happens. I can’t lie; the idea of someone knowing about me is really quite tempting. My desire to share this part of me is so overwhelming that I’ve fought it for so long. I let my shoulders sag, ditch the suit jacket and unzip my hoodie. I give her a wilting look and shrug it off my shoulders. I feel far cooler straight away and I know she’s won.

Megan doesn’t say anything at first, but I know she’s looking at me more closely, trying to see the extent of my chest. Fuck it, I’ve hidden long enough. I sit upright, pulling myself out of my perpetual hunch, and for once, don’t hide myself. “It’s not gynecomastia.”

Megan smiles gently, “I know.”

I adjust my posture and how I’m sitting to be more comfortable more me. If I’m going to tell someone, I’m damn well going to be me when I do so. My slump and slouch might be part of my camouflage but it won’t get in the way now. Pulling my legs together and sitting up straight, I know my chest is far more visible now, I can see that from the look in her eyes. Why are words hard? You have this image in your mind of the perfect reveal, the perfect statement to declare to the world who and what you are but you just stumble like a moron because your heart is in your mouth and you’re shaking like a leaf.

“I’m trans…um, I’m a transgender, um girl? I’m a girl.” I stumble and trip over the words I’ve been desperate to say for so long and make an utter ass of it. In levels of coming out, it’s about there with tripping over my own bra, if I had one.

I can’t look up, not at Megan. I just sit here staring at my hands in my lap, feeling a hotness that isn’t part of her torture plan burning up my face as I await her response. I’m not expecting the hug that wraps around me.

“I had some idea you know, but I wasn’t certain sweetie,” Megan whispers as she envelops me in a hug. “It’s ok, you’re safe here.”

So, yeah, as you expected this is the part where I blub my guts out and break down now the emotional Rubicon has been crossed. It’s not pretty at all honestly; pretty crying is reserved for when you’re faking it. Real crying, the real emotional outpouring is ugly as hell. Snot, tears, nose blowing and strange faces are all part of the deal. After an unknown amount of time, I managed to pull myself together. I must look like a total sight to Megan but she doesn’t seem to care.

I tuck my hair back behind my ears and try and pull myself together. We’ve ended up sitting on her bed together and now that the storm has passed I can honestly say that a significant weight has been lifted from me.

“So you don’t hate me then?” I ask sheepishly, hoping that the stubborn snot bubble has disappeared finally.

Megan smiles and shakes her head. “No, of course not sweetie but… wow, this is big.”

“Yeah kinda.” I chuckle darkly. “Life ending big.”

“Your parents don’t know?” She asks gently, her expression shifting to one of surprise when I shake my head. “Wait, so… all of this.” She gestures at me. “They have no idea? How?”

“You get real good at hiding who you are over time,” I reply. “Having to hide everything about my personality, and my feelings meant that my appearance was just another level of disguise.”

“So you’re not seeing a doctor?”

“No,” I admit slowly. “Now I know you’re going to say it’s dangerous and stupid to take things without supervision but I did my research and I had no choice. There’s too much at risk; I couldn’t spend years being psychoanalyzed and told to wait for some far-off specific date or age. I couldn’t let myself…” I take a deep breath and try and fight back the tears I know are close. “I couldn’t become a man.”

Megan shakes her head and runs a finger along my cheek. “You know, now that I can see it, I don’t even know how anyone sees you as a boy.”

I laugh for the first time in our conversation. “Most people don’t, but people who know me all have this preconceived idea of what I am so they just ignore the other signs. Plus, I dress and behave to hide it all… kinda.”

“I’m so sorry for poking you,” Megan grins slyly. “I know how much that hurts.”

“Asshole,” I grumble not entirely still mad at her for it while I rub my chest. “That really does hurt, I’ve only banged them twice so far and it’s been a shock.”

“How long?” she asks.

“Six months nearly,” I admit grinning sheepishly. “It’s becoming a bit much to hide now.”

“You’re afraid to tell your parents, aren’t you? Do you think they’ll get mad?”

I nod, it’s been my fear the whole time. I’m pretty convinced it won’t fit with their plans for my life and if they don’t toss me out on my backside entirely, I’ll be sent off for correction lest the neighbors find out. “I’m afraid they’ll ship me off to military school or a therapist or something,” I murmur. I didn’t think I had a choice.”

“Oh, baby.” Megan sighs, wrapping her arms around me. “I’m the first person you’ve told aren’t I?”

I nod into her shoulder, not really able to form words at that moment and she hugs me tighter. “I’m sorry for forcing it out of you then” she mumbles into my shoulder. “I’ll help you ok? With whatever you need.”

“You don’t need to do that, I’ve managed this long on my own.”

Megan shakes her head. “With girl stuff or with hiding girl stuff, you’ve got me in your corner ok? No expectations, no requirements., I’m just here for you ok? I don’t know how I’d cope with bottling so much up and keeping it from literally everyone. Do you ever actually relax?”

I smirk at the very idea of relaxing, “When I’m asleep maybe.”

Megan looks me over critically and raises an eyebrow. “So let’s see what we’re working within either direction then… girl up or boy up, let’s see… Wait, no, ok, you’re wearing underwear right?” she jumps up and runs over to her door and ensures it’s shut. “Off with everything.”

“Everything?” I balk, “No way!”

Megan rolls her eyes. “Keep your underwear on but everything else… off,” she demands. “Look, you’re a girl, right? So am I, it’s fine. Now stop stalling and strip, I want to see what we’re working with if we’re going to try and hide this”

Reluctantly I unfasten my belt, which is mostly all that is holding up my pants, and let them drop to the floor. Stepping out, I begin to unbutton my shirt. “This feels super creepy with you watching me you know,” I grumble at her. “Can you make me feel less like a cheap hooker?”

Megan crosses her arms and taps her foot impatiently and simply raises an eyebrow. With a sigh, I slip my shirt from my shoulders and stand there in a tee and my way-too-tight boxer shorts. I can barely bring myself to look at her as I remove my clothes, I don’t know what she’s going to think of my strangeness. I turn around and pull the shirt off and cover my chest with my hands before turning back to face her. The look on her face is exactly what I was expecting; total shock.

“Dude, you’re a girl,” Megan splutters. The look on her face is genuinely one of those I wish I had a camera ready for. I don’t think I’ve seen a human being look so confused before as she stands there in front of me..

“How the hell did I not see any of this?” she murmurs walking around me. You know, because I didn’t feel enough like meat without her doing a three hundred and sixty degree assessment.

“I guess I dress to hide it.” I shrug. “Can I put my clothes back on?”

“Nah,” she replies nonchalantly as she tosses me her dressing gown. “Put this on.”

“I’m not wearing your clothes or dressing up for you.” I assert, hoping this isn’t the plot to some bad trans-fiction adventure where I get dolled up in her frillies and her mom thinks I’m some random girlfriend.

“No, don’t be daft, we don’t have enough time for that.” she offers dismissively. “You’re right though, that’s going to be hard to conceal. What are you doing for gym class?”

I tie the sash on her terry cloth dressing gown and sit back on the bed. “I have no idea.” I sigh with resignation. It’s Wednesday and I have no freaking clue what I’m going to do.”

I will admit that sitting here in her dressing gown, not actually having to hunch or compress my posture is monumentally liberating. There’s nothing boyish or girlish, it just feels gloriously comfortable.

“There is no way you can change in there with the boys or go out there in gym clothes.” Megan points out looking almost horrified. “Your secret will be exposed the second you take off your shirt, fake an illness?”

“Maybe for one, but it won’t help with the next week onward,” I admit reluctantly.

“I’ll think about it and find you something to do,” she waves the topic away. “But your appearance is going to be tough even in school. I knew something was off this morning but after this…” she gestures at my body. “I honestly can’t unsee it.”

“That ugly huh?”

Megan sits down beside me and shakes her head, “No, not ugly honey. You’re… really average; for a girl your age.”

I let out a breath I think that I’ve been holding for six months. “What the hell can I do?”

Megan seems to ponder the idea for a moment. “Short of cutting your hair off and growing a beard, not much we can do. Obviously, we need to flatten those things out.” She gestures at my left boob. “That’s the big problem, pardon the pun.”

“I’m considering using sports bandages, Rob has a bunch from football.”
Megan nods along with my idea. “That or a sports bra.”

“Someone touches my back and feels a strap and I’m dead, a bandage I can explain as an injury.” I counter.

“How big are you?” She asks, tilting her head to one side like a curious puppy. “Like, A, B?”

My expression conveys my lack of remote knowledge of the subject. That and I haven’t dared measure and make things real. I figured I’d ignore it all and hope I’d make it to college first.

Megan rolls her eyes and pulls me to my feet and ruffles the lapels of the dressing gown. “Off with this, I want to measure you.”

“Do you have to?” I moan clutching my lapels and my dignity like a fifties housewife.

Megan ignores me and pulls the tie open and forces the gown off my shoulders. “Stop being such a prude, this is normal, now stand still and let me get one of my bras.”

“I am not dressing up Megan.” I insist as firmly as I can while covering my chest. This is one of those firsts in life and a valuable lesson for anyone else out there in my position. If like me, you are having a conversation with your breasts in your hands, you really don’t have as much authority as you might expect.

“I just want to compare sizes, you’re a similar size to me in the torso so we should get a good idea of cup size at least. If we know that going forward we know what we have to work with”

Sound like a trap? Absolutely, but at the time I had no idea why. What turned out to be far more amusing was that neither did she.

Begrudgingly and not without a little huffing, I allowed Megan to strap me into one of her bras. I will admit it was quite amusing when she had to tighten the straps and use the tightest hooks to get it to fit my slightly smaller torso than her own. The cups were far emptier than hers as we both expected, but in a feeling I can only describe as both joyful and terrifying, they were far from empty.

What surprised me most was the feeling of security and support it gave me, it managed to make me feel a way I’ve never felt before. Did I put the cart before the horse with this transition crap? Absolutely. I’m doing all of this ass-backward, but standing here with my breasts in a bra felt utterly out of this world correct.

“I don’t know how I feel about this,” I admit, jiggling my chest in the bra as I stare down at my honest to god boobage. “This is crazy.”

Megan scratches her head and grins sheepishly. “No kidding.”
The mirror in front of me is complicated. I see a teenage girl in a boy's boxer shorts and a bra, but I also see myself. I see my flaws and I see what I consider my male features. It’s a confusing image but one that I accept looks more female than male currently. A small part of my brain wants to see what I look like in girl clothes, but the self-preserving part tells me how terrible an idea that is.

You think my brain is messed up? Imagine you’re taking active steps to transition and live your true life, but at the same time have to hide it. Can you actually fathom how much shame and mental trauma that generates? Answer? Quite a lot.

The very fact that I made it this far in one piece was a true shock to me in hindsight. It would take me a lot of years and a huge therapist's bill to unfuck the mess that was my self-esteem at this point in time. Honestly, I had more therapy for that than I did for being transgender. That shit was obvious.

“I don’t know how you manage,” Megan says softly, snapping me from my reverie. I wrap my arm around myself, under my breasts, for the first time not attempting to hide them or worried that they’ll show.

“I have to,” I admit sadly. “One day this will all be worth it.”

Megan smiles kindly, we’re sharing a moment. It’s really cool because it’s my first moment like this… girl to girl. We know what we each mean and we don’t need to say it and that feels unusual but correct. The problem is that the first cherished moment of shared bonding is ruined when the bedroom door slams open and Kara piles into the room at full speed. “Meg I….”

Kara slides to a halt in the middle of the floor, I’m standing there in one of Megan’s bras with my hair loose and she’s speechless. Neither of us is moving or speaking, but we’re both staring at Kara.

“Uh, Alex?” She asks slowly, very uncertainly, as though she’s suffering sudden onset brain damage.

Megan snaps out of her stupor and rushes past her sister to slam the door closed. “What the fuck Kar? Since when do you barge in here when my door is closed?”

“Uh, all the time, I thought you were alone?” She fires back totally forgetting me until my reaching for the dressing gown catches her attention. “Waitagoddamnminutewhatthefuckisthis?”

I have no way to reply to this, I’m basically frozen in panic. I’m standing here in one of my female friend's bedrooms in her bra and my underwear, my hair is down and my body is on full display. The cat that had been in the bag is now enjoying a comfortable career as a writer for the Times after publishing its best-selling autobiography, ‘How I Got out of the Bag’.

I have just enough mental fortitude to grab the gown and tie it tightly around my waist. I know how I probably look but that’s the furthest from my mind currently. I’m on the edge of hyperventilating, and I’m looking back and forth between Meg and Kara uncertain as to what’s going to occur next.

“Kara you can’t say a word about this,” Megan answers sternly, fixing her sister with a glare. “You cannot tell anyone about Alex.”

Kara turns to stare at me properly, her eyes wandering the length of my body and face. I know what she’s seeing; it’s the closest to the real me that anyone has ever seen so far. My hair is loose and I’m wearing Megan’s pastel green robe. My legs are exposed and my chest and waist are quite visible in the thin garment. I look female yet she know’s its me, Alex, her male friend. I’m well aware of what I look like this way and it makes me feel conflicted. I’m both overjoyed to be seen by other people and terrified of the potential this causes.

“We can explain,” Megan insists, eying her sister carefully. “You can’t tell Mom and Dad ok?”

Kara looks dumbfounded, she’s clearly struggling to associate what she sees with what she knows and it’s breaking her brain. If this was a cartoon, steam would be pouring out of her ears.

“Alex?” she asks dumbly, “I don’t understand what’s going on.”

My heart rate is slowing and I’m able to find my voice finally. “Kara, this is kinda complicated, well,” I pause and mentally shrug. “It’s not; I’m trans.”

“You are?” “she blinks, “How do you look like a girl? I came in here and you had boobs, and hips and…” she trails off looking vaguely confused.

I go through the entire explanation again. It’s actually a lot easier now that I’ve told Megan. She helps me with her sister and together we fill in my sordid antics up until her shenanigans with a bra, a bra that I’m still wearing. That and I’m sitting here in a short green robe… with girls, as a girl. Holy shit this is actually happening.

Megan smirks and shakes her head as I finish my retelling of the story. “You know, this entire time I’ve not seen a single male mannerism from you, it’s uncanny.”

“I mean he was never that manly before” Kara points out before she whinces visibly. “Oh gosh, Alex I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…”

“It’s totally fine,” I shrug, feeling my boobs jiggle in the bra. That’s a weird as-heck experience. “I mean that’s kinda a compliment.”

“It is?” Kara blinks.

I nod, “Sure it is; It would be weird if I was manly and a girl.” I shrug sheepishly.

Kara seems to get it. I think somehow she thinks this is happening against my desires. Like some genetic spaghetti that I can’t control despite my explaining quite clearly otherwise.
“This is so weird.” she breathes shaking her head.

“You’re not going to tell anyone are you?” I ask nervously. Honestly, I’m not sure what she’s going to do. Megan is one thing I hadn’t budgeted for, but Kara is truly breaking the bank.

“So will you be going to our school?”

Her question is innocent but I know there’s absolutely no way that is happening. This is where we diverge from the typical fiction fodder, sorry.

“What, and do a quick change in a phone booth each day? No way Kara. All I want to do is hide it till I get to college.”

“Hang on, your parents don’t know about… all of this?” she gestures in my general direction.

“It turns out people don’t pay that much attention when you’re a depressed loner,” I admit with a sardonic smile.

I want this to be abundantly clear, my parents don’t mistreat me or neglect me in any way at all. They were great parents in most respects. We never wanted for anything when it came to school or our health but we were actively encouraged to work to earn our own money. If I wasn’t transgender and felt like my siblings I would have had the happiest of childhoods imaginable.

The difference in my case is my whole not being their son deal. It’s gotten in the way for a long time and it’s driven a wedge between us that I hope to one day repair. I also realized that if I withdrew from my family, they wouldn’t notice my true nature. Originally this was just about my behavior, but it came in really handy when I took matters into my own hands.

This is why I can exist in a world where my mom doesn’t quite notice how feminine I’m getting or how her son has what we’ve established to be a full A cup’s worth of boobs.

“How the hell are you planning to hide all of this?” Kara asks when I’m done explaining everything, including my hair-brained scheme to stay in the boys school. “Do you even realize how crazy this sounds?”

“Not like I have a ton of choice is it?” I mutter sourly. “If I come out, I run the risk of getting sent off to be ‘fixed’ or straight up disowned. My only other option was to suffer and wait meaning that I slowly turn into my brother; neither outcome is a success really. My only choice was to do something to stop this nightmare and hope I can hang on long enough to be the real me someplace safe that I control.”

“I don’t think you’re going to survive until Thanksgiving like this,” Meg jokes softly. I know she means well, and I know deep down that’s great, but it’s also terrifying. I know that as much as I joke and make light, this is serious business.

“I’ve got to try.”

We continued to talk while I got myself dressed again. I’m sure you want me to say something like ‘It’s all girls here, tee hee’ but it was simpler to say that I had nothing left to hide, aside from one thing nobody in that room wanted to see, including me.

Kara shook her head when I was fully dressed again in the clothes I’d arrived in. “Honestly, I can’t see you as male anymore babe, I know you look the same as this morning but It’s like… we opened the box on Schrödinger’s experiment.”

“So I’m a poisoned cat?” I frown, recalling the whole cat in a box with poison experiment we’d been covering in Physics. I adjust the tie around my neck and does rather feel more like a noose after this afternoon’s shenanigans.

“No you’re not a cat dumbass,” Kara grins, “I just… I can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner.”

“I didn’t exactly want you to, that was the point.” I roll my eyes.

Megan elbows her sister and tosses me my bag. “We’re going to play dumb with Gary and everyone else, got it?” We’re going to keep Alex’s cover, as long as… I see her literally freeze over the pronoun like it’s a landmine. I know she wants to say she, but she’s resisting the urge for my sake. “he, needs us to.”

I gave her a grateful smile in return and heaved the bag over my shoulder and made my exit. I jogged down the stairs and was almost at the door when I heard my name called from the family room.

“Alex, that you? What are you doing here?” Gary wandered into the hallway in dirty sweatpants with a bag of chips in his hand and his xbox headset over his ears, the classiest example of manhood.

“I was hanging with Meg, why?”

Gary gave me a funny look, “You never hang out with my sister bro, what’s up?”

“They’re ahead of us in physics, I wanted her notes is all.”

Gary seems to accept my academic ploy without question. The idea of schoolwork to him at this time of day is difficult to stomach so he reverts to disinterest. “Right, ok, well, see you tomorrow I guess.”

I wave and beat a retreat before he can question why, in the first week of school, the girls are somehow ahead of us academically. My friend is wonderful, but he’s not the brightest sometimes. Gary if you ever read this… surprise I guess?

I make it home a little after five and head straight up to my bedroom almost immediately. Mom is home and making dinner and my sibling creature Rob is somewhere in his cave judging by the awful music I can hear through the walls.

I ditch my school clothes quickly behind the locked door of my room. Somehow my chest feels naked now without Megan’s bra. I can’t think about such things; going down that road will get me caught. I climb into my customary oversized hoodie and baggy jeans. They are as much a practical disguise as they are a comfort to me. It used to be that I wore clothes like this to hide my shitty body; it let me pretend I didn’t look like a boy. It’s ironic that the same clothes now mask my burgeoning womanhood. I could make a long and complicated analogy about how one prison can serve two purposes, but that would take effort and I’m a teenager, ok?

I have a couple of hours before dinner, so I settle down and get to work on my assignments. First day you say? Yeah, we do, welcome to private school.

 

* * *

 

“How was school boys?”

My brother Rob shrugs at our father’s question and stuffs more potato into his gaping maw. “Ok I guess,” he mumbles, barely managing to avoid spraying the table.

“Robert, don’t talk with your mouth full!” my mother chides from across the table. “What about you Alex dear?”

I shrug and swallow my own food like a human being with decent table manners.“It was okay I suppose. Not much to really tell I’f I’m being honest; it was only the first day after all.”

“Why can’t you answer normally like your brother?” Mom returns her attention to my more unevolved sibling. “He took the time to swallow his food before speaking in full sentences.”

Rob rolls his eyes and shakes his head. He’s heard this story a million times. Mom has always resorted to playing us against the other. This is one of those parental guilt tactics that moms are so amazingly good at. Somehow, one of us will have screwed up and the other will be a paragon of perfection, this will be pointed out to us ad nauseum. At the time I hated it, but what teen didn’t? Many years later, game would respect game.

“You trying out for football this year?” Dad asks me casually, glancing in my direction. He has done this every year since I started middle school and he’s convinced that I’ll turn into Rob with just a little socially acceptable violence in padding. By golly it made him the man he is today apparently and he’s desperate to turn his youngest into a chip off the old block. There was once a time when I would placate him and offer excuses. If I make the right noises I’ll get him off my back, but these days I just tell him the truth.

“No Dad,” I sigh. “I’m still not even slightly interested.”

“I don’t see why not,” he counters undaunted. “It did great things for your brother.”

“And my brother has the IQ of a gas station corndog, what’s your point?”

Rob flicks a slice of carrot at me from across the table and sneers. “At least I’m not a scrawny little dweeb that needs his ass saving every day.”

Mom’s glare halts Big Brother in his tracks. This is pretty typical of us honestly, and I don’t hate it. Our family is as dysfunctional as any, but we still love each other. Rob has defended me at school, and I’ve been to his games to watch him play. I may not really be his brother but I do love him, even if I really enjoy pressing his buttons.

We finish dinner and go our separate ways for the evening. Mom and Dad settle in front of the TV and I make best speed for my room; my loner disguise is pretty effective these days in distracting from the truth of the matter. I can tell Mom is worried at times, but there’s not much I can do. We’re a traditional family, and my parents have good serious careers.

We’re loosely Methodist and only tend to do church on major holidays or events. Thank god we’re not some of those loopy wackjobs that are starting to spread across the country. I’m pretty sure I’d be dead already if we had one of those fire and brimstone pastors. Between our general ‘Christian moral values’ as a family and the company my parents keep, I’m well aware that my coming out would be a problem.

Whatever their personal feelings about trans people or me in particular, I know the truth coming out would affect their lives and people’s views of them. Dad and his job, Rob and his classmates… Mom would probably be cast out by her friends. I shouldn’t be putting everyone else before me, but I can’t help it; it’s always the way I’ve been.

The evening is quiet and thankfully free from new drama. It’s only the first day of school and everything’s already fallen apart. People have noticed some changes, though thankfully not what those changes mean. Two whole people, two human beings know my secret. I’m not sure how to mentally unpack that one, but considering they’re cool about it, I guess that’s… good?

I guess we shall see what the future holds, but for now, bring on the black oblivion of sleep. Something tells me this isn’t going to get any easier with time.

 

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Honest account

Patricia Marie Allen's picture

It's a good story if a little heavy on the narrative. But I suppose that's to be expected when your protagonist is a loner. Weren't we all in high school? While I did a good job of faking it, I still found myself to be my own best company.

Hugs
Patricia

Happiness is being all dressed up and HAVING some place to go.
Semper in femineo gerunt
Ich bin eine Mann

Starts...

Kit's picture

This is the begining and Alex/Holly had a lot to establish there. This is a memoir of sorts for her.

Trust me, from this point onward the level of dialogue to narrative evens out nicely into a more normal level. First person is a different style for me so I'm enjoying being a bit more sarcastic with it :)

I like Turtles.

A good start

I like the perspective and dialogue on this one. What challenges await Alex on day 2 and beyond? How long will his hidden existence stay hidden? Looking forward to the next installment.

Thanks! It's my first try

Kit's picture

Thanks! It's my first try with this style and I'm enjoying the writing exercise.

The rest of this ride is a monster! you'll love it :D

I like Turtles.

Coming of age

is an old trope but I like your approach to this. It resonates with me. keep it up

The fun fact is...

Kit's picture

The driving story element here of the individual starting hrt in secret is actually true. I changed nearly all the details and the outcome, but in this case, the trope is biographical accurate... with a mildly different outcome.

I like Turtles.

Hiding boobs

Granted Holly/Alex can't undress totally for gym but outside of that a compression vest for F->Ms would work pretty well.

For the last three years of visiting my parents I had to cope with hiding breast implants which do not flatten out nearly as well as actual human mammary tissue. Something about water being an incompressible fluid ....

Anyway, I got one of those but they did not do the entire job due to said implants. Luckily I was really really skinny so the solution was to add some padding underneath that compression vest to make the waist thicker as well as adding enough padding under the breast to be level with the now padded waist. The thicker waist also made me look more straight up and down too.

It was not comfortable for long term use unfortunately but doable for a short visit home.

*sigh*.

Methodists ...

Jezzi Stewart's picture

... I am one. The Methodist church worldwide is split just about down the middle on LGBTQwhatever. In the US over half support while world wide elsewhere it's just the opposite. Like many churches of the old established protestant denominations ours has a dwindling congregation of about 90% seniors. In a church that seats about 200 we have about 20-25 show up Sundays. Almost all of those know we are about equally divided politically and sex/gender wise. Since otherwise we all like each other, which acknowledging our positions would destroy. we've unofficially and silently adopted a "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy. So has the UMC church closest to us north; closest south is openly gender friendly. I'm am afraid come the results of November we may find that south church literally outlawed along with a lot of other things we've taken for granted, like democracy. VOTE in November!
Hugs, because we all need them, Jezzi

BE a lady!

Religion is tough...

Kit's picture

The problem with faith is there are extremes in all faith groups. Thankfully most stick to the teachings and preach love and tolerance.

I chose Methodist as a fairly common faith branch in the US, and this family are... very Holidays and festivals types. Not super churchy or crazy.

I like Turtles.

I Empathise

joannebarbarella's picture

With Alex. I didn't have to go through what he/she is going through, but only because my schooldays were in the 1950s and I didn't have the possibilities of feminizing agents. I can certainly understand the terror.

It's a toughie for sure but

Kit's picture

It's a toughie for sure but then, it still is. Doing this in secret leads to a lot of shame and neurosis about things.

I like Turtles.

I loved

I loved reading from start to finish, it is a very good read, it catches you by being interesting and heavy in equal parts, the narrative makes it very enjoyable to read and the comments you make from time to time remind me of sitcoms like "everyone hates chris" or "how i met your mother", it's certainly a little harsher than the stories you normally find but it doesn't become depressing, well at least for me, maybe there are those who were hit harder

The story gets lighter as the

Kit's picture

The story gets lighter as the protagonist's overall sense of doom lessens. At the start, she's terrified and hanging on, I wanted it to feel heavier. Fear not, its more fun later!

The goal was to be sarcastic, to poke fun at some tropes and eye rollers in the TG Fiction world and yet, have a character that was 'aware' they were in a TG fiction :D

I like Turtles.

Male scent

Yep, it is certainly different.

I think it makes or breaks the whole attraction thing if one can or cannot tolerate that scent.

For me, that has been generally a big nope, it is way too acrid to my nose and if I had to hug such a thing long term e.g. share a bed, well that just won't do.

Point is, don't be bummed if it turns you off, it just is.

Loving this

Alice-s's picture

Not the usual story. A good take on things and recognise a lot of the blending into the background

Going for the macro stuff I see

“To me, there is nothing is more clear than the atoms that make up our world.”

Personally I usually didn’t bother with things larger than electrons when instuteised.

Theriouthly though I like the story. In particular the digs at “standard” TG stories.

:)

Kit's picture

The wording can sometimes be a bit large for a kid, but remember this is being written by an adult and a doctor no less... twenty years after the story. :D

And thanks, though the digs at trans-fiction tropes are meant with love, not hate. I truly love those stories, and this is more a light poke at them for fun :D A Scary Movie to the Scream :D

I like Turtles.

Who said anything about hate?

Believe it or not, I like making fun of things I love better than those other things.

And yes, the original English environment does come through in many ways. And the response to that is: "What's the matter"?"

It took a while to get used to the

Angharad's picture

adolescent sarcasm and paranoia. It's a different take to the usual. Not sure I like everything being American, but seeing as the country is a fucked up as our protagonist, it somehow fits.

Angharad

Time...

Kit's picture

Got to remember this is 20 years ago... very different times and attitudes. In the protagonist's case, extreme isolation and the wrong information from others.

She was quite paranoid indeed, isolation does that to you.

I like Turtles.