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Serena Taylor hated being Seth, hated school and it was all because of her father. He just refused to see the real her. She wanted to move forward with her transition and to study ballet professionally but she was beginning to lose hope. Would her life ever turn around?




Okay, I have to admit that was painful, I thought with a groan. “What? You mean the look… I reserve… for morons? Believe me Tommy… if I’m interested… in men… you have… nothing to worry about.”


Author's Note: Thanks to Talia for sparking this idea in me. Thanks as usual to my readers and of course the Big Closet team who work tirelessly to give us all a great place to post and read TG fiction. ~Amethyst.


I’ve always hated school. Now I know what you’re probably going to say, all kids hate going to school. There’s all that learning and schoolwork, and having to sit still when all you want to do is go outside and play. I’m different though; I always have been and probably always will be different. It wasn’t really the classes or the work I hated, it was the social aspects, and it had been like that since kindergarten. The big reason I’ve always hated school though is quite simple, I call him Dad.

When my dad was in college in the early nineties he started a small company and made it big via the internet boom. Now he was a powerful and influential businessman. He could provide anything I could possibly want that money could buy. The irony was that he seemed incapable of giving me the one thing I truly wanted from him. I wanted to be free to be the person I was inside and to have him accept that. I wanted him to love me unconditionally.

Despite what genetics and biology have tried insisting upon since the day I was born, I always knew that inside I was a girl. There has never been a doubt in my mind about this and I’ve displayed feminine behavior, interests, and habits since I was old enough to walk and play on my own, possibly even longer than that, but it’s pretty hard to tell before that. My mom has always taken it in stride and just wanted me to be happy, but my dad has never been able to handle it.

I wanted to play with dolls, wear pretty dresses, have tea parties, and basically just be free to be myself, but my dad could never accept that. He kept trying to push me into sports, playing with other boys, and doing the things that they did, things that didn’t interest me at all. It got worse when I started kindergarten. There was no more dress-up and I had to wear boy clothes to school and try to act like a boy. I wasn’t a good actress though so I never fit in with the boys and since I was supposed to be a boy none of the girls wanted me involved in their activities.

I began to get more and more withdrawn and depressed so when I was seven my mom took me to a therapist. After six months of venting my frustrations with him Dr. Fields had me take some tests and determined that I had gender dysphoria, like that was a big surprise to anyone but my dad. That wasn’t really his field of expertise though so he had me referred to Dr. Kayla Sanderson, a gender therapist. I started seeing Dr. Sanderson when I was eight and after our first conversation the first thing she suggested was to give me an outlet. Her suggestion was to get me some girl clothes and possibly get me involved in a more classically feminine activity so that I could explore my gender without being restricted to the male stuff my dad kept pushing on me.

When we left the office that afternoon Mom took me shopping in Times Square. She got me a wig to cover up the buzz cut, two dresses, a denim skirt, three feminine shirts, some panties, shoes and accessories, and a pair of girl’s jeans. That day changed my life, not just because of the clothes, or being able to be a girl with my mom, but because that was the day I found my passion in life. We had been walking along Broadway when my mother seemed to come to a decision.

The Mariinsky Ballet was in town and they were performing Giselle. My Mom bought two tickets and then we had dinner together while she explained to me what ballet was, until it was nearly time for the evening show. When the lights went down and the music began I turned my eyes to the stage. My eyes never strayed away from that stage until the show was over. It was the most beautiful, incredible thing I had ever seen, and I needed more. Yana Artemieva was so beautiful and graceful as Giselle and I wanted, more than anything else in the world, to be like that.

I don’t know how, but Mom convinced Dad to allow me to dress as I pleased at home and even to have one of the recreation rooms converted to a dance studio so I could have private ballet lessons at home. He had conditions though, and I learned over the years that there were always conditions to anything that could possibly make me happy. In this case one of the conditions was that I could dress as I liked at home and grow my hair out, but if he had business associates over I’d have to dress as a boy and I had to dress as a boy for school as well. The other condition was that I could have daily ballet lessons at home, except for Saturdays. On Saturdays I would have to do an activity of his choice with him so we could ‘bond’.

As a result of this I was much happier at home than at school. School was the place I went to suffer. I had to be Seth there, I didn’t have any friends, I was quiet and withdrawn, and school work was a welcome distraction to me. I was living a half-life and it was making me miserable and frustrated. My only release for this was ballet. I could just lose myself in the movements and the music and forget everything else but dancing. I practiced whenever I could; I had dozens of DVDs of ballet performances and posters all over the walls of my room, many of them featuring my idol Yana Artemieva. I wanted to go see her live again someday, but when I was eleven she retired and I heard that she was teaching.

It was Friday March 14th and I was in my last year of middle school when things came to a head. My father’s conditions were stifling me. His bonding Saturday activities were always something he enjoyed and I hated. There was fishing, hunting, camping, baseball and football games, and various other things, and all of it was sickeningly masculine. I also couldn’t stand the idea that I would have to keep going to school and pretending to be something I wasn’t. My only release was ballet, and my only hope was that my fourteenth birthday was coming up in August and things might change.

I had been seeing Dr. Sanderson for over five years by that point. There was no doubt in her mind that I was a girl inside and when I was eleven she and Mom convinced my father to allow me to go on anti-androgens to prevent puberty. Dad wasn’t very receptive at first, but he was convinced when he found out it would only delay puberty. His condition was that we wait until I was ready to start high school to give him time to adjust before discussing any further options. Now that my fourteenth birthday was coming up I was hoping to start high school as a girl. I should have known better.

Dad picked me up from school that day and he was smiling cheerfully as I got in the car. “How was school today Champ?”

“How many times do I have to tell you how much school sucks before it sinks in?“ I grumbled, answering his question with a question.

“All kids think school sucks Seth,” Dad said with a shrug. “I know I did.”

“It’s Serena,” I snapped. “Come on Dad, say it with me. ‘Se-ree-naa.’ And I’m not all kids, no matter how much you might wish it.”

“That’s not what your birth certificate says,” he reminded me. That was a cheap shot and he damn well knew it. “So… I have to go to L.A. tomorrow morning on business. I won’t be back until Monday evening so I won’t be able to do our regular Saturday thing.”

“However will I survive?” I retorted acidly. “I guess I’ll just have to console myself by practicing.” It would be nice having a Saturday where I wouldn’t be forced to do something I hated.

“Don’t be like that Seth, these Saturdays were meant for us to become closer,” he said with a sigh.

He knew full well those days were just driving a bigger wedge between us and at the moment I wasn’t willing to pander to his little delusions. “Funny, I thought those days were so you could pretend you have a son.”

“I do have a…” He managed to stop himself that time, he usually doesn’t. He took a long deep breath, “Look Seth, I don’t want to fight with you.” Since he managed to stop himself, sort of-ish, I decided to extend him the same courtesy. I held back the obvious comment about how fighting was the only thing we did seem to enjoy doing with one another. Instead I merely shrugged and remained quiet while he spoke again. “I was thinking, you’ll be starting high school next year…”

“And?” I asked hopefully as he trailed off. Maybe he was actually considering letting me legally change my name and start hormones.

“I was thinking I can probably get you into St. Joseph’s,” he said after a moment. “It’s one of the best private schools in the state and a lot of their graduates go on to attend Harvard, Yale, or Oxford.”

St. Joseph’s was a boy’s school… he wanted to send me to a boy’s school. He had no intention of letting me transition or start school as a girl. I was so stunned, so hurt that for several minutes all I could do was clutch my chest where the shattered remnants of my heart burned with grief and pain. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t speak, all I could do was stare at him as the tears started and began to blur my vision. Finally I managed to get out, “If its… such a great school… you can fucking go.”

“Seth…” he began.

I couldn’t take it anymore, I had played it his way all these years, living this parody of a life and making myself miserable. I tried to endure it by distracting myself with ballet and by holding on to my one hope and he had just torn it to pieces right in front of my face. “My name is Serena! Don’t even talk to me, I fucking HATE you!” He looked like I slapped him and he damn well should have because I may not have, but I certainly felt like it. Neither of us said anything the rest of the way home and when we arrived I went straight to my room to change into my practice clothes. I needed to calm down, I needed to dance.


I had just finished my barre exercises and was beginning on my centre practice when my mom came in looking concerned. “Your father just left early for L.A. Serena. You two had another fight didn’t you?”

“I guess that’s one of the perks of having a private jet,” I muttered without stopping my practice. “He can just fly to the other side of the country instead of admitting what an insensitive jerk he is and apologizing.” Mom gave me the dreaded raised eyebrow and I sighed. “It wasn’t my fault Mom. He told me he was thinking about sending me to St. Joseph’s next year. Did you know about this?”

“No, I did not,” she said with a frown and a tone so cold that it would make the denizens of Hell wish for a scarf and gloves. “I will be having a long talk with him about this as soon as he gets back on Monday.” She came over and wrapped her arms around me tightly. It was preventing me from practicing but I really needed to know that one of my parents loved me at that moment.

“Why can’t he just accept who I am Mom?” I said after a few minutes as I let the tears I had been trying to hold back flow. “Am I that much of a disappointment to him?”

She pulled me closer and stroked my shoulder length hair, “You’re not sweetie, he just has a hard time realizing that you’re a girl on the inside. His family was very traditional and he grew up stuck in a different age. Men were supposed to be men and women were supposed to be women.”

“Were there dinosaurs too?” I muttered.

Mom snickered at that and, I couldn’t help it, I gave a little snort-giggle too. “People didn’t understand that gender and birth sex are two very different things back then honey. Most still don’t, and the possibility confuses and scares them like it does your father. People used to a black and white world have difficulty just seeing shades of grey. You show them a rainbow and they can’t handle it, they need to make it fit into how their world works until they can wrap their minds around it. Your dad loves you; he just can’t understand you yet.”

“He’s not even trying to understand me Mom,” I said as I buried myself deeper into her embrace. “He keeps trying to get me to do things he likes, hoping that I’ll become someone I’m not. Every time we get him to allow me to do something that will make me feel better about myself and help me feel normal there’s an ‘only if’ attached. Why can’t I be myself on my own terms? Why can’t he love me and accept me for who I am unconditionally?”

“Give him time sweetie, he’ll come around,” she tried to assure me.

“I’ve given him my whole life Mom! I can’t keep waiting until one of us dies to be myself. I want to go to high school and try and be a normal girl, I want to study ballet professionally, for once in my life I’d like to do what’s going to make me happy without waiting on him to tell me I can as long as I do something for him. It’s not fair!” I was clenching my fists and my teeth as I started crying harder. Mom held me as I cried and vented my frustrations until dinner, and during that time I decided what I had to do. If I was ever going to have any chance at being myself I needed to take Seth out of the picture, permanently.

My ballet teacher Mrs. Robbins arrived after dinner for my usual lesson with her son James. He usually came with her so he could get some extra practice in and so we had someone to dance the male parts of the choreographies. James was sixteen and despite our age difference we got along well. We had a lot in common with our interest in ballet and the fact that neither of us were really what our fathers wanted us to be. Neither of us really had a lot of friends either with me being a girl forced to be a boy and James being openly gay. I wouldn’t call James a friend really; we were more like collaborators than anything else.

After James’ mom had put us through our exercises and a bit of practice she had us run through the lead roles for Romeo and Juliet, which we had been practicing for the past few weeks, while she filmed it on the video camera my Mom had gotten me for the studio. We usually recorded practices so we could look over them later and see any errors in our stance or movements that would need to be corrected. James was just as eager to improve as I was, though he was hoping to go into modern dance in college, whereas I wanted to be a prima ballerina. His dream was a bit more realistic than mine.

That practice was just what I needed to cool off and feel better. I allowed myself to get lost in the music and the choreography and let the rest of the world fade away. Nothing else was important when I danced except for the feel of the music and expressing that music through my body and movements. Don’t get me wrong, I was still really angry at my dad and I still intended to go through with my newly formed plan, but as I danced I could forget all that for a while. My lesson time was over far too quickly and I had to return to reality. I was a little down about that as James and Mrs. Robbins left, especially since they would be away for the weekend and I wouldn’t have another lesson until Monday.

I spent most of that weekend with my mom as she tried to shake me free of my dark mood. That night we snuggled on the couch, ate cookies and cream ice cream and watched my favorite movie, The Princess Bride. I always enjoyed spending time like that with my Mom. She was the one person in my world besides my gender therapist, and possibly James, who understood me and that I didn’t have to be somebody else for. The next two days we spent together, just us girls, as we often did when Dad was out of town and I needed some girl time out of the house. We spent most of the day on Saturday shopping and went to dinner and to see a new Broadway show in the evening. On Sunday we had a spa day and I was feeling much more relaxed as I went through my exercises and practiced on my own before bed.


Monday morning I had a little more in my backpack than my school books. Mom dropped me off with ten minutes to spare before the first bell and as soon as I got inside I made for one of the solitary washrooms for special needs students. The second I was inside I locked the door behind me and took off the t-shirt, jean and sneakers I was wearing, leaving me only in a pair of panties, with that disgusting thing between my legs tucked well out of sight, I hated my body so much when I came to school and usually the clothes made it worse. Not only was I forced to wear male clothes, but the girls all got to wear dresses and skirts if they wanted, and the bumps on their chests made it clear that they were developing in ways that I wasn’t.

I couldn’t do anything about my flat chest, but the rest was easy enough. I put on the nice cream colored blouse, dark green knee length skirt, and ballet flats that I had placed in my backpack and used a green hair elastic to pull my light brown hair back into a high ponytail. Usually I let my hair just fall and cover my face and pierced ears, but that was Seth and he was going to be gone after today. I was going to be Serena today and I was done hiding. I shoved the hated boy’s clothes in the garbage can and gave it a good kick before checking my reflection as I put in a pair of simple silver earrings and put on some lip gloss.

One thing about holding off puberty, at the very least I was androgynous, even pretty when I was allowed to be Serena since I took after my mom a lot. I was a bit shorter than the other girls in my grade and looked a bit younger than them due to my height and lack of any development. I wasn’t even fourteen yet, so there were still a few other girls that hadn’t started developing yet, not that that ever made me feel any better. I wished I had some makeup to highlight my pretty green eyes, but all I had brought was the lip gloss. It was the best I could do and I shouldered my backpack as I opened the door and stepped out into the hallway.

I got some curious looks as I made my way to my locker, but I chalked that up to people not recognizing me with my hair up and normal clothes on. I actually managed to sit down in my first class before the fireworks began. I was getting comfortable in my regular seat when my Math teacher Mr. Johnson started taking attendance and gave me a strange look. “Young lady, I think you’re in the wrong class. I wasn’t told about any new students and that’s Seth Taylor’s seat.”

“No sir, I’m in the right class and the right seat,” I said as casually as I could and, pushing aside my uncertainty, I put my math book on the desk and opened it.

“Seth? If this is some sort of joke, it’s not funny,” he told me as a frown formed below his thick glasses.

“My name is Serena, and if there was a joke, I’m pretty sure I’d be laughing,” I pointed out.

“Listen here young man, I don’t appreciate you wasting class time with this prank,” he said in a tone that was obviously supposed to be meant as a warning.

“And I don’t appreciate being called that, or being treated as a boy,” I countered. “Learn to live with disappointment, I have. Can we get to today’s lesson now? This is wasting class time.”

His face turned beet red and I almost giggled as I imagined the whistling teapot noise and steam coming out his ears. He was starting to get angry now as evidenced by the volume of his voice rising above what should be acceptable in a classroom. “You go get some normal clothes on, this minute!”

I looked down at my clothes and around the classroom. Almost the whole class was staring at me and displaying a mixed bag of facial expressions. There was surprise, confusion, disgust, anger, and a few were even laughing, but I couldn’t be sure if it was at me or the teacher. One of the girls in class was wearing something similar to me and I pointed at her as I raised my eyebrow at Mr. Johnson. “These are my normal clothes, and that girl over there is wearing almost exactly the same thing. In fact, her skirt is shorter than mine, so if her outfit isn’t a problem I don’t see why mine should be.”

“Get out of my classroom,” Mr. Johnson responded angrily as he tried to get control of himself and the classroom. “Take your things and go to the principal’s office, he can deal with you.”

“As long as he does it more fairly than you,” I retorted, putting all the distaste I could into my tone. As he used the classroom phone to call the office I closed my math book and placed it, my notebook, and my pencil case back in my backpack as slowly as possible just to annoy him. Once I was done that I stood up, smoothed out my skirt, shouldered my backpack, and left the room.


I stepped into the Principal’s office where Mr. Finnegan was sitting behind his desk looking over papers. He looked a bit young to be a school principal, but I’m living proof that looks can be deceiving. He looked up as I entered, took one look at me, and sighed. I probably would have done the same in his place given who my dad was and the potential for legal action if he didn’t play his cards right. “Seth…” he began to say.

“Serena,” I countered before he had a chance to say anything more than that.

“Excuse me?” he replied in confusion.

“I prefer to be called Serena,” I stated clearly.

Either my preferences didn’t weigh heavily on his list of concerns or he just wanted this over with as quickly and cleanly as possible, because he decided to discard the use of my name altogether and get down to business. “Mr. Johnson says that you were disrupting his class and mocking him.”

“No sir,” I said as I rolled my eyes, sat down, and tried to get comfortable. “I just sat down and was perfectly happy to let him teach class, he was the one who interrupted class time by making a big deal about my clothes. Oh, and if I were mocking him I probably would have mentioned his glasses or the fact that his socks don’t match.”

“Why are you doing this?” he asked with a deep sigh. “I’ve never had to see you before, until now you’ve been a model student.”

“No,” I corrected him, “until now I’ve been a miserable student, being forced to pretend to be something I’m not. I’m tired of doing that so I’m not going to anymore.” I opened the front pocket of my backpack and removed the carefully folded piece of paper I usually kept in my purse when my Mom and I went out on our girl days. “This is a signed letter from my gender therapist saying that I go by the name Serena, identify as female, and should be treated as such.”

He looked over the letter and let out an audible groan. “Look… Serena, our school currently has no policies in place regarding transgendered students and I don’t have much knowledge on the topic. I’ll make a copy of this letter for our records and let you off with a warning, but before you can go forward with this in school I want to have a meeting with your parents to make sure they’re on board with this,” he said with all seriousness. “I also want to call the school board to find out what the policy is regarding transgendered students, but you may have to keep being Seth until a policy can be decided.”

It was actually a lot better than I had been expecting, since my best case scenario had been suspension. “I appreciate your honesty sir, should I go back to class now?”

He considered the question a moment before shaking his head. “No, I think its better that you wait here at the office until someone can pick you up. Are either of your parents’ home?”

“My dad is in L.A. right now, but you can probably reach my mom on her cell,” I told him with a shrug.

He nodded as he looked through my file on the desk, “I have the number here. I’ll give her a call, and while I do that I would like you to give that letter to the secretary so she can make a copy. Once she’s made the copy you can stay in the office and study until your mother arrives. If you need to use the restroom, please use one of the special needs bathrooms.”

I nodded as I stood up and took the letter back. “Ok Mr. Finnegan, and… thanks… y’know, for trying to understand,” I said as I turned and left the office.

The receptionist photocopied the letter for my file as asked and, once I had placed the original back in my backpack, I tried to make myself comfortable in one of the office chairs. I spent the next half hour or so reading ahead in my English book until the need to pee became urgent. I probably should have gone when I was changing earlier, but I had been afraid I’d be late for class. Finally I told the receptionist where I was going and headed to the closest special needs bathroom at the far end of the hall.

I was in the process of washing my hands when the bell to mark the end of first period rang. I left the restroom and was making my way back to the office as quickly as possible when I was grabbed from behind and shoved into some lockers. As I tried to catch my breath I looked up into the face of Tommy Daniels. Tommy was one of the biggest bullies in school, and he had also been the owner of one of those angry and disgusted expressions in my Math class. Oh crap.

I had been picked on by the bullies in school before since I was the quiet and withdrawn type, but usually it didn’t go beyond some pushing and insults. I didn’t think I was going to get off so lucky this time. I was still trying to decide whether I should just stick my head in the sand and hope this went away like I normally did at school or stand up for myself when he slammed me into the locker again. Okay, screw the ostrich method of self-preservation, I decided as I said, “Picking on a girl a half your size, that’s low even for you Tommy.”

“Shut up,” he responded as he punched me in the stomach. I probably would have folded over if his friends hadn’t grabbed me and held me up. “I bet you think you’re real funny. Making everyone in class think you’re a girl.”

“I am a girl,” I responded, only to be answered with another punch to the stomach.

“You’re not a girl, you’re a faggot,” he snarled. “You probably think you’re so clever trying to trick us into being attracted to you, but I knew right away that was you.” There was a crowd starting to form around us now and none of them seemed too inclined to help, well not help me anyway.

I managed to get some air into my lungs again before retorting. “Congratulations for noticing something I went out of my way to make painfully obvious to everyone.”

“I’ll give you painful,” he said delivering a punch to my ribs this time. “And I better not ever see you looking at me like you did in class again fag.”

Okay, I have to admit that was painful, I thought with a groan. “What? You mean the look… I reserve… for morons? Believe me Tommy… if I’m interested… in men… you have… nothing to worry about.”

His face scrunched up in fury and he punched me in the face this time. My head was swimming as I heard a commotion in the crowd around us. Mr. Finnegan’s voice rang out, “Daniels! You and your friends in my office! Now!” That was about when I fell to the floor and passed out.


I woke up in the nurse’s office with a splitting headache. My ribs were tender too, but I was pretty sure it could have been worse so I wasn’t going to complain about that. I groaned though as I moved and no sooner had I made the sound then the curtain beside the bed was pulled aside to reveal my mother. “How are you feeling sweetie?”

“I feel like a moron decided to use me for a punching bag,” I replied, wincing as I sat up. “My head is killing me and my ribs hurt a bit.”

She sat beside me and wrapped her arms gently around me. “The nurse said you’re going to have a black eye and your ribs will hurt for a few days, but they don’t seem to be bruised so you got off pretty lucky,” she told me, echoing my own thoughts. She reached over to the bedside table and grabbed a water bottle and a little paper cup. “Aspirin,” she told me, “hopefully it will help with the pain.”

“Thanks Mom,” I replied as I downed the pills and washed them down with some of the water. I couldn’t look at her at the moment, so I kept my eyes on the bed.

“Why Serena?” she finally asked after a too-long silence,

I sighed and wrung my hands together in my lap nervously for a moment before I answered. “I couldn’t keep doing it Mom. As long as I keep hiding myself and pretending to be a boy at school and for Dad he’s going to keep ignoring this. He doesn’t want to accept this and I can’t keep putting my life on hold. I figured if I came out in public and got rid of Seth completely that he’d have no choice but to face this.”

Her hand reached under my chin and tilted it upwards so I was looking at her. “I was worried sick when I got that call, and then when I got here I found out you’d been attacked. You should have talked to me first; I could have let the school know so you could do it safely. You could have been seriously hurt.”

“I know I didn’t think it out well,” I admitted with another sigh. “I just… I thought you might try to stop me. I’m serious about this Mom, if I have to spend any more time as Seth without any hope that Dad will ever come around I… I have no idea what I would do, but it probably wouldn’t be good.”

“We’ll talk to your father tonight, together,” she promised. “Dr. Sanderson and I have been trying to convince him for months that forcing you to spend time as Seth was making you miserable and resentful. She wanted to start you on hormones and have you start transition at Christmas and she warned him that something like this could happen if he kept this up.”

I clenched my fists at the thought of Dad’s insistence on holding on to stupid, outdated views. “I’m not going back to being Seth Mom, I can’t do it.”

She just held me tight and said, “You won’t have to.” We were quiet then as we waited for the aspirin to do something for my pain. When I could move without too much pain we gathered my things and left the school.


“He did what!?!” I heard my father’s voice yell as I lay on the sofa watching the video of Friday’s practice for any mistakes in my form. He had just gotten home and his screaming like that made me jump. Here it comes, I thought as I hissed at the pain jumping had caused in my ribs. “What was he thinking?!”

“I don’t know David,” Mom retorted acidly, “It could be something to do with the fact that you told her that you want to send her to St. Joseph’s next year.

“St. Joseph’s is one of the best private schools in the state,” he countered.

“It’s a boy’s school! Serena is not, never has been, and never will be a boy!” Mom was mad; she never yells or loses her cool with anyone, even with Dad when he’s being an idiot. “I know this, she knows this, and three therapists have confirmed it! You’d see it too if you’d take your damn head out of your ass and actually spend time with her doing what she likes instead of forcing all your macho shit on her all the time! Dr. Sanderson warned you she could snap if you kept pushing this on her, but you don’t listen! What the hell were you thinking even suggesting that?!”

“I just want the best for my son!” he yelled back at her.

“You don’t have a son!” I could hear her taking deep breaths then as she tried to get control of herself before speaking again. “You have a beautiful gifted daughter and you are ruining her life by holding on to a birth defect. She needs to start hormone therapy and be allowed to be the girl she longs to be.”

“We talked about this Megan,” he argued. “Hormones aren’t like the anti-androgens. They will cause permanent changes. We agreed that he could regret those changes when he grows out of this phase.”

She let out a loud sigh. “The only one who agreed to hold off on the hormones was you. You insisted on it. This is not a phase David, it’s who she is and it’s not going to change no matter how much you want it to. You say you don’t want her to regret this. Do you want to know what she regrets? She regrets that she’s trapped in a body she hates, she regrets that you can’t see that you have a daughter instead of a son, but most of all she regrets that her own father can’t love and accept her.”

“I do love him…” he began.

She cut him off, “You can’t even use the right pronouns or name. The only time you spend with her is on your terms and it makes her hate spending time with you.” I could hear movement as they made their way toward the living room and I shrank back against the end of the sofa. Mom was actually pushing him into the room and when they entered she pointed her finger at me, “That is your daughter and because of you she is hurt, scared, and miserable.”

There was this pained look on his face, and I just shrank back further until he looked away. Mom wasn’t finished though as she directed his attention to me and James dancing on the television screen. “That is what your daughter loves doing more than anything. See that girl, that’s her, that’s who she wants to be. She’s ready to come out of her cocoon and spread her wings and you want to keep her inside. Do you know what happens when a butterfly can’t come out of their cocoon? They die, that’s what. You helped me create this beautiful girl, but you’re crushing the life out of her.”

He watched the screen for several minutes before finally sighing and saying. “I’ll sign the papers for the legal name change and to start hormone therapy. I’ll try to find a more suitable school too. I… can’t watch this happen though; I need to take this in doses.”


Things changed a lot after that. My school, probably afraid I was going to take legal action, allowed me to finish my year doing my classes from home with my mom and the next week I got my first hormone shot. The next four weeks my dad and I didn’t spend much time with one another other than our Saturdays since he was purposely keeping himself busy with work. I guess he was trying though since two of those Saturdays we tried skiing. He wasn’t calling me Seth now, well sometimes he slipped, but he was actually trying to avoid using names and pronouns or things like daughter or son with me altogether, which I guess counted as an improvement.

On that fourth Saturday he took me to a performance of Swan Lake. I think he was bored, but there was an effort and I was pretty happy since I was starting to feel better being on hormones and I was seeing one of my favorite ballets. I thought he was really trying, but then he started getting really involved in overseeing some new investment of his overseas and Mom and I hardly saw him until my birthday near the end of August. I kept practicing my ballet diligently during that time and tried to console myself with the fact that him avoiding me was still an improvement over forcing me to be a boy. Things were definitely much better than they were before since I was starting to develop a more feminine figure and had grown a few inches. That, and the fact that I now had a birth certificate, passport, and even a credit card under the name Serena Ann Taylor, meant that I was finally starting to become comfortable with myself.

Dad came home on August twenty-ninth, my birthday, and took mom and I out for a nice dinner, he even commented about how pretty I looked in my dress. I should have known something was up then, and it was after we got home that he dropped the bombshell. “I’ve found a really good boarding school in Geneva, and I want you to come with me to take the entrance exam and get settled in if you’re accepted. So pack up everything you might need.”

“You’re sending me to a boarding school?! In Switzerland!?” I stared at him in shock. I thought he had been adjusting, but no, he had just been avoiding me and now he wanted to get rid of me. He didn’t want me around and he’d never adjust to the idea of having a daughter, much less call me that. Why else would he send me off to another continent?

“Please, I just want you to give it a chance. I looked at a lot of schools and I think this one would be perfect for you. If you don’t like it we’ll find one closer to home.” The last part was obviously meant to placate me so I reluctantly agreed. If I didn’t like it and he still wanted me to stay there I’d just have to make sure to fail the entrance exam.

Mom helped me pack a couple suitcases with clothes, and we gathered my passport and other documents and my laptop as well, in case I got accepted. I probably would have brought my leotard and ballet slippers for my mental comfort, but there wasn’t enough room and they were getting a bit tight on me since my recent growth spurt. Mom and Dad promised that they would bring everything else I would want or need later on if I did decide to stay. I thought that Dad must be in a hurry to get rid of me, because by midnight we were on the jet and winging our way across the ocean. I had a hard time sleeping on the plane because we hit some turbulence and I was feeling pretty miserable about my dad wanting to get rid of me just when I thought we might have a chance to become closer.

We landed in Geneva just after one in the afternoon local time. It was a nice day and when we stopped for breakfast, or rather lunch, at a little bistro over-looking Lake Geneva Dad told me about all that Geneva had to offer as a major trade and cultural center. He also noted that there were some very good ski resorts just two hours away by car. He was trying to make it sound exciting, and it did, but I felt it would probably would be more so if I was visiting rather than being banished there.

When we pulled up to the gates and drove inside I couldn’t help but look around in interest. The campus was huge and right on the shore of Lake Geneva. There were cobblestone paths leading to all the various buildings with comfortable looking benches for studying outside in the spring and summer and all the buildings looked to be done in an eighteenth century French style. It really was a beautiful campus from what I could see. As we pulled up in front of the main building a slender woman in perhaps her early fifties was waiting for us.

“Bonjour Mademoiselle Taylor,” she said with a smile. “And it is so nice to see you again Monsieur Taylor.”

“The pleasure, as always is mine, Janelle,” my father replied before turning to me, “This is Madame Janelle Turing, the headmistress here at Savoie Académie de Danse.” Wait, this is a dance school? Maybe I should try to trust Dad and give this place a chance after all, I thought as Dad began gathering my bags out of the trunk and handed me a gift-wrapped box.

I stared at him a moment, wondering what he was up to. I even managed to get a “Wha…” out before he hushed me with a finger to my lips.

“Hold on to this, I don’t have enough arms and you’ll need it for your entrance exam,” he told me. “Though, it’s not so much an exam as an audition. Megan said yours were getting a bit small with you growing and told me what sizes to get. I’ll go wait for you in the studio after I’ve put your bags in your room.” With that I was left in the care of Madame Turing. She seemed like a nice woman and was more than eager to explain to me all the wonderful details of the school.

Students attended Savoie Académie de Danse all year round with six two week breaks spread across the year plus an additional three weeks in August and another three Weeks over the Christmas holidays. The school hosted a maximum of one hundred students at a time so that each student could be given the chance to thrive. The girls of course usually outnumbered the boys by two to one and, while the dorm was mixed, each student had their own room and boys and girls were placed on different floors.

I was wondering where that left me until she told me, "You of course would be on a floor with the other girls in your mentor’s group. Your father has told us about your situation and I assure you that you will be treated like any other female student. The medical staff will be working with your therapist and endocrinologist to monitor and administer your hormone therapy if you pass the audition and are accepted.”

We went on with the tour after that. She showed me all the facilities and told me what there was for students to do while not studying. Students participated in many different activities on daily basis, including excursions as well as the regular cultural visits all around Switzerland, and occasional weekend ski trips. In summer students enjoyed mini golf, badminton, horseback riding, tennis, archery, water skiing, and mountain biking. There was also swimming in Lake Geneva, nearby pools, and aquatic parks, there was a tennis court on campus, and school barbecues were organized during summer time as well.

As for lessons, I was told that in addition to the subjects I would be learning in any American school, students at the academy learned to speak, read, and write both French and Russian. Academic classes would be from eight in the morning until three in the afternoon from Monday to Saturday with a break for lunch at noon. After those classes ended there would be two and a half hours of guided lessons and practices in the studios with our assigned mentors. There were five mentors in total and apparently I already had a mentor chosen for me should I be accepted and she would be supervising my audition.

I was so excited about this place that I couldn’t really be mad at my Dad. Maybe he was learning to accept me if he had gone to the trouble of finding a dance school for me. And I had learned it wasn’t just a dance school, but specifically geared toward ballet. We had to avoid a few areas as some were apparently being renovated. The whole school had been being renovated the past few months and things weren’t quite finished yet, but it was all looking good to me. Finally she finished up by showing me the dormitories and my room where she asked me to get changed for my audition.

I looked around the room to find my suitcases, purse, and laptop bag by the comfortable looking double bed. The dorm room was actually more spacious than I thought it would be and had all of the amenities I would need, even a bathroom with a shower. I was a little glad of that since I was still fairly self-conscious about my body. I was told later that the rooms were originally meant for two students, but fifteen years ago they decided to limit their annual students to one hundred and institute the mentor system to give their students more one-on-one teaching and a better chance at success at joining a prestigious ballet company when they graduate.

When I opened the large gift-wrapped box Dad had given me I found a new leotard, tutu, and ballet slippers. There was even a pair of soft pink pointe shoes for pointe work and performances. Everything was in pink actually, except for the tutu which was white. I put the leotard, tutu and ballet slippers on, and kept the pointe shoes in hand in case my potential mentor wanted me to dance en pointe for a long time. With that done I left the room and Madame Turing showed me to the studio where inside Dad was talking to a woman. I was about to go start on my barre exercises when they noticed me and waved me over. Dad is a big guy, and he was kind of the way, so I couldn’t get a good view of the woman until I was almost to them and then I just stopped and stared.

“Here she is,” my father said with a smile to the woman whose face I knew so well. I should have since most the posters on my wall featured her. “This is my daughter, Serena. Serena this is your potential mentor…”

“Yana Artemieva,” I said in awe.

“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you Serena,” she said with a laugh. “Your father has been most generous to us here and he’s always talking about you. I was told you saw me dance in New York once.”

Her English was very good, though she had a definitive Russian accent, and I just couldn’t believe I was here, talking to her. Oh my God! I’m going to be dancing for Yana Artemieva! My head bobbed up and down in stunned silence for a moment before I finally managed to get out, “I saw you In Giselle, it was what got me interested in ballet.”

She smiled at that, “That’s my favorite choreography; I am flattered that you enjoyed it enough to take up ballet yourself. The video your father brought us when he wished to enroll you was well done, but perhaps we should get to the audition so I can see what I have to work with in person.”

Dad and the headmistress left then so we could get started. She put me through barre exercises and then centre practice to let me get warmed up and then we got to work. She would call out various steps and motions and I would try to move seamlessly from one to another whether it was a pirouette, arabesque, croisé, grande jeté, assemble, plié, turn-out, or something else. After that she had me run through a brief choreography as she called out the steps and then a choreography of my choice that I was familiar with. She smiled when I chose one of the solo pieces from Giselle.

Finally she had me stop and said, “You have talent Serena, and you make me see the emotions in your movements. That is one of the most important things for a prima ballerina, to get the audience to connect with her and her role. The emotions are just as important as the motions. There are some minor issues with your stance, but I am sure that I can help you with those.” She smiled and paused before adding, “If you’re interested in studying here with me that is.”

Was she joking? Of course I was interested, this was literally a dream come true. “I’d love to,” I managed to get out through the big grin on my face.

“Welcome to Savoie Académie de Danse then Serena, I look forward to working with you more. Why don’t you go get settled in? We can talk more over dinner. The other students won’t be returning from break for classes until next week so we can get some one-on-one time until then and I can show you around Geneva.”

“Are you sure Miss Artemieva?” I asked uncertainly. Wasn’t she just my teacher? It wasn’t her job to show me around town and spend time with me.

“Please Serena, call me Yana.” I was staring at her in shock again, and we both knew it apparently, as she told me, “As your mentor it’s my duty to do more than teach you and my other students’ ballet. You’re all away from home, so mentors here try to be more than just strict teachers. I will be strict in my teaching of course, but while we’re not in the studio and you’re not in classes I’ll try to act as family, friend, confidante, whatever my girls need at the time.” She reached over to ruffle my hair playfully as I continued to gape at her and told me, “You go get settled in, we’ll have plenty of time to talk later.”

“I think I’m really going to like it here,” I said with a happy sigh as made my way to my new dorm room.


It was not long later as I was unpacking my things that my father joined me in my room and asked, “So what do you think of your new school?”

I stopped what I was doing to sit on my bed and look at him, wondering what his game was. He was being so nice and the school was incredible, but it still felt like he was trying to get rid of me. I couldn’t help feeling like the other shoe was about to drop, which said a lot about my relationship with my dad until that point. I tried to shake off that feeling. Yana had said he talked about me a lot, and it looked like he was really trying to understand me better and accept who I was, so maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt. With that in mind I let some of my very real excitement show. “It’s really nice Dad, I can’t believe I’m going to be learning from Yana Artemieva. How big a ‘donation’ did you make to get me in here?”

“They had some bad luck last year,” he told me in reply. Then he went on to explain, “The plumbing was old and broke down in February, causing significant property damage. Some of their investors decided it wasn’t worth the cost to fix the place up even though it turns a profit from tuition and donations every year. They were ready to close down permanently in April when I was looking for a better school for you than my first choice.”

“I think this is a much better choice,” I told him with a smile.

He nodded in agreement. “So did I, which was why I bought the school and had the renovations done. I had to be here a lot to make sure things were organized properly and to go through all the legal aspects of buying the place and making sure the proper licenses and other matters were in order. My only condition was that the Headmistress and staff stay the same and that they keep doing things the way they were before. They had a good thing going here and I won’t interfere with how they run things, since almost all of their graduates get picked up by prestigious ballet companies. That’s why, despite being my child, you still had to prove yourself with an audition before being accepted.”

“You did all that? But you’ve never shown an interest in ballet before…” I began

He shook his head and I thought for a moment that his eyes were getting moist. “No but you have, and I ignored that for far too long trying to make you into who I thought you should be. What should have been important to me was who you thought you should be. I’m sorry I couldn’t see that sooner. Since you’ve been accepted and seem to like it here, you can keep studying here until you graduate… on one condition.”

And here it comes, I thought with a sigh. I wonder what it’s going to be this time. “What’s that?” I asked wondering what part of myself I’d have to give up this time.

He surprised me by sitting beside me and wrapping me in a tight embrace. With him wanting me to be a boy, and me obviously not, we had never really gotten along well, and him showing physical affection was unheard of. Not only did we fight far too much for that, but he didn’t feel that men should show physical affection for one another beyond maybe a slap on the back. “You come home for the holidays and during breaks, and call us once a week on Skype. Your mother is going to miss you and I…” His voice caught for a moment before he managed to continue speaking. “I think it’s about time I start spending time with my daughter and get to know her better. I know I haven’t really shown it very well before now, but I love you Serena.”

I sat there in his arms unable to speak. I had to wonder if all of this was really real, it was just too much at once and I was having trouble processing it. I had gotten so used to us being at odds, having to fight or negotiate for whatever I wanted. Genuine love and affection from him had always seemed out of reach for me, even more so than the possibility of studying ballet under my idol. Understandably, the only words my mouth could seem to form were, “You do?”

“Of course I do… it took me a while to see it, but other than your mother, you’re the strongest and most beautiful girl I’ve ever known, What father wouldn’t be proud to have a daughter like you?” He held me there through the first tears of joy that I could ever remember shedding and I thought that maybe I could enjoy school now. I might be far from home, but I would be living my dream and I could still go home for breaks to spend time with a mother and father who loved me unconditionally.

© 2014 Amethyst Gibbs
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A perfect choice....

Andrea Lena's picture

....her name preceded the acceptance that I hoped would follow. Serena....peaceful. May we all experience that peace. Thank you.


To be alive is to be vulnerable. Madeleine L'Engle
Love, Andrea Lena

Thanks Drea

Amethyst's picture

I wanted to something a bit different than my usual with this, and when the name came to me I just loved how it worked with the story. Maybe now she'll be able to have that feeling of serenity at other times than just when she's dancing.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3


I can't stop crying...

Thanks--that was beautiful!



Amethyst's picture

I shed quite a few while writing this, I'm just glad you found it that touching. I don't often do stories like this what focus on real life trans stuff and are sweet and sentimental and I always wonder if people are going to like them or connect with it the way I do. Your response just made my day :)

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Funny you should say that

Amethyst's picture

The original title I had planned for this was "What Money Can't Buy" But I decided I liked the double meaning in Pirouette at the last minute and changed it. Money is good if you have it, but there are other things more important and that was one of the big themes I was trying to get across in this one. I always love it when readers catch the subtleties. :)

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Money can't buy happiness.

TheCropredyKid's picture

But you get a better class of misery.


Thanks Dottie

Amethyst's picture

I had no idea what to write for this contest until Talia and I tried coming up with ideas for me in chat. Then she asked how dance was going when we started talking about other things and it hit me. I'm just glad I got the idea to work and that it's having the desired emotional effect on my readers.

So glad you enjoyed it Dottie

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

beautiful touching story

I really enjoyed reading this story, I had a young male relative who expressed an interest in Ballet at a very early age, his father made his life hell and my own father joined in the critisism of this boy, I was firmly in the closet then and I am ashamed that I could not express my true opinion to the macho men! and develop my own femininty at an earlier age. x

Thank you

Amethyst's picture

I am glad that people appear to be enjoying this one. It's so sad that people can't just be allowed to pursue their interests without being judged, Things are starting to get better, but it's still nowhere near being perfect. We all come out of the closet at our own time, when we feel ready and sadly that took a while for some of us who grew up with parents like Mr. Taylor. It's nice to see that a lot of people are getting to see therapists and transition earlier these days with some acceptance by their parents. It gives me hope.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Great tale of bravery and determination

What a wonderful story about the struggle for a trans person to be recognised as her true self. She was brave to reveal her true self at her old school in the way she did, and the beating confirms that she could have been a bit smarter. But it felt real and ceratinly caught my sympathies with ease. It so nice to read a story which could potentially happen. OK Dad was mega rich, so the conclusion would be unlikely for most. But the attitudes of the parents are sadly so typical.

It is nice to read a story where no magic or science fantasy was involved. Not that there is anything wrong with such stories but it is great to have a balance with more "grounded" stories like this. Thanks for sharing.


Amethyst's picture

There's a lot of me and my own struggle to find acceptance in Serena. I wanted to make the character and the situation believable so I added aspects of myself and my own struggle to be accepted. Sadly my dad isn't stinking rich or near as accepting so I guess those parts are just wish fulfillment ;)

I love writing sci-fi and fantasy and such because I can make my imagination just flow, but stories like these that could be real and touch people deeply are so rewarding for me as an author. I only don't do them more because I worry about doing the serious and often traumatic and painful topic of real world transition justice and striking a chord with the readers.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Thank you

for a wonderful story.


You're welcome Tarzana

Amethyst's picture

I'm so glad that you and others enjoyed it since I wanted so much to get this one right,




Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3


A well written and emotionally charged story as Amethyst takes us on a tale going from loathing to love. It is too bad when one person uses thier love to punish another. At least in this case, we also get to see what a person can do for another when they open thier eyes and let the love shine in.

Thanks T.J. It was a bit of

Amethyst's picture

Thanks T.J. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but I'm glad I got to give Serena a happy ending, she deserved it. Sadly we see far too many people doing the first in our world and not enough of the second, though things may be getting better.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

? And then she wakes up in the nurse's station at her old school

Hope Eternal Reigns's picture

A lovely "Feel Good" story, but, that turnabout by her father was amazingly abrupt AND complete. I felt like Serena, I kept waiting for the 'other shoe'.

Thanks for a soothing evening's entertainment.

with love,


Once in a while I bare my soul, more often my soles bear me.

Her father's turnabout does

Amethyst's picture

Her father's turnabout does seem that way since we see it from her perspective. It wasn't that he couldn't see she wanted to be a girl, but more that he wasn't ready to accept it as long as there was a chance it was a phase she'd grow out of. Her actions at school, the way she shrunk back when he entered the room and looked at her and the very angry talking to him by his wife made him start to realize he might be doing his child real harm.

Of course being one to take things to extremes once he got the ball rolling and started spending those Saturdays doing things she was interested in he decided to make it up to her as best he could. He kind of goes overboard with that. He still doesn't understand her really, but he's trying now. The boarding school allows him to get used to it in doses, but it's something that he can make her happy with too. I actually wanted to go more into his turnaround, but I was getting a bit pressed for time to have it done before the contest closed.

Glad you enjoyed it.




Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

She is still a lucky so and so though

No puberty yet due to blockers? So her hips will develop properly and voice of course. Some of the movements may probably be a bit weird or unattainable with a typical male pelvic region. There are exceptions of course where men have a wider than normal pelvic structure.

Yeah, she's a lot luckier

Amethyst's picture

than some of us. Her new mentor did notice some problems with her stance, but was sure they could fix them so hopefully Serena won't have too many problems if she works hard.




Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

"but I love you Serena!"

“You do?”(says Serena) “Of course I do…(responds Dad!). Aww! responds Talia! Sniffle sniffle, Happy Tears! Love it Amethyst! I am honored to have inspired! Loving Hugs Talia


Amethyst's picture

You're just an inspiring gal Talia sweetie. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3



Really great story

A good story with everything

Thanks to both of you

Amethyst's picture

I'm glad you both enjoyed it so much.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3


Wendy Jean's picture

It did take a while though. I am glad our girl didn't have to try something grimmer to get her Dad's attention. I suspect it would have happened down the line if not though.

The way she was going

Amethyst's picture

it could have one a lot grimmer if she hadn't done what she did and had her mother give him an angry talking to.




Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Glad I discovered your writing

I stumbled onto Pirouette two years after it was posted and am glad I did. You are a marvelous writer who captures believable emotions and creates realistic scenarios. This story is one I can relate to as I take ballet class often. I will look at some other of your stories tonight.



It's always heartwarming when dad comes around and of course nothing makes that moment sweeter than a rocky road proceeding it. It may be a standard plot line but when well written it always works and this works well.

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Delayed acceptance

Jamie Lee's picture

Maybe it was mom telling dad Seth had to be Serena or something worse could happen that was the turning point with dad.

Whatever the reason, he not only came around to accepting Serena but saved a school which meant so much to so many.

As Seth he never would have spoken as he did it the teacher and Principal. But Serena had the courage to stand up for herself.

Had that small minded moron simply pushed Serena against the lockers and gone on, he and his byds might have remained in school. But beating up Serena as they did made it impossible to allow them to stay in school. And to CTB, the school should have reported the incident to the police and the parents.

Dad learned a lesson many learn eventually, their children can't be carbon copies of themselves. But must be allowed to be who they need to be.

Hard story to read at times but worth it at the end.

Others have feelings too.

When I first wrote this I

Amethyst's picture

When I first wrote this I wanted to write something touching and with some good lessons, since I don't often write real world stories. I invested a lot of my own personality and feelings into the character so it was a hard to write at times too, but I really liked the way it turned out.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Tissue Warning

There are some wonderful stories on this site that really tug at the heart. This is a wonderful example of how you can get to the end of a story and be blinded by happy tears for the characters and enthralled by the story and left in awe at the writers skill in crafting such a work. BC needs a tissue alert warning for such wonders. Grin.


Okay, okay... I knew what was coming, but the last three paragraphs still turned me into a blubbering blob. Sweet story. I wish we all had happy endings like that. :)

*I need a tissue*

Just read Piroutte, and some tears managed to leak out in happiness.

Poor Serena was in effect being bullied emotionally by her father, which is a sad but much too common occurrence. Her actions going to school that day were of course poorly chosen, but oh so much better than they could have been. They really were the catslyst that Dad needed to finally open his eyes and see the wonder daughter that he'd been missing out on.

I would love to see you return to this story and continue it on some more. I think it has enough legs to keep spinning for a bit more. ;-)

- Leona