A Child of Her Generation


In celebratory recognition of the birth of the United States of America
Independence Day, July 4, 2016

Charleston, South Carolina, June 27, 1776…the Montpelier home… early evening…

The women were in the parlor; both candle-lit and illuminated from the moonlight from the large window facing the street outside. Two women sat while the third stood by the hearth; her left arm placed against the mantel in an effort to strengthen her resolve.

“Don’t…. My mind is made up, Mother. You know this is what I must do.” Dorian Montpelier said as she stood quietly with her attention set to the Southeast; more of a plea than a rebuke. Her mother shook her head; ready to prohibit the inevitable. She cast her visage down instead in despair.

“Oh, Mother? Don’t be sad. We all knew it might come to this; you must have known perhaps as soon as you brought me and Louise into this world.” Dorian used her hand in a sweeping gesture to call attention to her twin. Louise sat on the divan across from their mother; her face a mirror image of Marie Montpelier.

“Father expected nothing less, and who am I to withhold respect and honor; especially with the city in virtual siege. I am first, last, and always a child of this generation, Mother, no matter what any of us wishes to the contrary. Moreover, I am my father's child."

“Mon Dieu, mon enfant précieux! You could hide, Dorian. A trip to the country to visit my sister…” Marie pled. Dorian shook her head, but her mother continued.

“Your aunt and cousins would welcome you. She was there at your birth… she… knows, Dorian,” Marie said; her gaze moving back and forth slowly between the twins.

“No one would know.”

“And how would you explain my absence? How would my departure serve the honor of our family?” Dorian lowered her gaze to the floor in shame. A moment later she felt the delicate hand of her twin lift her chin softly. Louise kissed Dorian on both cheeks; almost homage to their French fore parents, but really a reluctant blessing and adieu. She turned to their mother.

“Pouvez pas tu voir ma soeur, chère Maman ?" ?" Louise asked, knowing full well what Marie would say.

" Of course I can see. I chose not to. Not when my child places herself in needless peril." Marie stood up and walked to her children.

“Your father, God rest his soul, never understood you, and so does not have a say, even if his passing remains so new in our remembrance. I fear I must repeat. No one will ever know.”

“I will know, Mother.” Dorian looked down at herself. Truly a child of her generation. She smiled and kissed her mother gently on the forehead and walked swiftly out of the room, leaving both mother and twin in sad resignation….


By the end of the week, life was inexorably changed; the entire city as well as the citizenry therein. What became known as the Battle of Sullivan’s Island had become a turning point for Charleston, which went on to participate in the success of the colonies’ fight for independence; an independence which was declared that week by patriots in the de facto capital of the revolution in Philadelphia.

Another turning point of sorts sadly contributed to the effort as the Montpelier family once again saw the ultimate sacrifice visit the family. Only twelve Charlestonians lost their lives in the defense of the city, but every loss was too much for every family. Dorian Montpelier was named among the brave few.

Another time and place might have offered hope for Dorian Montpelier. And even so, another time might hold just as much peril for a daughter she might have become than the first born offspring; born neither male nor female but raised as Dorian Albert Montpelier.

Afterword: Just this past week, perhaps in ironic anticipation, transgender Americans learned that they can now serve openly whereas in the past they served in silence, but still bravely with honor and distinction.

The Battle of Sullivan's Island or the Battle of Fort Sullivan was fought on June 28, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War. It took place near Charleston, South Carolina, during the first British attempt to capture the city from American rebels.

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