On Faith

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Alyssa closed her eyes, lost in the pure joy of Alex’s ministrations. She had surprised Alyssa today, showing up right after school with some truly decadent lingerie for her birthday, which actually wasn’t for three more days. Alex – actually Alexa, but bastard Bezos had kind of ruined that – was her girlfriend.

Just not the way Alyssa’s parents might think. Her parents – well, her mom and step-dad – were both under the impression that Alyssa was a boy named Brody, and that Brody and Alex were involved romantically. But there was nothing romantic between them. They were simply girlfriends. As close as sisters, best friends forever. All of that.

“Keep your eyes closed,” Alex murmured. “I want to try blending these eyeshadow colors. Hold still.”

Alyssa just smiled, tilting her head so that Alex would have a better angle. “I love the presents. You are so sweet!.”

Alex giggled. “Right now, you’re the one who looks sweet. I knew that baby blue would work with your skin tone. And all that lace is just so you.”

“I know,” Alyssa sighed, oozing contentment. In her new bra, panties and camisole, she felt perfect. Complete. And Alex always did such a good job on her face and her hair. She wasn’t bad herself, but Alex had the touch. “Come on now, Alex,” she wheedled. “You gotta dish. Is Perry going to ask you to the prom, or isn’t he?”

It was Alex’s turn to sigh. “I don’t know. But I’d be a whole lot happier if he seemed just the tiniest bit thirsty!”

Alyssa reached out, blind, to find something to give a squeeze to, settling on Alex’s hip. “Sorry, Chicka. But you know, if all else fails, Brody will take you.”

“Thanks, kitten.” Alex gave Alyssa a peck on the nose. “We prob’ly should anyway, just to keep your cover. I was just . . . well, you know.”

“Think I don’t know you’re pining for Perry? He is awfully cute!”

“You got eyes on my target, girl?” Alex’s mock growl was entirely too full of humor to be a source of worry.

Alyssa smiled wistfully. “No. I’m not seeing how that’ll ever be in the cards.”

“It could be in the cards right now, if you put your chips on the table!” Alex shook her head, then gave her friend’s shoulders a squeeze. “Sorry. I know we’ve been through this.”

Feeling confident that Alex wasn’t presently about to stick something sharp in the vicinity of her eyes, Alyssa opened them again to look at her. “If it was just Mom, maybe. But Dad . . . you know, he’s got the whole Christian thing going. Church every Sunday, Bible study. The full catastrophe.”

“You’ll be eighteen in two years. After that, you can do what you want.”

Alyssa shrugged. “Maybe.” She decided that was more than enough time spent on things she had no power to change. “Have you picked out a dress yet?”

Alex immediately picked up on Alyssa’s desire to think about more pleasant things. “Oh my God! You’ll won’t believe what I found! It’s perfect! Just perfect! Teal satin, spaghetti straps, almost backless. And get this! It’s got . . . .”

Alex never finished the description of her prom dress. There was a sharp knock on the door to the bedroom. “Brody? What are you still doing here?”

Before Alyssa or Alex could so much as say a word, the door opened and Alyssa’s – Brody’s – stepfather stuck his head in. “You’re supposed to be at work in . . . .” He suddenly ran out of words as his brain took in the entire scene in front of him.

“Dad . . . I can . . . explain . . . .” Alyssa’s voice was just above a whisper. “We were just . . . .” But somehow, she couldn’t think of anything that would finish off the sentence. Her mind, chittering in terror, thought, What is Dad doing home? How come I didn’t hear him?

Jules’ brain froze momentarily, but it was brief. He was a disciplined man, and his mind went down disciplined paths. He stepped into the room, leaving the door open. “Brody, you’re supposed to be at work in five minutes, and you’re going to be late as it is. You don’t have time to undo all of your girlfriend’s hard work, and I don’t recommend showing up in lingerie. So put on something appropriate and let’s go.”

“But . . . Dad . . . I can’t —”

“Should have thought of that earlier. No time now.”

“I can call in sick! I”ll just —”

“Lie? To save yourself embarrassment? You told us you were old enough to take the job, Brody. You made a commitment.”

“Honest, Dad, I just forgot. When . . . .” Alyssa almost said, “when Alex surprised me by showing up with presents,” but stopped herself just in time. It was true, but Alex hadn’t known she was working this afternoon. Alyssa knew it was no-one’s fault but her own.

Jules shook his head sharply. “Doesn’t matter. No excuses now. You’re down to three minutes. I’ll drive you.” He turned and walked down the hall, leaving the bedroom door open.

Alex was as white as a sheet. “Jesus! What’ll you do? Alys, I’m so sorry!”

Alyssa sat frozen as she watched her stepfather walk away. Then she shook her head sharply and said, “Fuck! I don’t know! Alex, help me find something – fast!” She jumped up and charged over to her closet. Her male wardrobe would be useless, since there was no time to remove makeup and nail polish. Even getting her hair to look remotely boyish would take more time than she had.

She pushed over a pile of binders and paperback books – mostly Manga from when she was younger – to expose the top of an opaque plastic bin.

Alex was incredulous. “You’re gonna . . . ?”

“I don’t have any choice! He’ll roast me if I’m not out there in two minutes!”

Alyssa didn’t have very many clothes in her stash, and Alex knew all of them well. “Fine. Fine. Go with the skinny jeans, the peach top and your flats. It’ll work!”

“O . . . okay!” Alyssa started pulling things out of the bin, spotting the three items quickly. Grabbing the jeans, she rolled onto her back on her bed and pulled them up. The stretchy material hugged her legs, and something about the pair even made it look like she had a bit of a butt. Then she rolled off the bed and pulled the top on. It was nothing special, but nice – a crew neck and capped sleeves, with a fair bit of flare at the bottom. Enough to cover the tops of her jeans.

As Alyssa was putting on her flats, Alex pulled up her own top and pulled two pieces of padding from her bra. “Here – these’ll help!” She slipped them into the cups of Alyssa’s bra, then checked out the look. “It’ll do, Alys. You look good, okay?”

Alyssa nodded distractedly. “Thanks, Alex! I’ll . . . I’ll text. Okay?” Not waiting for a response, she turned and ran down the hall. But just as she got to the kitchen, the front door opened and her mom walked in. Alyssa thought, what the fuck is everyone doing today? Why are they here?

“What the . . . “ Her mom stood in the hallway, staring at her. Her mouth was hanging open.

“Mom . . . sorry. I’ve gotta go. We’ll talk —”

Go? Are you out of your mind!”

“Mom – Dad said —”

“I don’t give a rat’s ass what your father . . . .”

Of course, Jules chose that moment to open the door to the garage.

Alyssa thought, because, of course he did.

Jules leaned against the doorframe, his relaxed pose a complete fraud. The tension was palpable, but he kept his voice almost icy calm. “Cindy. Brody is supposed to be at work. Right now. A minute ago, actually.”

“I don’t know what you think you're doing, but my son isn’t going out of the house looking like that! What are you thinking!”

As terrified as Alyssa was at having her secret in the open, she was more terrified – far more terrified – of any strife between her parents. It had been eight years since her biological father had left them in one of his frequent drunken rages. Half a lifetime . . . but she hadn’t forgotten. She still had nightmares. “Mom . . . it’s not what you think. Dad didn’t do this, I did.”

Her mother turned furious eyes on her. “I know that! Your father knows less about makeup than he knows about astrophysics. That doesn’t change the fact that you aren’t leaving this house – much less going to work! – dressed like that!”


“No! Goddam it, Jules. No! He’ll be crucified! There – school – everywhere!”

“Cindy. I was the one on deck.”

That stopped her. They had made a rule – a hard and fast rule – when they’d gotten married, and they had taken joint responsibility for raising the children from their separate, earlier marriages. Jule’s two daughters had been fifteen and seventeen, and Brody had been ten. Six years ago. But they’d agreed to raise them as one family. To treat all the kids as their own. And part of the rule was, whichever parent was home – whichever one was on deck – made the calls. And the parent that wasn’t, would back him or her up.

They had never – not once – broken that rule. They were a team. And there had been plenty of times when Jules had backed her play when his daughters — their daughters! — had been in their rebellious stages.

“Jules . . . .” Cindy said, her voice catching. “Jules – this is different! Can’t you see!”

He looked at his wife and said, “Is it?” His voice was very soft. As Cindy knew, that was a sign – a sure sign – that he was very, very serious.

She closed her eyes, holding back tears, and said, “Fine. Go. Just . . . go.” She didn’t open her eyes again until the back door closed behind them. Then, and only then, the tears began to flow. “Oh, God! My poor boy!”

It was at this moment that Alex decided she needed to make her escape. She came into the kitchen area from the hallway and said, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Mason. I was just visiting with Brody. I’ll . . . I’ll go on home now.”

Cindy’s eyes fixed on the girl – the person she had thought was so good for Brody! “Just a minute, young lady! I want to know what the hell just happened. Did you dress my son up like . . . like some kind of tart?”

“It’s not like that!”

“Bullshit it isn’t! And now God knows what’s going to happen to him! He’ll be a laughingstock at work, at school – his life ruined!”

Alex was in over her head – so far over her head, she couldn’t even see the surface of the water. She wanted to help, but had no earthly idea how she could. “I’m telling you, it’s not like that. Brody is . . . .”

But Cindy was in no mood to be lectured by a 16-year-old girl who had betrayed her trust. She shook her head angrily and said, “Enough. Go home. Get out, and stay out!”

“Fine, don’t listen to me! You don’t have a frickin’ clue!” Alex stormed out and slammed the door behind her. But her rage quickly dissipated, and as she walked home, she began to cry. Alyssa had been her best friend for two years now. Would she ever even be allowed to see her again?

Jules saw her walking as he returned from dropping Brody off at the coffee shop where he worked part-time, but decided not to stop. He could see that she was crying, but he knew he would have troubles enough of his own when he got home. Consequences for his own choices.

Cindy went right at him as soon as he stepped through the door. “Alright. I backed you up. Kept our bargain. But honest to God, Jules! You’d better have a good explanation for how you chose to punish Brody, and it better not have anything to do with your religion!”

Jules was puzzled. “Punish?”

“What would you call it? Forcing him to go to work looking like that. Okay, so he and his girlfriend decided to have some kind of kinky fun. So what? It’s just a bit of makeup, and clothes are clothes. Big deal! Is that a reason to ruin his life?”

“Brody was supposed to be at work.”

“Don’t give me that. He works at goddamned Starbucks, Jules! Who cares if he gets fired! Admit it – you were punishing him, because you think it's wrong for a boy to dress like a girl. Don’t you!”

Jules looked at his wife thoughtfully. She didn’t understand his faith, and he’d never tried to explain it to her. Or to their son, for that matter. Maybe he should have, but didn’t want them to think he was forcing his beliefs on them. “Can we sit and talk about this?”

“I’m too angry to sit right now!”

He nodded slowly. Without really thinking about it, he folded his arms across his chest. “Okay, we’ll do it your way. Do I think boys should dress like girls? Honestly, no. But . . . what did you see, when you came in the door?”

“Uhhh . . . Hello? I saw my son, in a cute top, made up like a cheerleader on the first day of school.”

Jules’ eyes became dark at her use of the first-person possessive pronoun, but he decided to let it go. “I didn’t see that, Cindy. I saw a girl.”

Her mouth hung open. “You . . . what? Are you kidding me?”

“Please. Think about everything you saw, in the brief time you were here. If you didn’t know it was Brody, would you have thought you were seeing a girl or a boy? Not just the makeup, the hair or the clothes. Think about how Brody moved, spoke, interacted with you.”

“That’s ridiculous!”

Again he asked, “Is it?”

“Jules, he’s a guy. He has a girlfriend. He’s not . . . I mean, no way . . . he can’t possibly be . . . .”

“Trans?” he asked.

She didn’t answer, but her eyes were wide as saucers.

“I can’t claim to be an expert, but as far as I know, anyone can be trans. No reason why Brody can’t be. And, not for nothing, but during the car ride . . . . Well. Let’s just say, Brody thinks he’s trans. Not that he'd say that, exactly.”

She shook her head, disbelieving. “What would he say – 'exactly?'”

He wouldn’t say anything. . . . But Alyssa would say she’s trans.”

She stared at him, hard. “You’re shitting me. You don’t even believe in trans. This is all some sort of sick punishment —”

“Stop. Right. There.”

His voice was still soft, but it nonetheless stopped her. Jules had never used such a cold tone when speaking to his wife — or really, to anyone else. She gaped at him.

“Think about what you’re about to say, Cindy. Think really, really, carefully. Some words can’t be taken back. We’re on a tightrope. Right now. You and me. And there’s no net.”

He wasn’t yelling; if anything, he was speaking even more softly. But the warning chilled her blood. She took a deep breath and wasn’t surprised to find it ragged. “Okay,” she managed to say. “Okay.” Her legs felt weak, and she sank into a chair. “Just . . . Jules, please! Tell me what the fuck is going on!”

He lowered himself into the chair opposite hers, perching at the edge, his back still ramrod straight. With an effort, he lowered his arms to rest on his thighs. “I was working from home today because the guy was supposed to come by this afternoon to fix the washing machine. I guess Brody didn’t know. Alex came by, and because I had my headphones on, I didn’t know.”

His lips twitched into a rueful smile that at least made him look more like himself, but Cindy stayed silent.

“I took a bathroom break, and that’s when I heard them talking. I had assumed that Brody’d already left for work. I poked my head in to remind him, and got to meet Alyssa instead.”

“Alyssa?” she asked.

“Apparently that’s the name he — sorry, “she” has used for a couple years, when she’s alone or with Alex. She was dolled up in what I’d have to guess was some pretty expensive lingerie, and Alex was working on her makeup. I told her to get dressed and I’d drive her to work.”

“And you couldn’t just let Brody — Alyssa — whatever! — call in sick, until we could at least discuss it? The three of us, together?” She tried to keep her voice level, to keep her question from sounding like an accusation.

It wasn’t easy.

He grimaced. “Okay, Cindy. That’s fair. And I’m sorry there wasn’t time for a conversation. But lying isn’t acceptable, and commitments matter. Yes — that’s my faith tradition. My religion. But that’s what we’ve taught all the kids. What both of us taught them.”

She couldn't’ deny that. “But . . . the consequences —”

“Are the direct result of Brody’s choices. Of Alyssa’s choices.”

She closed her eyes, haunted by the thought of everything that Brody would be subjected to for having gone to work looking like a girl. Or . . . was it, being a girl? God, wouldn’t that be a million times harder? “Is Brody driving this, or is Alex? Should we, you know, keep them apart?”

“It’s real clear this has been going on a long time. In retrospect, I’m surprised we didn’t see it sooner. We’ll need to have a long talk when she gets home, of course, but my gut tells me that Alyssa’s doing the driving. Alex is just supporting her friend.”

“He could have talked to us. Why didn’t he just . . . tell us? We’ve always been here for him!”

Jules looked down at the floor. It was a question he’d asked himself, and he hadn’t much liked the answer he’d come to. “Maybe he didn’t trust us. . . . Or at least, didn’t trust me.”

Jules’ self condemnation galvanized Cindy’s protective instincts. “That’s not right, Jules! You’ve always listened to him. Never pushed him away. You’re kind, and understanding, and —”

“Deeply religious,” he said quietly, cutting her off. “He assumed he knew what that meant. So did you, just now. No one’s fault but mine, that he didn’t know any better.”

“But . . . I mean . . . don’t Christians believe . . . .” she couldn’t bring herself to finish the sentence. Don’t they believe that LGBTQ people are evil? That they’re all going to hell?

He chuckled, but there wasn’t any joy in it. “Might as well make a list of what ‘Americans’ believe, honey. Christians are all over the map in what we believe. I can only speak for me, for what I believe. And . . . I didn’t. Which left both of you to assume the worst.”

“So you’re . . . okay with this?” She was having trouble processing the thought.

“Probably about as ‘okay’ as you are," he said, sounding resigned. "It scares me. I don’t have the first idea what to do for him. For her. I’m worried about what’ll happen at work, and at school. About what kind of life she’s buying.”

Cindy stared at her husband and shook her head. “You’re serious. This is really happening, isn’t it?”

“I’d say it’s really happened, actually.”

She felt a flood of terror, of indecision. How can I protect my child? “What are we going to do, Jules?”

He got up, came to her chair and knelt by her side, holding her right hand in both of his. “Have faith, Cindy. We’ll figure it out. Like we always have. You, me, and Alyssa. But first off, I think there’s a girl who’s hurting who needs a quick phone call.”

“I can’t call . . . Alyssa . . . at work!”

“No. But you can call Alex. And you should.”

Cindy squeezed her eyes shut. “Oh, God! I fucked that up, didn’t I?”

“Then don’t let it fester, okay? She’s been there for Alyssa when we weren’t.”

She opened her eyes again and looked at Jules. “I need to apologize to you first.”

He squeezed her hand. “No more than I need to apologize to you. Now if you’ll excuse me a minute, I’ll let you make your call.”

“What’re you going to do?”

“Me?” He gave her a half smile and a shrug. “I’m going to pray.”


Alyssa got off work at 8:00 after a four-hour shift. It had been bizarre. She’d gotten some ribbing, but it hadn’t been nearly as bad as she had feared, and after a little bit, everyone just treated her like any other teenage barista. Her goateed, long-haired, laid-back boss, had done nothing more than raise an eyebrow and say, “you go, girl,” before adding, “we’re backed up – give Brittany a hand on the espresso machine.” The pure normality of it had been the strangest part.

Stepping out onto the pavement, though, the feeling of strangeness returned. It was only a fifteen-minute walk home, but she’d wondered whether one of her parents would pick her up, to avoid having her be seen like this in their own neighborhood. No-one was there, so she shrugged and started to walk.

The evening was cool enough that she wished she’d brought something to wear over her top. But the goosebumps that formed on her arms probably had less to do with the light breeze and the flimsy fabric that floated over her lingerie than it did with the fear that was flooding back as she walked. Her parents knew. They knew. Dad didn’t freak out, exactly, she thought, but he sure didn’t say much. And Mom!

She was so engrossed in her own thoughts that she stepped into a cross-street without looking and got honked at by an annoyed driver. They’re going to freaking kill me!

She took a left on her street and started walking the last five blocks. Every step seemed harder than the last, as her dread rose higher and higher. Crossing her arms under her padded bra, she chaffed her forearms with her hands, trying to bring some warmth into them.

Past Tag’s house. She used to play with Tag, years ago when they were both kids. Before Tag had become “cool,” and had no time for a runt like Brody. It had hurt so much, when Tag joined the other jocks in tormenting his former friend. The thought of being seen by Tag made Alyssa pick up the pace again. Even what was waiting at home wouldn’t be as bad as that.

Two blocks from home, she passed what she would always think of as Tiffany Warren’s house. Tiff had been Brody’s babysitter when he was little. She’d always been so sweet. For years, he’d wanted to be Tiffany when he grew up. Kind and smart and pretty. He’d wept for days when she’d gone off to college. Her folks had moved away a couple years later, and he’d never seen her again.

Down to the last block. Fifty yards, then thirty. Ten. There were moths circling the porch light, incapable of doing anything else. Even when it hurt them, as it always did.

She took a deep breath, put her hand on the knob, and opened the door. Her parents were in the living room talking – with . . . Alex!

Her mother rose, smiled, and said, “Hi Alyssa. How was work?”

She looked from her mom to her step-dad, caught between fear and hope that suddenly blossomed inside. “I thought you guys were going to kill me!”

Her dad reached her first and folded her into a hug like she had never had from him before. “Have a little faith, girl! We love you.”

Somehow, she found herself being hugged by her best friend in all the world and both parents. “Oh my God!” she said, overwhelmed. “This is the best birthday ever!!!”

The end.

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Thank you

I don't know how you do what you do, but please keep doing it.

Chalk this one up . . .

Emma Anne Tate's picture

. . . to a contrarian impulse. ;-)

Thank you, Source. What a kind comment!





Thanks, Dot!

Emma Anne Tate's picture




I've said many times that you can never be certain how anyone will react when you "come out" as T - any flavour of T. You might think you know your family and your friends, and you might even be right about most of them - but you will be completely wrong about a minority of them. Some to the good, some bad.

I'm sure we all wish we'd have the sort of reaction Alyssa just had.

Still a sucker for a happy ending :)


Happy endings

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Yeah, put me in the “happy endings” club. I can’t find it in me to add too much to the world’s bag of sorrows!

Your experience of not knowing how people will react, even when you think you know them well, tracks what I’ve heard from so many. And, of course, that just exacerbates a natural tendency to fear the worst. Sometimes, as you say, surprises are positive.

Thanks, Alison. Glad this one worked for you.


You are a inspiration.

Sunflowerchan's picture

I've said it before and I would say it again. You are an inspiration to us all. Each time you, I feel a bit giddy, because I get to sample the latest master piece your muse cooked up. This is no different. This story, touched my heart. I felt I was in Alyssa's shoes the whole time. You did a wonderful job showing the raw emotions that was pulsing through each and every scene. Your prose I've noticed has gotten more realistic. Something I wish I could minic in my own writing. And each character, even if they only appear only for a brief second or two have this sense that they are truely three dimensional. I hope that Alyssa's get to go to prom. I hope she get's to experince all the magic of high school, the thrill of being asked out, the sense of beauty that comes with getting all dolled up for prom. The most magical night of a young girls life. So in closing, thank you for all you share with us. Thank you for showing us the value of the written word. And thank you for being you.

I’m blushing. Again!

Emma Anne Tate's picture

How do you do that?

Thank you, Sunflower. I found several elements technically challenging, which I’ll PM you about, ’cuz not everyone’s going to want a look under the hood! But mostly, I’m delighted, as always, that you enjoyed the story. Your comments are always such a wonderful gift.


Folks can often surprise.

Andrea Lena's picture

Sometimew we surprise ourselves. How much of a capacity we actually have to change how we see things. When I came out....rather, when my wife discovered this part of me in an open woed document; i cried into the back of the couch. She touched my shoulder after i said iwas afraid she would leave. She smiled and said, 'Why would i leave you/ I love you.'

The story immediatelly reminded me of the conversation you and i had about the disturbing text in a family chat. They praised an organization that wants to stop teachers from keeping their child's lgbtq satus a secret; calling it a secret conspiracy; complete with a link toa website. Llke so many places, schoolboards would fire teachers unless they out an lgbtq+ kid. This afternoon another family member agreed; going so far as to urge folks in the chat to ;pray fior justice.' not for the kids, but for the schools and the parents who threaten the stanility and safety of trans kids All in a fear that has usurped any faith and replaced with fear.

Thank you for a hopeful ending.


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

The absolute best “caught” story I can imagine!

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Drea, the story of your wife’s reaction to discovering your feminine nature is so beautiful. It’s what I think everyone longs for. Better than any story!

I honestly don’t see how you can get from Christian scripture to a rejection of transgenderism, much less a fear and loathing of trans people. But people have a tendency to construct a faith that suits their priors, regardless of “fit.” I know I do, so I won’t throw (too many!) stones that way.

Thank you, always, for your ongoing support.

Lots of hugs,


It could have been my story...

Thanks, Emma,
I could see myself there for someone else but scared stiff if it were me coming out. Now all I can do is wonder, as they're deceased and I'll never know.
It was a powerful story for those who wished they had that time to do over.

Jessica E. Connors

Jessica Connors

Critical moments

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Life gives you moments that can destroy a lifetime-long relationship, or cement it forever. And you can almost never get a do-over. I try to stay alert for those critical moments, but it’s the nature of the thing that they surprise you.

Hugs, Jessica. Thank you for the thoughtful comment; I’m glad the story touched you.



A good-guy step-father!

Great job!


A bad rap

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Step-parents get a bad rap. They do. I mean, step-mothers especially (“wicked” almost naturally gets attached to the title), but step-dads, too. It’s a brutally hard job and people don’t get nearly enough credit for taking it on. The least I can do is write a story with a good step-dad. :)


Interesting take

Patricia Marie Allen's picture

Being a Christian, I didn't think I was going to like this one. But the amazing Emma threw me a curve ball and struck me out. I'm very glad I took a chance and read it to spite my misgivings.

Unfortunately, what Brody assumed about his step-dad is exactly what the vocal Christian churches preach. But there are plenty who walk in the path of letting God be God and leaving it up to Him what to do about the folks that don't seem to fit the mold.

My church turned into one of those when the founding pastor moved on to other works and the current pastor took over. My pastor has known about me being trans for about 10 years. We've had exactly one discussion about it. I think it was pretty much a fact finding mission on his part. Aside from my trans nature, I'm pretty much a walking example of what a Christian ought to be in our church. I volunteer my time, I tithe regularly and donate to special projects generously and there is plenty of evidence that God has chosen to bless me. Three generations of my family attend the church. My wife and I, my two daughters and my now adult grandchildren and all three generations follow my lead in giving of time, talent and treasure.

When pastor and I got through with our discussion, he basically said, "I'll let you and God work this out."

My favorite scripture is "The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16: 7b

Pastor once said from the pulpit, "A lot of people try to make a sin out of things that God really doesn't care about." I think being trans is one of those things.

Great story from one of my favorite authors. Keep up the good work.


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


Emma Anne Tate's picture

It’s hard to avoid assumptions. We can’t. As we drive into an intersection, for instance, we assume that the car approaching on the cross-street is capable of breaking for the red light. We assume it is being driven by someone whose feet can reach the break pedal, whose eyes can see the red light, or at least, the image of our own car in the intersection. We assume the person is not too distracted to notice us, or too crazy to care, or too malicious to pass up the opportunity to ram us at lethal speed. We do, because if we don’t, we won’t ever go anywhere or do anything.

There are lots and lots of reasons for trans people in America today to be wary of overtly Christian folks — even family members. I’m a Christian myself, and I’m wary of them. And I knew, writing this story, that some of the people who will read it have horror stories about abuse from self-proclaimed Christians. It’s real, and unfortunately, it’s not rare.

But the step-dad in my story is not impossible, or even implausible. I know people like him. And sometimes— just sometimes— it’s worth allowing for the possibility that the light they follow is one of superabundant love, of tenderness, mercy, and compassion.

Thank you, Patricia. I’ll confess that I’m perversely pleased that I was able to get you to strike out. It’s hard for me to do it, since curves and off-speed pitches are all I’ve got. For the life of me, I can’t develop a fastball!


Another cool dad

Is this going to become a thing?


Maeryn Lamonte, the girl inside

Probably :)

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Truth is, I had a cool dad, so I’m predisposed that way! I’ve written several stories with good dads. Maybe my favorite of them is Hobson’s Choice. You might like that one (says Emma, in a hopefully rare fit of shameless self-promotion)!



You have reversed the usual, showing that a religious attitude can lead to understanding and support!
I am a devout atheist, and have usually found that (almost any) religion shows a lack of tolerance to any (-thing or -one) outside their concept of "normal". This story showed that this does not need to hold true.
It has not changed my religious views, but DID show that sometimes a religious view can override the normally conceived intolerance of a particular religion.

Tolerance comes in lots of shapes and sizes!

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Of course, intolerance does as well. I’ve known my share of intolerant theists and atheists. The only group that I’ve found to be consistently tolerant are agnostics, of which my father was one. It’s the only truly logical position, in my view.

And yet, for me, it was not enough. As Mr. Spock once remarked, “logic is a wreath of pretty flowers which [sic] smell bad.”


What a lovely idea!

Emma Anne Tate's picture

It should be a trans tradition. :)


You've done it again.

I've got the "warm fuzzies" over this piece along with a staggering dose of philosophy. I've always found it more comforting to have faith rather than having A faith. Everyone failed to understand the father figure (even he). But when push came to shove, reality out shown dogma. Brody could relax and be her best Alyssa. The mother could enjoy her daughter.

If only Alex could relax to her name without triggering all those Bezos devices. Some problems require more patience.



Emma Anne Tate's picture

I really feel for girls who were named “Alexa” or “Siri.” I mean, I expect I would absolutely change my name if something like that happened!

Jules says the word “faith” three times in the story, all in different contexts. But I think, for him, the faith is the same, regardless of context. And with that heavy additional dose of philosophy . . . .

Thanks for your comment, Ron. I’m always happy to spread some wam fuzzies!


“Hey seriously”

I’ve had the hardest time learning to stop saying that.

Tolerance comes from the most unexpected places. Shortly after Obama’s election, I visited an elderly relative, about 88, who complained that we were not ready for a President who was a “n…egro.” Immediately her older sister, 95, delivered such a tongue-lashing “you should be ashamed of yourself having seen for all these years that the color of someone’s skin doesn’t say a hill of beans about their ability and character.” Never before was I at once both so ashamed and proud of my family.

From the mouths of nonagenarians . . . .

Emma Anne Tate's picture

I'm always inspired by people who are able to rise above the "truths" that they were taught for decades. It's amazingly difficult. That must have been a fun visit, Catherd!



Best birthday ever!

I think Brody is history while Alyssa has just been born.

>>> Kay

Seems likely :)

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Thanks, Kay!


Best Birthday Ever!

Dee Sylvan's picture

Those were also my thoughts over the past Labor Day weekend when I had my 'first birthday'. Who knows how long Alyssa would've been in the closet, probably years, living a secret life. I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason. And I think many Christians are tired of being taught that they should be homophobic or transphobic.

About a month ago I stopped at a resale shop at an Episcopal Church a few blocks away from my home that I have driven by for the past seven years. I found some really nice clothes and when I was checking out a very nice older lady invited me to their service the next day. I haven't been to a church since my daughter left for college about 10 years ago. Afterwards I was thinking I'm sure she thinks I'm either trans or a crossdresser but thought, what the heck, why not? Besides, I don't have many places to wear all the nice dresses I have. lol

I was quite apprehensive when I went through the entrance but there was the same lady who proceeded to introduce me to everyone and much to my surprise, everyone I met was as friendly as her and the pastor even welcomed me from the pulpit! Come to find out, one of the goals of the church is to reach out to the LGBTQ+ community! Amazing!

This story does have some similarities to Hobson's Choice, it's hard to believe you wrote that a year ago. Two adults having a civil discussion about what is best for their child. I like the way you switch POV in this story, also similar to HC.

Again, I hope you have given us a glimpse of the future. Thank you Emma! :DD


As my favorite frying nun might say . . .

Emma Anne Tate's picture

. . . I can’t imagine that the creator of the universe and all that is in it, the Uncaused Cause, really cares all that much about gender or sexual orientation, much less who wears what underwear. I mean, really? And I’m seriously delighted that you found a faith community that agrees.

Thank you, Dee — love your comments! And, happy belated birthday!!!



Episcopal Church

Even in the Episcopal Church that is not a uniform thing.

Granted my knowledge of the current behaviors of regions outside my own state are dated, even back in 2000, Neenah Wisconsin's Episcopal Church was conservative as all hell. As is a good number of the African Dioceses.

The US Episcopal church generally are more likely to be welcoming but as is all things YMMV.


Emma Anne Tate's picture

Agreed, Kimmie. This being America, most people don’t know any theology to speak of and are happy that way, so the culture of each faith community tends to be more important when it comes to LGTBQ+ issues than formal doctrine. That said, some denominations are more likely to tolerate liberal-leaning communities than others.


Local Church

Dee Sylvan's picture

To me, a church is the people who attend and the local community they minister to. I'm happy I've found such a community and I don't feel it is a coincidence that it happened so soon after I came out to everyone I've ever known. It's more of an affirmation that living your life by the 'Golden Rule' and being able to look in a mirror and not have any regrets is the right thing to do.


A lovely gentle story

beautifully written, as always!

Thank you, Sue!

Emma Anne Tate's picture

And here I was, just over on another posting, admiring your wonderfully rich and evocative writing! It makes me feel like I’ve made a line drawing, while you’ve been filling your canvas with a dreamy watercolor. Still, there’s room in this Big Ol’ Closet for all sorts!


Another Gem

Erisian's picture

Another lovely offering from Emma, and another smile successfully delivered. Quite touching and with excellent dialogue and interplay!

Thanks, Erisian.

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Always glad to put a seraphic smile on your face. ;-)


I wish

I had had such a positive experience, the one and only time I was ever me around my parents, I came home in a dress and my mom slapped me so hard I had a concussion and broken ribs from crashing into a table. That was in 4th grade, and I was so traumatized that I literally blocked it out until I was in my early 20s. I'm just grateful that my wife, kids and grandkids have all embraced Holly.

I wish . . .

Emma Anne Tate's picture

. . . that your experience was more rare. I think we were moving that direction, with greater understanding of, and tolerance for, transgenderism. But in our current moment, unfortunately, we seem to be living through a period of reaction. Still, I hope that this story, hopeful though it is, isn’t just wishcasting.