Climbing out of her bed to dress, the thoughts of school and friends rush around on top of goals, workouts, chores and clothes. Moments after rising she moves past the mirror and freezes. Her body is not a “her” but a “him.” Her day will not be filled with thoughts of what to get done or how to dress to express who she is. Instead, she looks for the outfit that hides the most; covering all the imperfections that she cannot workout to fix and study harder to change. She cannot dig herself out of her gender as one whom from poverty. Stuck. She sits. Looking in a mirror that keeps changing into what she does understand. Being asked to live a life that does not fit what is under her skin.
A yell comes from down stairs and now a girl who got up before it was time excited about her day, stands as a boy frozen in confusion and fear. The ‘late to school’ conversation that happens everyday starts as HE hits the bottom stair. His head fills with all the things he will have to do today. His conversations with friends that might not be friends ‘if they knew’ about the her that he is not suppose to discuss. He starts to question all his relationships, wondering if any are real. Isolating in his head and fearing to truly care about others he learns that self is the only person to trust and worry about. Moving from one class to another where they ask the boys and girls to separate for seating, restrooms, activities, sports, and/or games. Where does the Transgender teen stand? Where does she/ he fit in?
Transgender teens are being asked to ‘sit at the back of the bus’ and do as you are told. Where does it stop? Conform to societies standards of male/female. If your genitals determine who you are, what do we do with the intersex person? When do they get to move to the front and claim they are worth being respected? I work with teens that smile when for a moment in time they are seen from the inside out. Peace and respect sits with them as they talk and joy fills their face when their correct pronoun is used.
Just one. Condemning. Reaffirming. Little. Big. Powerful. Painful. Joyful. Word.
He returns home, head down and moving on to homework. Then SHE smiles. In her room, she is real. She fits just fine into the clothes only she ever sees. She studies in the hat that makes her hair look longer. The words, the math is all making sense with room in her head. She draws hearts and a smiley to remember the steps to complete the problems.
In her room she is comfortable and safe for now. She knows the sadness that will come tomorrow when HE must return to the breakfast table and to school.
Parents. Friends. Counselors.
Read and learn about the transgender teen in your life. If you have questions, ask them, together is when family is the most effective.
I work with the LGBTQIA community and would be happy to help with questions or a direction for you to go in.
Melinda C. Porter, LPC