Properly Suppressing Your Gender Dysphoria
Narrate a play when you are seven. Protest your wardrobe convincingly. Don’t pretend the robe is a dress. Squirm when they let you wear lipstick and blush. Do not say they “let you.” Forget this memory.
Hate your long eyelashes. Avoid androgynous haircuts. Blush when the lunch lady thinks you are a girl. Do not like this, but remember this — it is embarrassing.
Don’t watch The Jetsons. Don’t dream that you have a machine that showers and dresses you in the morning. Don’t dream that it always messes up and dresses you like a girl. Consider this “messing up.” Do not have this dream again.
Don’t go to water parks. Don’t hate your swimsuit. Don’t like hers. Don’t dream of futuristic water slides that can change your gender. Don’t always find ways to accidentally go down the girl’s slide. Consider this “accidental.” Stop having this dream. Stop having this dream. Stop having this dream.
Forget that time in third grade when Kyle got to dress up as a cheerleader for Halloween. Don’t say that he “got to.” Become too old for Halloween when you are nine. Do not tell anyone why.
Don’t envy that girl’s outfit, her hair, or her body. Do not envy her genitals. This is not envy; this is attraction.
Don’t watch Mulan.
Don’t tell your sister that you wish you were a girl. Laugh with her when she points out your bulbous Adam’s apple and tell her that you are kidding. Don’t hate your Adam’s apple. Do not push it to the back of your throat and wish that it would stay.
Don’t ask your mom what she would’ve named you if you were a girl. Elizabeth.
Don’t go to the Woodstock Fleece Festival. Don’t look at all the cute knit hats. Don’t cry in the car in front of your aunt. Do not cry over knit hats when you are twenty-three.
Don’t go to The Stumble Inn with Karen. Don’t sit on the patio, and don’t order a drink. Don’t let her tell you that you have feminine features — you don’t. Don’t let it make you happy. Do not be happy.
Don’t pretend to be a girl online. Consider this “pretend.”
Pretend to be a boy in real life. Consider this “real.”
Wait until you are older — it will go away.
Pretend that it does.
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Will it feel the same when you tell me you love me over the phone? Will the peacefulness of those words still floor me from thousands of miles away?
I was conflicted. It felt like one eye was trying to look away while the other soaked it up. I felt the heat rise in my face. This was wrong. But it didn’t feel wrong.
Any nervous flyer knows the progression of descending panic: bile, sweaty palms, social awkwardness and self-induced sedation.
I know how it feels when the weight of darkness crashes down onto your chest in the middle of the night, and how you wish things would stop spinning because the axis seems tilted now. I know, love, I know.