Looking at my naked self in the mirror, I sucked in my stomach and rolled my shoulders back, putting my hands on my hips. Then I looked at my hips. I swished them from side to side, trying to make them look smaller. I sighed and grabbed my clothes. Starting with the underwear, I looked at myself in the mirror again with just my black briefs on. Despite the hips and small "moobs," I looked a little more like a man. Then I pulled my binder over my head. I took a deep breath to make sure it fit right, and then moved my moobs around under it until my chest was as flat as it could be. I looked in the tall mirror on my door again. That was much better. My binder looked just like an undershirt or tank top so I as I dressed I was looking more and more like a "real man." Next came the shorts. I wore them low on my waist, but not low enough that my butt would show. Just like all the teenage boys were doing lately. It just kept getting better and better. I pulled a large grey graphic T-shirt out of my dresser drawer and looked it over. I decided against it when I found my tight pink polo. I pulled that over my head and put the graphic T back before crossing my room and looking at myself in the mirror again. I smiled at myself and struck a pose. I turned sideways and looked at myself profile. I pushed against my chest again to make sure it was as flat as it could get, and then grabbed my shoes and left my room.
I walked into the kitchen and started my breakfast. It was eggs again. It seemed to be the only breakfast food we had. I ate quickly and left the house. Over the summer I joined the local LGBT teen group. Most of them were older, around 18 or 19, and were in college or at least living independently. I was the only Trans person there, besides a young girl who was just 13, and who had just came out. She wore makeup and had long hair, but she didn't pass very well because she was starting to go through male puberty and her voice was cracking all the time. I talked to her a little, and we envied each other's bodies. I also met the only other boy in the small group who was my age, and found out that he was going to the same high school as me this year. As I walked to the bus stop I hoped that he'd be in some of my classes. He didn't really understand "the whole trans thing" as he called it, but he was respectful and used the right name and pronouns, which was a plus.
I came out in my first year in high school, last year. Most of the people that knew me before were only a little surprised, but they didn't really understand. I explained everything to them, and by the end of the year I'd lost a lot of old friends, but gained a few others. The ones who accepted me used my chosen name, Brian, and the right pronouns, and the ones who didn't would blatantly call me Grace, my birth name. Luckily my real friends had my back, and corrected them for me. My teachers more or less understood, but they still mixed up the pronouns often. About the middle of the year, I even had to confront one of my teachers because she continually called me Grace, and used only female pronouns. I complained to the principal, who I'd talked to at the beginning of the year for support, and he helped me sort it out. I don't know what he did, but after I talked to them she switched right away to the right name and everything was fine. I made sure to thank the principal.
This year I was hoping to take it a little further than public transition though. I wanted to start an LGBT Students, Teachers, and Allies group. I rummaged through my backpack while I walked, and realizing that I'd forgotten my iPod, I cursed.
"What's wrong Brian?" Said a voice in front of me. I looked up to see the boy I met at the LGBT group waiting for the bus.
"Cory?" I said in disbelief. I didn't think he lived so close to me.
"Yeah. Didn't I tell you I live on Maple?" He said.
"I guess not." I smiled. "Good to see you." I said.
"Yeah. So how was last week's meeting? Sorry I missed it. I was at my dad's."
I tried to remember if Cory had said anything about his parents being divorced, but then realized he hadn't said anything about his parents since I met him. "It was fine. There was a new girl so we all just told our coming out stories to introduce ourselves. Turns out she was attempting suicide when her mom caught her and saved her. So she had to tell her that the reason she was trying to kill herself was that she's bi."
"Aww, poor thing. So did Michael tell his story to her?"
"I think so. But not with the group. I saw them talking, and they were both crying, so I kind of guessed. . ."
"Yeah. It's just so sad. And I'll bet her mom is relieved." He said.
"She seemed like it. But she was crying most of the time Sarah told her story." He nodded sympathetically and we walked across the street as the bus pulled up.
"So what classes are you taking?" Cory asked as we found an empty seat and sat down. He handed me his schedule, and as luck would have it, we had all but two classes together. Those two were the ones he or I had honors in. For me it was Creative Writing. For him it was Algebra.
"Really? I said, commenting on him being in Honors Algebra.
"Haha, yeah, it's not my favorite subject, but I'm good at it.
I was walking to my last class and I saw Cory ahead of me, getting shoved against a locker.
"Hey! Get your hands off him!" I said, pulling the bully off of Cory. But the bully just turned on me.
"Well, if it isn't the little dyke, Gracie Louis? I haven't seen you since middle school. That means you're due!" I realized who it was in a flash of memory and ducked my head just before he swung his punch.
"Don't touch him!" Cory said. Cory wasn't very tall, but he stood on tip toe and towered above the bully, Gordon Mathews.
"Him?" Gordon looked confused. "This chick's got you fooled Cory. 'He' is actually a she!"
"No he's not! He's more of a man than you!" A small gathering of people had formed around us. Inside I was furious and hurt at Gordon's words, but I blocked all emotion out and stayed as calm as I could.
Gordon wrinkled his nose, "How can he be when he's a chick!?" He pushed Cory again and grinned.
I stepped forward and whispered in Gordon's ear "Don't touch him again or I tell all these people about your seventh grade boyfriend."
"What did you say, dyke?" Gordon whipped around and advanced on me.
"You heard me. I know it's not true, but they don't." I said, continuing to keep my cool, I spoke softly so that only Gordon, Cory, and I could hear. Gordon thought for a second about what I said.
"If you tell them anything like that I'll kill you." He said, but he didn't have the smarts to keep a quiet voice.
"What was that Mr. Mathews?" Said a voice behind us. We all turned to see a teacher watching us.
Gordon took a step back and said, "Uh, I meant, uh, I'd kill them, at an Xbox game."
"Sure you did. I suggest that you all get to class, as the bell rang almost five minutes ago." We all turned to leave, but the teacher stopped Cory and I. "Wait a second you two."
We turned around and held our breath.
"Are you Cory Thomson and" He paused before my name. "Brian Louis?"
I mentally smiled because he got my name right. "Yeah." I said quietly, not knowing what was coming.
"You're next class is Theatrical Arts, is it not?" We nodded silently. "Then you're in my class. Follow me."
We walked into his classroom and were not surprised to see the whole class sitting on their desks and talking to each other. We went to the only two empty seats in the room, and sat down.
"Ahem." The teacher cleared his throat. The class continued to ignore him. "If you're all not quiet and focused within the next ten seconds, I'll be giving all of you a 3 page front and back report on the reasons you should pay attention in class." He said loudly. Then began to count backwards from ten. By the time he got to three the whole room was silent. "Thank you. My name is Jeff Torrent. Call me Jeff, Mr. Torrent, or" He paused and looked up at no one in particular and finished, "Lisa. You know the rules, it's the same as in kindergarten. You sit still unless told to do otherwise, you'll speak when spoken to, or by call of name, if you have a question raise your hand, and when you're on the ground, always sit criss-cross-applesauce-bottoms-on-the-floor. Got it?"
One boy raised his hand, and was called on immediately. "Yeah, uh, Lisa, uhm why do you want to be called Lisa?"
"Good question. I don't think I'll be answering it though. You know what, why don't you stick to Mr. Torrent. It sounds a little better." A few of the kids snickered, including the boy who asked the question. "Ok, so in this class, everyone will have partners. I'll allow you to pick your partners at first, but if I find that you can't cooperate productively then I'll change them. Go ahead and move to a desk so that you are directly next to, behind, or in front of your chosen partners. Then hold hands with the person, and kiss them on the cheek. Nah I'm only kidding, just move next to them."
I was already next to Cory, so we didn't move. Once everybody was situated, he explained a little more. "We need partners because throughout the year, we'll be doing small skits, and your partner will be the one who you do your skit with." We went through the class pretty quickly, and he explained what we'd do for the year, that we'll be doing a few shows, and we might get to go to a show too. "Mostly we'll be doing improv, with a few scripted things as well." He said. After class, as Cory and I were headed out, Mr. Torrent stopped me. Cory just waited outside the classroom while he talked to me. "So what do you think about the class?" He asked me.
"Um, it's cool." I said, I wasn't sure what he wanted me to say.
"I thought you'd enjoy this class. I read up on you a bit when I was told about you. I hope you don't mind my prying. It's just that, when I became a teacher I never expected to meet a student . . . like you. I mean, I guess it makes sense. There're all kinds of students everywhere. Anyway, I just want you to know, if you need to talk about anything, anything at all, you can come to me."
I never understood why teachers did things like this. It was as though he expected me to encounter some horrible problem at school that only he could help me with, and he was afraid that I wouldn't be able to ask him for help unless he told me that I could. Still, Mr. Torrent seemed to have something else to say. "Ok, thanks." I said. "Is there something else?"
"Yeah, I um, you know why I said to call me Lisa?" He was starting to get fidgety and nervous as he spoke.
"I had a few possible ideas, yeah." I said, getting more and more curious.
"Well, I just want you to know, because I've gone through some of the things you're doing, because, I'm a drag queen, and uh, so that's why I say you can talk to me, because, I might know a bit more about, things like that, than the average person, and um. . ."
"Ok. That's cool. I get it." I said, smiling. "So do you like, do shows or something? Or is it just a guilty pleasure kind of thing?"
"I, heh, well I do, I mean, kind of both. So anyway, I just wanted you to know, so we can talk, if you want." He said. He started to get his stuff together. "So I uh, have to go, and don't you ride the bus? Sorry for keeping you, but you might want to hurry up to catch it."
"Oh, right! Thanks! Bye!" I said, and ran from the classroom. I sped past Cory, who was still waiting for me, so it took a little bit for him to catch up to me. Even running we still got to the bus right before the doors closed. We found the only empty seat in the middle and sat down.
"What was that about? He almost made us miss the bus."
"Ok, promise you won't tell anyone? This is really important. I need to keep his trust. Don't even tell your parents."
"Ok, I promise. What is it?" He said impatiently.
"Mr. Torrent is a drag queen!" I whispered.
"No! Oh my god, we should totally start our group with him then!"
"What group?" I said, confused.
"Didn't you say you wanted to start an in school LGBT Support Group? We should see if he'll help us start one!" He said.
"Oh! Yeah that'd be awesome! But I don't know if he'd be up for it. He didn't seem like it was a thing he was very open about. It seemed like I might be one of the first people he's told. But I'll ask him tomorrow." I said.
"This is great!" Cory said.
"Yeah, but remember, don't tell anyone. How would you like it if you told someone you trusted that you're gay and then they went and told everyone they know?" I said.
"Yeah. I know." He said. Speaking of that, what do you think we should do about Gordon? He pretty much just outed you to the whole school."
"Yeah, I know, but a lot of people already know. And I've already got a plan." I said. "But it won't work until we get our group going, so for now we'll just have to avoid him."