"What are you doing in the boys' locker room, Grace?" Gordon said as I left my bathroom stall in the gym locker room one day.
I shrugged and said "I'm a guy too, Gordon."
"What are you talking about? You're a girl! You can't be in here!" He said loudly.
"Well I'm too much of a guy for them to make me use the girls', so Coach put me in here. I'm trans Gordon. I feel like a boy, I look like a boy, and I act like a boy, so I'm just as much a boy as everyone else in here. If you don't like it, talk to Coach."
"You're crazy! You think you're a guy but-"
"Oh, leave him alone Gordon." A cute boy I didn't know stepped in. He was tall and had slate blue-grey hair. "They wouldn't have let him in here if he wasn't a guy."
I gave a small smile of appreciation to the guy who'd spoken up, but found that he wasn't there anymore.
"Whatever. Just don't be watching me, freak." He said, and left the room.
The Gym class was fine, and Gordon seemed to avoid me, which I didn't mind at all. We played basketball, and as much as I looked for the guy who'd stopped Gordon, I couldn't find him in the mess of teenagers. Was he purposely avoiding me? Maybe, but why would he? I don't even know him. I tried to think if we had any classes together, but couldn't remember ever seeing him before.
As the day went on, I forgot about the mysterious boy, and enjoyed my classes with Cory. That is, until I met him again in our last class, Theatrical Arts. He must've been new.
And sure enough, when Mr. Torrent did roll call, he introduced us to the new kid, "Seamus McKinley?"
"Here." Seamus said.
"And you're transferred from?" Mr. Torrent asked.
"Villa High." He said.
"Ok, good to have you here Seamus. In this class we all have partners for doing skits with, and we can't have anyone without a partner, so how about one of our groups volunteer to have Seamus work with them? You'll just have one more person to split the work with." Mr. Torrent said.
Cory's hand shot up instantly, and his was the only hand that did. "What are you doing?" I whispered to Cory.
"What? He's cute. And I had him in Algebra, he's a cool kid." Cory smiled.
Mr. Torrent nodded and Cory put his hand down. "Ok, Seamus, you can partner with Cory and Brian." Seamus got up and moved to the back of the room where we were.
"Hi." Seamus said quietly. The class began, and we worked on a skit where we had to mime the infamous Romeo and Juliet scene where they both die. Cory played Juliet and was overly dramatic about it. He fell beside "Romeo" played by Seamus and I, and died with his hand over his forehead the way you see princesses do in the old Disney movies. But our skit was ruined when it was Seamus and my turn to die, and we all burst out in a fit of giggles because Seamus tripped and fell over "Juliet." I don't think Cory minded too much, as he got to have Seamus lie in his lap a while. Though he was flushed red when he stood up.
At the end of class Cory and I talked to Mr. Torrent.
"What can I do for you boys?" He said.
"Well yesterday, we looked through the schools' group list, and we didn't see an LGBT Support group in there," Cory started.
"Oh" He said. He swallowed loudly and his cheeks tinted red.
"And we were wondering if you could help us start one." I finished.
"Boys, you know I'd love to, but none of the faculty knows that I'm . . ."
"Oh." I said. "Well, starting a group like this might make it easier to come out?" I suggested.
"Or even if you're not ready, you don't have to say that's why you're with it. You could just be our support." Cory said reassuringly.
"Right. Do you have the form?" He asked. Cory pulled it out of his backpack and put it on Mr. Torrent's desk. "Ok, well I'll take a look at it and fill it out, and if you can, arrange so that you can get a ride home a little late, so we can talk about it tomorrow, ok?"
"We already did that today." I said, smiling. Mr. Torrent didn't smile back. He seemed a bit nervous about it.
"Ok, well, sit down then. I need to think about this for a minute." He said, taking his own seat behind his desk. He picked up the form and read it, then sat silently for a minute. I could understand why he'd have to think it over. He'd have to think whether or not he'd use the group to come out to the faculty, and how he would come out if that's what he chose to do. Or if he wanted to keep quiet about himself and just do it for us, and for how long he'd be able to stay quiet. Cory and I decided to get started on our homework while he thought.
After about ten minutes, he finally sighed and said "Ok. We'll do it then." Cory and I looked up at him and smiled. "But, I think I need to tell a few people a few things beforehand."
"Of course." I said.
"Yeah, we understand." Cory nodded.
Mr. Torrent sighed. "So, what should we call the group?" He pulled the form closer to him.
"LGBT Youth Support Group?" Cory said.
"I was thinking it should be something with "Friends and Allies" in it. So people know it's not just for LGBT, but for supporters too." I said.
"That makes sense." Mr. Torrent nodded. "How about LGBT Students, Teachers, and Allies?"
"That works." Cory said.
"Yeah, that's good." I said.
The talk went like this for about 20 minutes as we went over the basics of everything we needed. In the end we decided that we'd meet every Wednesday afternoon to talk about LGBT issues of our own and in our community, and to socialize and learn from each other. We'd have access to any part of the school that wasn't already being used by other groups, so we would be able to do things like post flyers and things around the school during our hour long meeting time. We'd meet in Mr. Torrent's classroom at 3:15, roughly 5 minutes after the last bell rings.
With the form filled out, and the plans made, we only had one more thing to talk about.
"So how did you boys first come out to your friends and family?" Mr. Torrent asked shyly. "Just, maybe you could give me a little advice?"
Cory smiled slightly. "I waited until about a week after I realized it myself, then I just told my parents at dinner about a boy in school that I liked. They were confused at first, but after they caught on they told me that they really weren't surprised. I'd seemed a bit queer from the beginning was what my mom said."
"What about your dad?" I asked.
"I didn't really know my dad until a month or so ago. My parents are uh, lesbians, so they used a sperm donor. . ."
"Really?" Mr. Torrent said with a look of mild surprise.
Cory nodded shyly. "So my dad knew I was gay from the beginning, and he's ok with it. Though, he kind of had to be in order to give his sperm to a lesbian couple, you know."
"Yeah. That's really cool though, so now you have like, three parents?" I asked.
"Not really. I don't think of Mark as my dad. He's kind of like, my moms' friend. He's been their friend for years now, I just didn't know he was the sperm donor until recently."
Mr. Torrent nodded. "That's very interesting. What about you Brian?"
"Oh, um. . . Well, I always knew I was different. But I first heard "transsexual" about a year or so ago. I looked it up and asked my mom about it. Then I asked if she thought I'm one. She wasn't too keen on the idea at first but after she researched it she said it made sense for me. But her and my dad still struggle with pronouns though, just because it's a habit. With my friends it was harder though. Most of them just stopped talking to me altogether. But some weren't so bad. My friend Sarah and I still talk sometimes, and she's really accepting. Anyway, I guess my advice for coming out to people is to be emotionally ready for any response. Don't be too pessimistic or too optimistic. People will think what they think no matter what. Some will want to talk about it and understand, and others will just say "ok" and be done with it."
"Yeah, Brian's got that right, don't expect the worst, but definitely don't expect the best either. Just be prepared for both. Also, make sure that they know that you're not a stereotype, and that just because the gay guy they saw on tv was one way, doesn't mean that you are."
"Right. And don't try to be gay." I said.
"Yeah, don't try to be overly feminine. You shouldn't have to prove to them that you're gay." Cory added.
"Just be yourself. Make sure you can answer their questions if they have them, and present yourself in a way that says "This is a positive thing." So they don't get the wrong ideas." I said.
"Wow. . . It's weird hearing advice from students, but you guys really seem to know what you're talking about. You make it sound easy to just tell them." Mr. Torrent said.
"It's not easy." I said.
"Yeah, my moms were perfectly accepting and I still cried myself to sleep that night." Cory said.
"It's emotionally taxing, no matter the outcome." I said.
"Ok. Thank you. I really appreciate the advice." He said with a shy smile.
We took that as out cue to go. "Well, we'll see you tomorrow Mr. Torrent." I got up and Cory followed me out.
"Bye boys. Thanks again." He said, standing in the doorway to his classroom.
As we walked through the empty halls I heard the principal come down the hall from the opposite direction we were headed and start talking to Mr. Torrent. "What was that about, Jeff? Thanking your students?"
"Why don't you come and sit down and I'll explain." Mr. Torrent said.
I smiled to myself and had to turn around to call back before I heard the door close. "Good luck Mr. Torrent!" He blushed and gave us a small wave before closing the door.
Cory's mom picked us up and took us to his house where we'd arranged to hang out for the afternoon. His mom was a little shorter than Cory and she had medium length brown hair. She was very pretty. Her name was Hazel. We finished our homework pretty easily because we were able to help each other, and when we finished we went down in the basement where we played Cory's new videogame Zombie War 3 until it was time for dinner.
I met Cory's other mom as soon as we got upstairs.
"Hi, you must be Brian. Cory told us so much about you." She said, shaking my hand. She was tall and had a muscly build, and her work uniform seemed pretty dirty, so I assumed she was a "rough and tumble" kind of person. "You can call me Chris." She said.
"Dinner's ready!" Hazel called from in the kitchen. "Hope you're vegetarian." She said to me as we sat down to eat. It was pasta with veggies and a cheesy sauce.
"Sure." I said. "I'm not too fond of meat anyway." I said.
"My grandparents had a farm, and growing up I always got attached to the animals, just before they. . ." Chris said, letting the sentence hang unfinished. "Now we have chickens of our own, and we're vegetarian."
"And we never have to buy eggs." Hazel added with a smile.
I nodded, but didn't really have anything to say.
"So how was school?" Chris asked after a while.
"Great." Cory said. "We asked about the LGBT group. That was why we stayed late."
"Oh, cool. So what's the deal?"
"Mr. Torrent thinks we'll be able to start it up. But it might take a little longer to go through because it's a um, controversial thing, and it has to be run through the school board first." I said.
"Hopefully not too long though." Cory added. "And Mr. Torrent said he'd have to talk to some people before he could submit it, because he's"
I cut him off before he said the wrong thing. "He has personal reasons."
I saw a wave of mild confusion followed by understanding wash over Hazel and Chris's faces.
"So he's still in the closet then?" Chris said with a smirk.
"What?" Cory looked up, trying to be innocent. "Uh, what do you mean?"
"He has to tell a few people around the school that he's gay before he can submit the form because he doesn't want people to find out the wrong way." She said, reading our minds.
"Just don't tell him we told you." I said.
"Honey you didn't have to tell us. The looks on your faces said it all." Hazel replied.
After dinner I called my mom and Cory and I played another round of Zombie War 3 while we waited for her to come pick me up.
She struck up a conversation on the way home. "So they're uhm . . . ?"
"Lesbians, yeah." I said, rolling my eyes at her.
"That's kind of funny, that the lesbian couple raised a gay boy." She said.
"Not that funny mom. And please don't tell them that you think it is." I said.
"Why? Are you embarrassed?" She gave a motherly smile as I glared at the windshield of the car.
"Yes. I'm embarrassed that my mother can't take my friend's parents seriously."
"What? I do take them seriously honey, I was just trying to make a joke. I think it's kind of ironic that it happened that way."
"It's no more ironic than when a straight couple has a straight kid." I said. She didn't reply and I soon forgot about the conversation when we got home.