”Hello, I’m Matthew’s English teacher”
I had seen it coming, but my heart dropped into my stomach nonetheless as my teammates continued on to pass me, shuffling along as the fatigue of the game set into their wearied bones. My grandmother’s angry bewilderment cut through the air in an interogating bark, accompanied by the shrill, biting wind.
I didn’t speak. The cold, slick metal of the ticket desk beneath my fingers and the frigid night air sent me into an uncontrollable shiver, and I started to back away. She repeated my name once again and it rung mockingly clear, stripping me of the act I had kept up for so long.
”I’m Matthew’s teacher, it’s nice to meet you”
I didn’t speak. I stumbled backward, stammering a see you tomorrow to my teacher before turning to begin the long walk to the car, my grandmother catching up quickly to confront me.
”So you’re going by Matthew now, that’s it??”
I didn’t speak, I was too horrified. I just stared ahead into the velvety black sky, empty except for a sparse smattering of stars. I savored the moment, tuning her out as best I could, knowing that soon I would be trapped with her for the duration of the car ride home.
”So what, you’re a boy now?”
I didn’t speak. I only thought to myself, yes, I do have a name. My name is Matthew. Dread weighed me down as we trekked the rest of the way to the car in icy silence. She was undoubtedly preparing her next blow, but I was too busy being devastated to give it much thought.
”Sara, you have a name, goddamn it”
Any remaining hope for graciousness and warmth lay shattered on the concrete behind me, and it became painfully obvious that despite all my efforts to stay hidden I had been exposed, and I was going to have to deal with it whether I was ready to or not.
”How could you do this to me?”
That was her final comment on the subject, which, although ruthless in its passive aggression, left me more indignant than upset.
Who did I have to blame? Who was there to be angry with? No one, not really. My life wasn’t splintered beyond repair. I wasn’t disowned, I wasn’t forced to live out on the streets. Most importantly, I no longer had to hide who I was in fear of being discovered. I wasn’t exactly accepted as the young man I am, however, I’ve learned that the most important part about being true to yourself is refusing to appease other people’s expectations of who you should become. I will not grow up to become a lady, I will become a man, as well as hundreds of other things. Being transgender isn’t the most important thing about me, but it is the biggest obstacle I’ve encountered as a young person trying to figure out who he’s going to be. It’s something that won’t be overcome without tears and heartache, but it’s something that will be overcome eventually, and I tackle it each and every day.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.