Taryn (Excerpt from “Trapped” Chapter Two)

For the next six months, we had sessions with Dr. Anover, the psychologist.  We talked about everything—school, girls, boys, sports, cooking, clothes—everything.  I really did not understand the point of all the sessions.  I mean, Dr. Anover seemed pretty cool, but she wasn’t making a lot of sense to me.  For some reason, she just wanted me to be more lady-like and I didn’t.  Score one for the kid.  Finally, she told my dad that perhaps it was something that I would grow out of in a few years and there was nothing else she could do. She did caution him to not push me into being anything that I wasn’t and to just let things flow wherever they went. That was just fine with me since I planned to do just that.

            It took some doing, but I finally convinced my dad to let me choose my own clothes and to get my hair cut.  It was too long and it was always messy to keep it neat.  Getting my hair cut nearly broke his heart.  I mean, he actually cried.  Eventually, he got used to it and actually complimented me on how it looked.  He even stopped looking at me funny whenever I got dressed and we were going places. 

            Throughout the third through seventh grade, I endured the teasing from both the boys and the girls, but I didn’t let it stop me.  Sometimes, they were really cruel. They would say things like:  “Which bathroom are you using today?” 

“When do you think your voice will change?” 

“So, have you found a boyfriend, yet?”  or

“Who’s your latest girlfriend?”

“Are you going try out for the basketball team or the volleyball team?”

            No matter what they said, I ignored them and tried to live my life doing what I like to do.  And that worked until my body refused to cooperate.  I began to blossom into womanhood and I hated every minute of it.   I refused to wear the bras my dad bought and hated that I had to deal with a monthly cycle. 

            “Why would anyone want to go through this,” I’d think, while trying to determine how I could stop the madness.

            I began doing some research about gender issues and discovered that I was not alone.  I finally convinced my dad to take me to a group meeting where other kids were like me.  He didn’t like it, but he finally took me.

            At this meeting, there were boys and girls of all ages and ethnic groups sitting around in a circle.  One by one, we introduced ourselves and shared why we were there.  I was amazed to discover that so many people felt the way I did—they were trapped into bodies they did not want.   After listening to their stories, I felt empowered to share my thoughts without being afraid of ridicule and found a degree of comfort within that circle that day.