Birthday Blues ~ Part 9

Gerry’s eighteenth birthday celebration starts out on a decidedly sour note. A chance encounter changes that—and the course of his life. This is the story of that encounter and its repercussions.

Part Nine: Is that a Light Down that Fork?

Birthday Blues ~ Part 9

Mom is already home when Jenn and I come in Wednesday after school. I am surprised—she hardly EVER is home this early.

She hugs Jenn and smiles at me. She winks and says, “I like the eyes! Did you have them like that at school?”

I shrug, knowing that she is referring to the fact that Jenn had ‘ramped them up’ again today… Before today, she had only been having me wear mascara on the top lashes… Now, she has me doing long, curled lashes on top…and putting it on the bottoms, as well.

I say, “Yeah…never lose a bet with Jenn… Why are you home so early? Not that I am complaining!”

She laughs and says, “I am taking to you over to see Sherri Langdon. She needs to do your follow-up exam to make sure your hormones are doing OK. You also need to give her an answer about her other offer. Have you decided?”

I blow the air out of my lungs—forcefully. Then I sigh and say, “No, not really…”

Mom sighs, too, and says, “Well, you have about thirty minutes… Jenn, do you want to ride along? I am sure they wouldn’t mind if you hang around the spa…”

Jenn smiles and says, “That would be awesome! As luck would have it, we are all done with homework. But does Dee have time to change and do her makeup right?”

I give her a sour look, but Mom says, “Yes, but you need to hurry!”

Jenn pulls me to my room and sorts through the dresses in my closet. She looks at me and says, “You heard your Mom! Get with it! It won’t put itself on, you know!”

I sigh and sit down to put on my makeup. I can do it without much thought, now—especially, since I don’t have to pay as much attention to my eyes. Then I put on the dress that she hands me. It is a knee-length emerald-green dress that looks great with my red wig… I quickly put on the black, four-inch stilettos and hurry downstairs.

Mom is already tapping her foot, but smiles when she sees me. She says, “You look very nice, Dee. Now, let’s GO!”

Twenty minutes later, Mom and I are sitting in Sherri’s office. Sherri smiles and says, “OK, Dee. Lola is going to take some blood and then I need to have a talk with you. Since you are eighteen, I have to ask if you are OK with your Mom being here? I assume you are?”

I nod and say, “I don’t have any secrets… OUCH!” Lola sticks my arm and pulls the blood, then quickly leaves to run the lab work.

Sherri says, “So…I would also like to ask Dr. Gilson to come in. Is that OK with you?”

I sigh and ask, “Shrink?”

Sherri actually giggles and just nods.

I say, “I guess… If you think it is necessary…”

She just nods again and pushes a button. The door opens and a beautiful blond woman comes in and introduces herself as Joyce Gilson.

Sherri says, “Alright, Dee. I want to ask you a few questions. Joyce will have some of her own. Later, you will have one-on-one sessions with her, but it seemed easier to start out this way for today. OK?”

I nod.

Sherri then asks, “So, Hon. How are you doing? You seem to be taking things farther than you had initially indicated to me that you were thinking. Aside from the hormones…permanent makeup? I know I authorized it, but you volunteered for it—no one forced you. Now, I have to ask: Have you decided on the cosmetic enhancements?”

I look at them all looking at me and swallow. I say, “I don’t know. I am so confused about what I want. I…I…I…like how I look with makeup on… I feel…good! I am feeling more comfortable going out in girl’s clothing. I seem to be getting along well with Jenn’s clique—I feel like I am accepted by them. I…am just confused…”

Sherri asks, “But isn’t that what you wanted? To explore this all and see what it is like?”

I say, “Explore, yes… But, to be honest, I had no idea what to expect… And now I have a butterfly on my butt that I will have for a long time…and girly eyes… Eyes that I like…but that scares me. It is all so confusing…”

Dr. Gilson speaks up, “So, it bothers you that you like it?”

I shake my head and say, “No…I am just confused by it. I…really want to say yes to the enhancements to see what it would be like. But I am afraid I am losing myself…or worse, never really knew who I was… Am I being dumb letting these permanent changes happen to me?”

Sherri asks, “So, you want the enhancements? How far do you want to go? Maybe a nose-job, too?”

I start shaking and say, “I don’t know! I am just so confused… Yes, I want it—but I am afraid it is a mistake! That I will regret it… That I will want to go back to Gerry and won’t be able to…”

Sherri says, “It is OK, Dee. Look at me! Dee! Look at me!”

I slowly look up at her; tears in my eyes.

She says, “I know this is hard. We have to ask these questions, though. We have to understand where you are before we go any further. The eyeliner…it was a test. I wanted to understand your commitment. To know if you really are into this or are just somehow playing along with something. The ink that was used on YOUR eyes is a special invention of Bill’s. He uses it on a lot of celebrities for movies and things. It is much more permanent than the old stain they used to use for temporary tattoos, but unless it is given a special follow-up treatment, it will start to fade after about four to six months and completely fade away in about a month after it starts. If you REALLY decide you want to keep it, it is a simple and painless procedure to actually make it permanent. But…the butterfly; well, THAT is there to stay…”

Dr. Gilson speaks up, “Dee? I thought it was Deirdre. I like that as a nickname. The fact that you even HAVE a female nickname is pretty significant. I think that you are becoming intimately comfortable with your feminine side. I think that scares you because you weren’t expecting that. Am I right?”

I sniffle and nod.

She continues, “I need to talk lots more to you…later. Based on what I am hearing, though, I am convinced that you need to see this through. Whether it was your intent, or not, you have awakened something within you. If you don’t see it through, you will always wonder…hate yourself for not finding out. I will stay by your side and we will talk it all out. But, I think I actually agree that you should go through with the enhancements…play it all out.”

She takes a sip of water and continues, “The simple fact that you are willing to go through the pain of permanent makeup…or cosmetic surgery just to see what it is like to be a girl means something. Do you understand? Most people would not even consider anything like this if there was not a deep-seated desire to know what is on the other side of the looking glass. No one would do it for superficial reasons, unless they just enjoy pain and anguish. I don’t think that is you, though. Am I right?”

I am more confused than ever but I nod at her question. Then, I sit there thinking about what was said, not sure where to go with this.

Mom speaks up for the first time in the meeting, “Dee, you know that I am here for you—whatever you decide; in any aspect of this. You have a lot of people on your side—besides the three of us here, you have Vicki, Jenn, and your ‘posse’, as you call it. But that does bring up another point—if you go through with the enhancements—and it seems that even Dr. Gilson thinks you should seriously consider it at this point—you won’t be able to go to school as Gerry after break. It would be pretty odd for ‘Gerry’ to have breasts!”

I blanche at the thought. I say, “I can’t believe I didn’t even think about that! No…I can’t do that… It would be too embarrassing!”

Dr. Gilson gives me a strange look and asks, “Why? What are you worried about? You are already wearing girl’s clothes and makeup to school. You may be doing so in an androgynous manner, but you do know that people HAVE to have been taking notice, right? I talked to the school before I came in here to confirm that everything is in order with your file—you are registered with them as a transgendered student. While that diagnosis remains to be seen, it does open the door for you to do this.”

I sigh and say, “Yes, I assumed that people were noticing. I dread going in every day; terrified that someone will start to make a big deal out of it—start to make fun of me.”

Dr. Gilson asks, “Wouldn’t it be better to just rip the band aide off—go in as a girl and not have to worry about it? I am not saying it will be easy. Did you know that your school can get a special grant because of YOU? When you were registered, as the school’s only registered transgender student, the school became eligible for a special state pilot program. As far as the administration is concerned, they WANT you to ‘come out’—as a role model for others that are struggling with the same issues you are. They believe there are several transgendered students at the school that are afraid to let anyone know… You would have full protection from harassment and intimidation; well, as full as the school can give you. No body guards, or anything. But, you are already in the most popular group of girls at school—I promise you that is the best protection you can get.”

Sherri says, “Dee, Love. You are very special to my daughter—I have no doubt of that. Whatever the reasons you had to go through with this in the beginning,” she gives Mom a knowing look, “it is clear that those motivations are changing. I can promise you that Vicki will not hold anything against you—as long as you are honest with her and true to yourself. But you DO have to make a choice. I can give you until noon tomorrow, but then I either have to book you in, or you will lose this window—that doesn’t mean there won’t be other ones. You do need to keep in mind, though, that if you want a full experience within the three-month window of your hormones, this is really your only window…”

I sigh and nod. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Finally, I say, “Thank you, Sherri. You too, Dr. Gilson. Sherri, can you pencil me in—the full works? I will let you know for sure by noon tomorrow, but, at least for now…I think I want to…”

Sherri gives me a hug and says, “Consider it done. But, if I don’t hear otherwise from you by noon tomorrow, I will consider it a confirmation, OK?”

I nod and give them all a hug.

The next day at school, I am in a turmoil. I had not slept all night, worrying about my latest decision. So, I am really concerned when I get a message out of the blue to come to the principal’s office. Jenn gives me a questioning look and I shrug as I leave the classroom amidst a chorus of ‘Oooooos’…

I enter the administrative office and Mrs. Brown, the secretary, smiles and says, “Relax, Hon. You’re not in any trouble. Mr. Petrus is waiting for you, as is Nurse Simpson.

I timidly enter the office and see the principal and the nurse sitting in chairs around a conference table. Mr. Petrus says, “Come in, Gerry. We need to have a talk. Don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong.”

I nod and take the proffered seat. I ask, “What do we need to talk about, Mr. Petrus?” I look at Nurse Simpson, who smiles at me, and get a sinking feeling that I am not going to like this conversation, thinking back on what Dr. Gilson had said yesterday.

Mr. Petrus says, “Gerry, you know the status of transgenders in our state—ever since last year when we elected the first openly transgendered governor and her subsequent crusade to change our LGBT laws. Your status as transgendered has given this school special status; we are suddenly eligible for grant funds and a special pilot program—but only if you are open about it. What can we do to help you with that?”

I shake my head and say, “Dr. Gilson mentioned something about this yesterday. I know she has talked to you. I don’t know what she has said, but I am not sure I want to go through with everyone knowing the truth. They may suspect something, but, so far, no one has bothered me…”

Mr. Petrus says, “If you are worried about people bothering you, I don’t think that will be an issue. We will do our best to make sure that you aren’t. This state has become much more tolerant—not that there aren’t still idiots…”

Nurse Simpson, the school district’s head nurse, says, “Gerry, Hon, it is not good to keep this all bottled up. You are going to have to come out some time. Why not do it now, where you have a solid support group, and get it over with?”

I sigh and ask, “IF I agree to this, what would it mean exactly?”

Mr. Petrus smiles. I guess he figures he has already won. He says, “Well, you would have to be open about the fact that you are a girl. There would be some papers to sign; we already have affidavits from your doctors and the rest ready. And life would go on with you in your real gender role. Oh, and we would like for you to join the LGBT committee—they are actually looking for a new chair…”

I sit there and think about this. If I decide to go through with the enhancements, then it is not like I can be Gerry here anymore, anyway… Well, the original three months of hormones will be up before the end of school, so…technically, I could still graduate as ‘Gerry’…

I ask, “What if I change my mind…if it doesn’t work out? It is not like I can put the genie back in the bottle…”

Nurse Simpson says, “Based on my conversation with Dr. Gilson, I rather doubt you are going to change your mind. The choice is ultimately yours, Gerry—or should I say, Dee? It can be a true win-win IF you CHOOSE to do this. Like we said, we are here to help you through any rough patches. And, because of the grant money we will receive, we will pay for any associated administrative costs—they are insignificant compared to the overall good that this would do for the school.”

I look at her and ask, “Administrative costs?”

She smiles and says, “Well, your records will need to be officially changed…that has a cost associated with it. We will help you through the process. Once that process is underway, you will be treated no differently than any other girl here, because, in the eyes of the law in this state, you ARE one.”

I sit there, confused as to what to do again. Ultimately, I am at the point that I DO want to know what the FULL feeling is like. It is not something that I expected going into this. But what is being suggested here has an air of finality to it. ”Can I ever come out of this, if I go down this road,” I ask myself.

I sigh and say, “Well, I have semi-committed to some procedures while on break and the two seem to go hand-in-hand, so I guess it makes sense to go through with both. I just hope that I am not making a mistake and will regret this. When were you thinking I would start? Oh, I also need to send a quick email to my doctor…”

I stand uncomfortably on the auditorium stage with Mr. Petrus and Nurse Simpson.

It is a little over an hour after my ‘decision’ and I have signed several pieces of paper that they already had ready. I had to decide on the full name that I wanted to go onto my records, It was, however, not until I was ready to sign, that I realized that with the next signature, I would formally be requesting a legal name change to ‘Deirdre Brianne McIntosh’. Along with that, was the legal request to have my gender officially changed on my legal records to ‘female’. With the new laws in the state, this is a really simple process…

I had signed the papers, with a shaky hand, and Mrs. Brown had notarized and scanned them in and electronically submitted them to the appropriate state office, along with the affidavits from Sherri and Dr. Gilson and the associated fees. Twenty minutes later, it was all confirmed and Mrs. Brown had printed out my new official documents.

Now, still unsure of what I have just done, I look out into the auditorium as the whole school is filing in. Mr. Petrus had called an impromptu assembly—and I am the center of attention. A very uncomfortable center of attention.

After everyone is seated, Mr. Petrus calls for quiet and says, “I know you are wondering what this is all about and I am sure that everyone is totally bummed about missing class.”

There is a general din of laughter. He waits a minute and continues, “I have something serious that I want to talk to everyone about.” He looks over at me and says, “I know some of you know Gerry—and some of you don’t. After this meeting, you all will and I want you to be fully supportive of Gerry’s decision and bravery. As of about thirty minutes ago, Gerry ceased to exist. In his place, you have in front of you, Deirdre, or Dee to her friends. Dee is our first officially registered transgendered student. She is to be treated no differently than any other girl here. I hope I am clear about that!”

I feel faint as he ‘outs’ me in front of the whole school. I know I had agreed to this, but it is still a huge step and I have no idea how it is going to turn out. I have to grin, however, when Jenn raise her hand and Mr. Petrus calls on her.

She stands and says, “I am sorry Principal Petrus, but she is different than most girls here. She is a part of the popular girls!” There is a lot of giggling from the other ‘popular’ senior girls, Samantha, Michelle, and Gwen, who already know about me, anyway. The message is clear to the others in the auditorium, though, ”Don’t mess with her!”

Mr. Petrus smiles and says, “Well, that is not a distinction that I am willing to make, but good for her.”

I blush and the assembly quickly comes to end after Mr. Petrus lays out that I will be using the girl’s restroom from now on, like any other girl. I will also be using the girl’s locker room, if I am part of any activities that require the use of a locker room (which I have NO intention of doing).

I leave the auditorium and Jenn, Samantha, Michelle, and Gwen all hurry and give me a huge girly group-hug. Michelle says, “We had NO idea that was going to happen, Dee! This is so awesome! But, girl, you need some serious makeup, now!”

With that, I am pulled into the nearest girl’s restroom and Jenn sets about ‘fixing’ my face. While this is not my first time in a girl’s restroom; it is at school—and the first time that others know. I am expecting other girls that come and go while Jenn is working on me to openly harass me. But, at least for the moment, all I get are congratulations and welcomes to the ‘superior sex’…

Ten minutes later, my face now fully made-up, we all walk to our next class together. I do get some strange looks, both from some girls and from more boys. I think the girls are mostly jealous of the fact that I am included in this particular group—that does not make me popular, but it does provide me certain advantages. The boys, well, I can only imagine what they are thinking…I likely would have been thinking the same thing as little as a month ago…

Michelle and Gwen split off to go to a different class. Jenn, Samantha, and I go to our classroom and I take a seat, clearly flanked by the two. It is right before the bell rings, so there is not really any time for talk before class, but Mrs. Pullet, our teacher for this class, opens the class up for questions and discussion. Mr. Petrus had warned me this would be the case over the next couple of days, until I have made it through all of my classes…

The class is about half and half, girls and boys. The only questions this period come from girls, though. The boys seem too embarrassed, or disgusted, to ask any. The girls’ questions range from ‘why?’ to ‘do I have a boyfriend?’. And it is a basic repeat of this in all of my classes for the rest of the day—although, by the end of the day, there is an occasional question from a boy, or two. Mostly, something along the lines of ‘do I plan on having it all cut off?’.

By the end of the day, I am drained. When Jenn drives me home, I sit there quietly. Thankfully, Jenn just lets me decompress without plying me with unanswered questions. When we get home, I am surprised to see Mom is there.

She hugs Jenn and asks, “Jenn, Hon, do you mind if I have a little alone time with my…daughter?”

Jenn smiles and says, “Not at all! I will see you in the morning, Dee!” She gives me a big hug and quickly leaves me alone with my mother.

Mom smiles and hugs me. She says, “I hear you had an eventful day.” I give her a questioning look and she takes me into the kitchen to make some tea. As the water is boiling, she says, “My contacts at school called to congratulate me on your courage. Have you been planning this? I know that Dr. Gilson talked about it, but…”

The pressures of the day come crashing down on me and I break down in tears. Mom just comes over and hugs me and holds me for quite some time. When I have myself under control, I finally say, “No, I didn’t plan this—any of it! Not being labeled ‘transgendered’, not ‘coming out’ at school, ‘not changing my name or gender’… All I wanted was a girlfriend…and now I am a freak!”

Mom squeezes both of my arms hard and pushes me far enough away that she can look in my eyes, “You are NOT a freak, young lady! I don’t want to hear that EVER again! Now, you made these choices—no one but you. While you may be questioning yourself, which is a GOOD thing, by the way, there are two very bright doctors that are supporting those decisions—so, there has to be something to this whole…journey…that even YOU did not know of.”

She lets go of me and gets up to make the tea. When she comes back to the table, she continues, “Nothing you have done can’t be reversed, including the name and gender change on your official record. Well, the only thing that can’t be changed is that you have admitted to the whole school that you are a girl… You will probably just need to maintain that ‘status’ at least until you graduate, now.”

She pours the tea and says, “I still don’t know what drove you to do any of this. I can’t believe you were shallow enough to do it JUST to get a girlfriend. Neither do your doctors—and, yes, both of them know. Don’t look at me that way. I didn’t tell them—they asked ME and I would not lie to them…”

She takes a sip of the steaming, bitter liquid in her cup and finishes, “So, now, tell me, Hon. Do you really hate all of this? Do you want to call it quits? If you continue, it HAS to be for the RIGHT reasons. YOU have to know it is for the right reasons. It is OK to admit that you like being a girl, or even that you are just genuinely curious. It is NOT OK to keep this up with the only reason being that you think it is what Vicki wants in order to be your girlfriend…”

I sit there visibly deflated. The ‘young lady’ really hit home—it sinks further in that that is what I officially am now… I look at Mom and sigh. For the first time, I really am introspective and look at my own motives. I sit quietly while Mom sips her tea and mine gets cold. I sit and think—hard.

Finally, I look at her again…somewhat at peace for the first time since I let Sherri give me the hormones and say, “I don’t know what the actual trigger was, Mom. Yes, probably the fact that Vicki liked me…and more so when I expressed my ‘feminine’ side—or, at least, that is what it seemed like to me. But, I think that was just what got me over the hump… I have long wondered what it would be like to be a girl. I can’t say I have dreamed of being one, but I have always identified with them, somehow… I have always been scared of what that means, though. I was afraid it meant I was some sort of freak. Then I fell into this whole…thing. The last couple of weeks have scared the death out of me; but they have also been some of the most amazing days I have ever experienced. I feel more…at peace…with myself as Dee. I just can’t say why that is…”

Mom smiles and says, “That is what Dr. Gilson is here to help explain…”

At that moment, Vicki steps into the kitchen and smiles at me. My heart jumps, then falls to the pit of my stomach—she had heard it all!

She says, “And I will help with the rest, as will our mothers and all of your friends. Thank goodness you are not doing this just because of me. I would never have forgiven myself. I love you and support you with all my heart. But, if you EVER again even THINK of doing something as stupid as what you have over the past couple weeks—only to please me and keep me as your girlfriend—then we are done! OK?”

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