A Hundred Gourds 3:4 September 2014

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Mac Greene – USA


The teenage girl sits in my office, purple Chuck Taylors, burnt orange skinny jeans with fleur de lys on the back pockets, a bloody zombie on her t-shirt, long straight hair barely washed or brushed, too much green eye-shadow, and that sullen coquettishness that keeps grown men off balance. But the intake says this is a 14 year old boy named Andrew. Marly (Andrew) found my name on the internet and persuaded her mother to bring her 75 miles from their small city in the heartland. Her father will not look at her, and barely talks to anyone anymore. His entire family, including Marly’s favorite grandparents, will not speak to her now that she has chosen Satan. Boys at school threaten to rape her, to see if she really is a girl, and she cannot use a rest room all day long.

My job is . . . to make this normal? I will guide her and her mother through the stages of transgender transformation; brainstorm with them about how to cope with family and community; put them in touch with other trans teens and their mothers. We will set up safety and suicide prevention plans.

I respond to their overpowering desperation with all my compassion and experience with teens and LGBT. I affirm them, and yes, make it normal.

What do I do with my feeling that I have stumbled down the rabbit hole into that nightmare carnival with the evil clown, where Vanessa is Vinny and every card is wild?

buzz in cicada land
from dirt she emerges
touches the sky

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