It began with the simplest and most innocent games played by children; House. The Child was adept at finding new acquaintances and would often spread their wings outside and play games with them. Now, most of the friends were rough and tumble boys, so they would never want to play the more feminine characters, such as: Mother, Sister etc.
The first time the Child put on a tutu and tiara to play princess, they knew something was different inside them. After years of Bible study, they also knew it was an abomination to be ‘different’. Therefore, they hid their pleasure of being picked for the feminine roles and feigned protest each time. But inside, they enjoyed the role deeply and it would continue to drive them through childhood.
One memorable moment for the Child was the day that the parents all walked in on them and their friends playing house. The child went pale. They were dressed in a sundress, straw sunhat, necklaces and pin-on earrings with fully adorned lipstick and eyeshadow. To their utter surprise, the crowd of adults laughed and took pictures. This further confused the Child on the topic but they will always remember the one day of acceptance from their childhood. The one day they felt like the perfect daughter.
To this day, the picture of that moment survives on a faded mug, somewhere deep in the cabinets of the Mother and Father. After that day, the Child was more forward with their friends and they soon discovered sexuality and intimacy. This knowledge, unguided by their parents, would lead the child into many situations in the coming years that could have otherwise been avoided. Neighbors, classmates and even a family member found themselves becoming intimate with the Child before the child even knew the consequences of sexual activity.
Shortly after the trip to Europe concluded and the family moved back to the United States, the Child found themselves meeting a much larger segment of the extended family. One of these members was the nephew of the Father, hentchforeth to be known as The Cousin. The Cousin was in his early thirties and was the youth pastor at a church in the state. He would often frequent the family’s dinner table and guest room.
The Child’s room was next door and the child could often hear the Cousin moving around at night. One night, the child giggled after hearing a noise from the Cousin’s room only to have it go deathly silent suddenly The child shut their eyes tight and pretended to be asleep. The Child’s door opened and closed but the child kept their eyes shut tight. A hand covered their mouth softly as the Cousin laid atop the child, proceeding to sexually gratify himself in the child.
The child squirmed and tried to cry out, only to be met with the smell of beer and the threat of death if a sound was made. Hot tears streamed down the child’s face as the Cousin continued until he shuddered and stopped. “That’ll teach you to be a little faggot sissy.” the Cousin said softly. He continued “If you say anything to anyone, nobody will believe you over me. I’ll kill you.” The child nodded, still sobbing. The cousin smirked and left the room. As soon as the child heard the sound of the cousin’s door closing they curled up in a ball and cried into their pillow until the morning air awoke them.
This happened numerous times over the next few years and the child never spoke a word of it to anyone until much later in life. The fear of reprisal for such accusations was too great for the child to overcome. Even after these hard to endure times, the child could not make themselves feel differently on the inside. Finally. After years of struggling with the feelings of duality inside themself, they reached out to their school counselor. The child was in sixth grade now.
It was 1997.