Dylan, from I Think I Like Girls, by Leigh Fondakowski

DYLAN. (trans man, trans masculine)

I. There’s this – Home-Ec teacher that I had. And we’re having to create these – you know, I wanted to be in Industrial Arts, you know, I wanted to be building things, you know, but instead, they’re trying to teach me to sew and cook, and – I’m just not interested. And so, one of projects were – we had to make these little initial pillows, you know. So, of course, I’m supposed to make a “D,” you know, for Daphne. (He giggles) But my Father, you know, is totally not around, and he’s supposed to be taking me to the store to get all my fabric, and my thread, and my, uh, thimble, or whatever it is that you need. And uh, (pause) my friends and very – you know there’s something about the suburbs, especially, I think in the Midwest. Just kids really kind of stuck together, you know. And you understood, just different problems in different homes. And so, you know, my friends, or even people that weren’t my friends, were – just giving me their scraps, like you know, “It’s cool, you know, don’t let it bother you that your Father’s not getting it, we’ll just give you this stuff – and it’s like fine.” But every single day this teacher would be like, “When are you going to get your stuff, when are you going to get your stuff?” And I’m like, “Listen, I’m not going to get my stuff. Look, I have all this stuff – so it’s going to be a patch work “D” – isn’t that more cool?” You know? But it wasn’t good enough for her. She just kept up – like she was just nagging me everyday.

II.

Finally, one day, I was like, “Forget this.” And I started like throwing my stuff across the room. Like, you know, I threw my thimble to the one girl, you know, who gave me the thimble, I threw my thread back to the one person – so I’m like whipping my stuff all over the place. Not in a – thoroughly violent sort of way – it was pretty casual. But, you know, I’m getting my point across anyway. And um, the teacher walks up to me and says you know, Are you ready to go to the principal’s office?” And uh, (he exhales – “phew.”) And I remember just looking at her, and I don’t – I don’t really know where the idea came from, but I slapped her SO hard across the face. And um, and just looked at her and said, “Now, I’m ready.” And then I walked out – without a pass, okay. It wasn’t like I – I wasn’t just this out of control person that, um, (pause) you know haphazardly would just like (pause) run around and, you know, like – do stuff to people, you know. It was always – I always felt like I only responded when people pushed me.

III.

I firmly believe that there are only two reasons that a child gets gets targeted for the system. It’s either they are responding very sanely to being sexually, physically, or emotionally abused. Or, they’re not acting appropriate for their gender. There’s really no other reason. And um, in both those situations, we make this huge mistake of blaming the child, you know. When they’re acting very sanely, you know, they’re having a totally appropriate reaction to being mistreated.

Context: Dylan used to be called Daphne. He reflects on the Home Ec class he was forced to take in middle school.

More information: https://newplayexchange.org/users/2967/leigh-fondakowski

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