Devon, from A Little But Not Normal, by Lillie Franks

DEVON (trans woman) It’s about two things. Two big things, at any rate. The first is acceptance. You probably don’t know what it’s like to be accepted for the first time at the age of 23. You’ve basically been accepted all your life. And, in a way, so was I. At least, something was. What people saw. What I let people see. But that wasn’t me, no matter how much I tried to make it. It was what people wanted me to be. What I wanted to be for them, for a while at least. Then, 23 years later, for the first time, I learned about a new way to understand myself, a way that could finally let me look at people and say ‘‘This is who I am; this is me’’ and actually mean. And you can’t imagine how crushing it was to call up my parents on the phone, the two people that I had always been able to trust, who had always been there for me, to say ‘‘This is who I am; this is me’’, mean it for once in my life and hear ‘‘No it’s not.’’ That was part of it.

The second is harder. I know you wish it were something you had said or done. Sometimes I wish it were too. But it’s not. Not quite.


DEVON (trans woman) Imagine you walk into a room and it’s full of people. Every once and awhile, someone screams at you. And that’s unpleasant, and it’s unpleasant to wait for it, but also, constantly, everyone in the room is whispering over and over in a hundred different ways that you don’t belong. And if you point to any one of them it’s just a whisper, but with everyone whispering it turns into a roar. And every time you want to make yourself heard, you have to shout over the roar of not belonging. It wasn’t one thing. It was a thousand little things that added up. And I couldn’t tell you what any of them were because all of them were so small. But also, I couldn’t keep shouting. No matter how much I loved you, I couldn’t shout then. And I can’t shout now.

I’m not interested in trying to fix our relationship. I’m happy where I am. I’ve established myself and my place, and I don’t want to deal with my past anymore. You’re welcome to stay for however long you planned to visit. But once you leave, I’m not interested in seeing or hearing from you again.

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