Once, there was a boy that was not like other boys.
He realized this early on.
His parents dressed him strangely.
His relatives treated him oddly.
The other boys put him on probation, but he couldn't run as fast. After that, they ignored him for a few grades.
(After that, they realized he had all the answers)
He didn't like running. It never seemed to work right.
He tried talking to the girls instead.
After all, they were the ones he was 'supposed' to be talking to anyway, who knew why.
It didn't go very well, to say the least.
They asked him if he was a "PIG", and he always got it wrong.
They giggled in corners about things of which he'd never heard.
At least the boys talked about real things, like rocks and soccer balls.
Girls talked about people he didn't know.
He didn't have many friends.
Soon he learned why he was supposed to talk to girls;
why they dressed him funny,
why he couldn't run as fast.
He was a 'girl'.
Look down, they said. You'll see. Boys look like this. You don't.
He saw that they were right, but now he was confused.
How was he a girl? He was a boy.
Nobody seemed to accept this point, though, and so he tried to forget about it.
They were adults. They must be right.
Later, he got the wrong end of The Talk.
(He got the right end from his dad, later)
He diligently filled in diagrams of the wrong set of organs.
He suspected one month that he was bleeding to death.
Having read about this somewhere, though, he didn't say anything.
The book was right.
He was stuck with it.
He told his mom, who tried to initiate him into the mysteries of which temperature of water gets stains out.
He still can't remember.
He avoided the bra as long as possible.
Then he realized that they made those crazy things less obvious, and never took it off again.
He wore a floppy denim jacket like a second skin for three years.
These days, the boy has seen some changes in his life.
He has a special vest that keeps himself a better shape.
He has clothes that make more sense.
His hair, once the pride and joy of everyone else, now sits neatly at his ears.
He no longer worries about having to kiss another boy.
Now he can look people in the eye.
But not everything is better.
As he writes this, he has to stop and curl up in his chair as another wave of cramps racks his body.
He has a chronic condition called 'menstruation' that he hopes desperately he will get a cure for next year.
It's something he was born with, you see, along with the wrong shape of hips and everything else.
He's afraid that he'll have to pretend to be a girl in order to get work, and he's angry that it might be so.
He's angry that people have to be sensitive in order to understand what ought to have been obvious.
He might as well be a ghost, whom only a few people can see and hear properly.
He wonders sometimes how many countries he's illegal in.
He writes this, hoping that it will be an educational message,
Fearing that it's simply an outpouring of self-pity,
Hating that he's been trained to think it might be,
Trained to be so insecure.
He hopes that perhaps someone will see it on the front page,
And click on it,
And read it all the way through,
And mention it to their friends,
Who will mention it to their friends,
And that maybe, the hour he spent writing will go some little way
Towards making some young boy or girl's life a bit easier.
If it just sits in his files, loaded with hopeful keywords,
Maybe it will send a message, maybe it won't.
It's all up to you.