Puberty was not kind to my voice. Instead of growing deeper like all the other boys, I sounded like Steve Urkel, which made everything I said hilarious to my classmates. Someone would ask me for the time, and then laugh as I squeaked out “11:30.” I told them to stop, but that only made them laugh more, so I decided the best way to survive high school was to stay silent.
There was one problem: my silence wasn’t protecting me. Every day the other kids would laugh and yell “faggot” because they somehow knew I was queer and trans before I did. They saw my sashaying hips and limp wrist and appointed me the official school punching bag. I wore baggy clothes to hide the scars on my arm; bright red screams that expressed what I was too afraid to say. I didn’t have the language to express my worth and dignity as a human. The B in LGBT was just a footnote back then, and the T was only for people who wanted surgery, so I didn’t feel like I was queer or trans enough to come out.
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