Saturday 15 October 2011

Trophy 5 - The Job Centre is never greener on the other side.

She wasn't always like this. My mother, who didn't want to know the baby's sex when she was expecting me, “because it doesn't matter. I'll love the child either way.” My mother, who had to tell her friends and parents the same thing after I was born. She didn't see my ambiguous genitals as a disorder and she didn't blame herself for enjoying almost every drug under the sun before she found out she was two months pregnant. No, to her, I was a miraculous gift from Mother Nature. A perfect, mythical being. A true hermaphrodite.

Of course, the doctor who did the delivery didn't quite see it that way. The diagnosis was a severe case of clitomegaly with a misplaced urethral opening. Which is why, according to my passport, I'm a woman. An hour after giving birth, with the blood still on her thighs, wearing nothing but my father's trench coat and a pair of slippers, my mother abducted her baby from the hospital. Because the doctor, sitting on the edge of the bed, had kindly suggested plastic surgery to remove superfluous tissue.

She never used to avoid the subject, though. She was proud of her decision and even told my teachers about it when I went to primary school, even though it was none of their business. I was a tomboy, but I wouldn't be the first girl with a bowl cut that liked to climb trees and play football. After mum told them, we received a letter from the headmaster that said it would be better for me and the other children if I were to be treated the same as the other girls.

I was seated next to Elaine because she was the most girlish girl of all, and our teacher hoped we would even each other out. For two and a half years, we did. We took our Barbies with us when breaking into scrap yards and put lipstick on before playing football. Until halfway third grade, when I was over at her place, and her mother walked in on me whilst I was in the bathroom and saw me wee like a boy. Natasha Johnson was infuriated that nobody had told her that her little princess was playing with a boy. She grabbed me by the collar, pushed me into her car and drove me home without saying a word. After that, she called our teacher to complain. The teacher tried to soothe her by saying that I was both a girl and a boy, which infuriated Elaine's mother even more.

“How dare you seat my daughter next to a freak!” she shouted. When my mother rang to ask why I'd come home crying, she replied that she was a bad mother because she hadn't opted for surgery.

The next day, I had to swap chairs with Diane, who used to sit alone in the back row, and Elaine ignored me during the break. When I tried to join other girls, they bluntly said they didn't play with boys, and when I asked the boys whether I could play football with them, they asked whether I was a boy or a girl.

“What does it matter?” I said.

“If you don't answer you can't play with us.”

“Why, are you too stupid to see for yourself what I am?”

“You're so stupid that you don't even know whether you're a boy or a girl!”

I stared at them and for the first time in my life I experienced that words wouldn't come. I didn't understand why this had suddenly become an issue and didn't know how to deal with the bullying. One afternoon after school, I greeted Elaine's mother who was waiting in the school yard. She gave me a look of contempt and said: “You need help.”

When I jumped off the roof of the school, half a year after the bullying had began, I shattered my left ankle, lost consciousness and woke up in hospital with a concussion. Because my mother feared doctors would want to perform female circumcision on me, I'd never been to a hospital before. They kept me for ten days, three of which I spent in the psychiatric ward. The other seven they supposedly took care of my injuries, but they also discovered that I wasn't just suffering from an interesting form of epispadias that made it possible for me to piss through the top of my massive clit. A MRI-scan showed that I had a fully formed womb with an ovary to the right and an undescended testicle to the left.

When I got home from the hospital, my mother asked me whether I wanted to be a boy or a girl. I said I was a boy. The next day, she asked me whether I would rather get married in a suit or a wedding gown. I said suit. The day after that, she asked me to choose between pig tails and a shaved head. I said 'shave it all off, I'm a boy.”

As far as I understood, I had lost my best friend because someone thought I was a boy. If I were to make new friends, I didn't want the same thing to happen, so I decided I would be better off being a boy all together.

To my mother, this was a relief because Natasha Johnson had warned her that I would grow up to be a bearded lady. This was when my mother learned to hide her thoughts and feelings, because she didn't want me to know how Natasha's remark had made her worry. She forgot to consider that I might develop voluptuous bosoms like herself. Life as boy would be rather odd with double DD.

Luckily, I take after my father's family, where the women are almost as flat chested as the men. All it takes to hide my cup A or B is an hour a day in the gym, two sports bras and a loose fitting suit or hoodie.


Go to the opening scene of Trophy.

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