[[Back.|epic fantasy online]]nnYou’ve known [[her|leslie]] for a handful of months, but it’s only now that you’re seeing each other in person for the first time. You’ve never met anyone quite like her before. Clever. Witty. Unconcerned with appearances. Interested in you.nnShe makes crass jokes about space marines. She tells you stories of her life, her parents, her friends. You’re not entirely sure what’s safe to tell her about yourself, so you don’t really say much at all. She’s more than happy to keep talking.nnWhen it’s time to leave, you feel like maybe you should hug her, but you can’t. So you shake her hand instead.nnYou drive back home and never really talk to her again after that.nn[[Forward.|dress]]
[[Back.|tights]]nn"Is it a boy or a girl?" your brother asks loudly, pointing at the offending human in question.nnShe — you think she’s a she, anyway — looks like a woman, but not like any woman you’ve ever seen before. She’s wearing a shirt and a tie, like your dad does, and her hair is almost a buzz cut.nnYour [[mom|he]] shushes your brother while at the same giving a disapproving tsk to the woman. "She really needs to take better care of her appearance," she mutters under her breath. The woman doesn’t seem to notice.nnYou’re confused. You happen to think her appearance is just fine, actually.nn[[Forward.|draw]]
<<display "ninja turtles">>
[[Back.|message board]]nnShe’s probably the gayest person in your entire school and isn’t afraid to show it.nnShe’s also the only person in your entire school who treats you like a human being. Someone you actually feel like you can talk to. Someone who knows that the world isn’t sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, because she’s been there. She’s seen it all.nnYour parents hate that you hang around [[her|crumpet]] so much. They keep asking you why you can’t "spend more time with your normal friends". In those exact words.nnWhat the hell is normal, anyway?nn[[Forward.|top hat]]
[[Back.|crumpet]]nnLooking into her full-length bedroom mirror, gaping at the beautiful red dress you have on… it’s hard to believe, but for the first time in recent memory, you actually like looking at your reflection.nnShe grins. "Yep. You’ve got way better legs than I do."nnAll things considered, it’s a better response than you were hoping for when you asked if she’d let you try it on. But the fact of the matter is, she’s only okay with it because she thinks you’re a man in [[drag|top hat]], when in reality, it’s way more complicated…nnYou figure you’d better take off that dress off before it stretches too much and she can’t wear it anymore.nn[[Forward.|music]]
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[[Back.|leslie]]nnPutting the top hat on your head, you strike a showy pose complete with jazz hands.nn"Oh wow," he gawks in response. "That’s hot."nnYou’re glad he thinks so — for once, you agree with him. It’s a nice change of pace from him not-so-subtlely hinting that he’d like to see you wearing lacy lingerie one day. You’re not a lace-wearing person. You prefer to dress for comfort, blending in, not standing out.nnExcept maybe if you got to wear this top hat. You picture the whole ensemble — a tuxedo, with tails. A bowtie. Wingtip shoes. A cane to twirl around. Would he still find you hot in that outfit? Probably. But he’d think you were in [[drag|dress]], when really, that’s not quite what it is…nnYou put the hat back on the rack where it belongs. It’s way more expensive than you can afford.nn[[Forward.|comics]]
[[Back.|dress]]nnYou feel most like [[yourself|comics]] when you’re making music on the computer.nnWhen you’re surrounded by nothing but sound, you can at least forget that you have a body. A clumsy, awkward body with hair and bumps in all sorts of weird places.nnAnd being able to use a computer to make music means you don’t have to worry about where to put your hands, or the fact that your voice is so grating and squawkish. Now, you have so many beautiful sounds at your disposal.nnNow, maybe they can finally know who you really are, instead of having to make assumptions. Not that you’re even close to knowing who exactly it is you really are. But you feel closer to knowing than you did before, so that’s something.
Two boys playing outside on the monkey bars, pretending to be Leonardo and Michelangelo. Ninja turtles. You played this game all the time with your little brother and the other kids in your old neighbourhood.nnApproaching the rambunctious duo, you ask if you can be Donatello. He’s your favourite, because he’s [[purple|mash]] and fights with a big long stick.nn"You’re not playing. You’re a girl."nn[[Forward.|tights]]
[[Back.|mash]]nnStanding in a row up on the makeshift stage in your school’s gym, next to your classmates, all you can think about is the knot on your neck, almost strangling you.nnIt was in the dress code: all the boys have to wear a white shirt, black pants, black shoes, and a tie. The girls look so much more [[comfortable|tights]] and free in their long, flowing skirts.nnAfter longer-than-usual minutes of fidgeting, you decide you can’t take it anymore. You pull the tie off your neck, stuff it into your pocket, and undo the top two buttons on your shirt. It isn’t until after the concert is over that your teacher scolds you for it.nn[[Forward.|he]]
[[Back.|it]]nn"That doesn’t look like a woman," remarks your art teacher, upon seeing your assignment, a cartoon drawing of a superhero you invented named Hyper Woman.nnYou don’t see how she can’t be a woman. She has short hair, but women can have short hair; everyone knows that. She isn’t wearing lipstick, but superheroes don’t have time for lipstick. She doesn’t have big boobs and a big butt, but neither do lots of women.nnStill, at that moment, you completely [[lose|sing]] interest in the comic book you wanted to make starring Hyper Woman. You decide it would be way too much work.nn[[Forward.|message board]]
[[Back.|draw]]nnYou find a message board on the internet about comics. At first, you ask some questions about drawing, but soon, you start hanging out and talking about all sorts of other things, like you would with friends at school if they liked Douglas Adams and Monty Python instead of trashy sitcoms featuring the latest teen heartthrobs.nnThey all think you’re a guy like them, because your username is Fiddlesticks and it’s not overtly girly-sounding. This, you find out when someone called Jessica87 shows up and suddenly the other dudes act like they’ve never seen a [[girl|epic fantasy online]] on the internet before.nnYou never do wind up telling them that you’re not a guy, either.nn[[Forward.|leslie]]
[[Back.|he]]nnYou hate your voice.nnYou can’t sing any of the soprano parts you were nailing perfectly before, and yet, you can’t quite hit the notes in the lower parts your choir teacher’s trying to give you to sing instead.nnIt doesn’t help that there are no other boys in choir — there was that other kid, Liam, who was there at the beginning, but quit. It’s not fair. Why don’t the girls ever have to [[lose|draw]] their voices?nnIt’s not very long before you also quit in frustration.nn[[Forward.|epic fantasy online]]
[[Back.|tie]]nn"Who does he think he’s kidding?" your [[mom|it]] rants at the TV. It’s showing some kind of news story about a person who used to be a man but is now a woman.nnShe’s tall for a woman, though, and has a really low voice.nnMom starts talking about how only women who were born women can be real women, throwing in all sorts of big words you don’t understand. After a while, you tune her out, as you do whenever she gets like this.nn[[Forward.|sing]]
[[Back.|top hat]]nnYou never thought you’d be the kind of person who spends most of their time making art — you’ve always loved to draw and write, but you’ve also always been surrounded by people who can draw and write better than you — but somehow, it seems like that’s what you’re spending the bulk of your early adult life doing.nnYour most well-known work is a webcomic about single-celled organisms. You feel like an oddly-shaped blob [[yourself|music]], so it’s fitting. And sure, some people think the art looks amateurish, but other people say it’s got character and personality. So you try your best to hold on to that.nnYou don’t have any of the answers yet. Your life is only just starting. But you feel like maybe you’re on your way to somewhere interesting.
[[Back.|ninja turtles]]nnYou hate having to wear a dress, but tonight, you’re going to church for midnight mass, so you have to. And now, you are.nnEverything itches, your feet are sore, and your tights are riding up more than you remember them doing. Your brother looks way more [[comfortable|tie]]; he gets to wear pants.nnAs you stand up again for the hundredth time, you feel something rip. Looks like the tights you put on were too small. You hope no one notices that there’s a big gaping hole in them now.nn[[Forward.|it]]
"Okay, you’re going to live in a shack, with 10 kids, and you’re going to be married to Evan."nn"EWW!"nnThey’re hunched over a piece of paper, doodling over it with [[purple|ninja turtles]] and pink markers, whispering and giggling like they’re in some kind of secret club.nn"What do you think you doing? Go away. No. Boys. Allowed."nn[[Forward.|tie]]
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by Deirdra Kiai
[[Back.|sing]]nnYou only just made a new character — a female elven priestess named Coruhel — and already, the other players are so much nicer. Instead of cussing at you and calling you names, they’re being friendly and offering you gifts.nnYou know it’s because they think you’re a hot [[girl|message board]], like your avatar, and that bothers you a little bit, but at the same time, it doesn’t. It’s actually kind of cool to know what it’s like to have people look at you and think you’re beautiful. Especially because you know you’ll never look like that in real life.nnYou never do go back to playing as the male character you originally created when you first started playing this game.nn[[Forward.|crumpet]]