A look into the early lives of transgender girls, when they are still attempting to live as boys. This book combines many of my own experiences with the experiences of other transgender girls, as well as gays. This book is really directed to parents and teachers of transgender children, helping them to see the signs and the thinking that transgender children experience when exposed to hate and opposition. Warning, this book does describe violence and suicide, and may not be suitable for younger children.
Rex is a little boy who is nothing like the other boys. Even his parents can see that he doesn't act like a boy. They also notice that he makes friends with girls quite easily. He treats his stuffed animals like dolls, and doesn't seem as interested in guns, rough-housing, or even playing with other boys. Furthermore, he keeps insisting he is a girl! Even when his parents try to explain the physical differences, Rex insists "I'm a girl on the INSIDE!"
After several beatings at the hands of all of the boys in his class, Rex is caught dressed in his mother's clothes. He begs "Please let me be like the other girls so I can play with them again.". However his mother discovers the horrible treatment that is used to treat transsexual boys in 1960 and tells him "You can't tell anyone or something really horrible will happen"
As Rex is assaulted regularly, he finds solace in non-fiction books and is soon reading far above his grade-level. Her superior intellect results in an extraordinary education, but her thrice-daily beatings by gangs of boys result in some pretty severe PTSD and hospitalizations.
Rex finds some extraordinary solutions as she begins to deal with puberty, but as she sees her body turning into a "hairy roaring beast, she begins to seriously consider that the only way she may be like other girls is reincarnation, which leads to a series of secret suicide attempts, alcohol and drug induced black-outs, and other high risk behaviors.
She eventually finds some special friends who give her the support she needs, and finds creative ways to become one of the girls, including going to a girl's college and moving into a convent.
New Student - Loving School
Rex and his mother, Lois, arrived at school early enough so that Rex had time to meet the teacher, see the toys, and realize that it was very much like Sunday School. A few minutes later, another boy came into the class and as his mother started to leave, he started crying. Rex figured the boy needed a friend. If the boy would play nice, maybe Rex could help the boy feel more at home.
Rex went over to the crying boy and asked; “What's your name?
The boy cried as he said “George”. George wasn't crying as long or as loud.
Rex said; “There are all kinds of fun toys to play with, would you like to play with me?”
Rex looked over at the little kitchen set on one side of the room, but George stopped crying and went over to a nice little red truck. Rex went over to the George, and started to play with the boy, picking out a pretty pale blue car. The two played nicely as more boys and girls stated coming in.
Rex noticed a little girl standing by herself. She was wearing pig-tails and a pink jumper with pretty little bows in her hair, but she looked a bit sad. Rex decided that maybe he could be her friend too.
He asked her “I'm Rex, What's your name?”
She said “I'm Holly”.
Rex smiled and said “That's' a pretty name for a pretty girl”, and Holly started to giggle.
Holly asked Rex “Would you like to play with me?”. Rex smiled a big smile and nodded.
Holly went over to the kitchen and Rex followed. They began to pretend they were cooking, and made a pretend dinner. Then Holly saw some cute little baby dolls, and picked one up. Rex picked up another doll, and began to hold it very gently, and started singing a lullaby. He started singing “Hush little baby, don't say word”. He sang softly, like did when he held his baby brother. Rex liked taking care of Walt, especially when he was a baby.
Rex thought back to that first week after Walt came home, and remembered how he pouted when mom started saying “Happy Walter's day”. Suddenly Rex started to even whimper a little. His mom asked “What's wrong honey?”.
Rex said “It's not fair he just came home and now it's Walter's day again!”.
Both his mom and dad started laughing and daddy said “We weren't saying happy Walter's day, we were saying “Happy Father's Day”.
Rex smiled and lifted up his shirt. His mother said; “what are you doing?”.
Rex said; “I want Walt to eat me too!”.
Rex didn't understand why his parents were laughing so hard, but smiled because they did.
Mom said, “You can't feed him right now, but you can hold him, would you like that?”
Rex gave a big smile, nodded and said “Yes Please!”.
He climbed into bed between his mother and father and they gently put the baby into his arms, showing him how to support the little head. Rex began caressing his cute little hand and feet, and started singing a lullaby he had learned from his parents. Soon Walt seemed to be smiling. He remembered feeding Walt a bottle, and even helping his mother change his diapers. Rex always seemed so gentle, so patient, and so nurturing. More like the other girls than the boys.
The teacher had everyone sit in a circle, and asked each of her students to give their name and say something about themselves. She wrote their names on little cards folded them so that it looked like a little tent. She then asked the kids to make letters like the ones on the tags. Rex had been learning letters from his older friend Meg, and was able to write is name the first time.
To Rex, this was very much like Sunday School or bible camp. Rex loved going to church, he had several friends at the church, some went all the way back to the nursery when they even shared a crib. At church, the teacher would read them bible stories and they would answer questions, they would sing songs like “Jesus Loves Me”, and they would memorize Bible verses.
Rex's grandfather, Woody, liked to read the bible too. Rex would sit on Woody's lap, sometimes for an hour or more, while grandpa read stories about Daniel in the Lion's den, or Shadrack, Mishack, and Abednego in the hot fiery furnace. Rex loved to hear the stories of faith and courage, and often wondered if he would ever have to show his faith like that for God. Rex also liked to hear stories about Jesus healing people, or the parables. Grandpa would tell Rex about how God had healed Lois of Polio, how she had been in an iron lung and then in braces, and finally how they operated on her feet so she could walk without braces. Lois even told Rex how she learned to ride a bicycle and roller skate, after the doctor told her and her parents that Lois would never walk again and would be dead in a few months. Evidence of the miracle was the huge grapefruit sized ankle on her right foot. This because the nurse refused to elevate her ankle after the operation and it ended up swelling and bruising. Eventually, the bruising went away, but the ankle would be swollen for the rest of her life.
After the short lesson, the teacher let the kids play a little more. George asked Rex to play with him again, and Rex went over. They started playing with the truck and car again, when another boy came over and took the car away from Rex. Rex saw that there were other cars to play with so he started playing with another one. The boy took that car too. Several times, Rex would pick up a toy, and the other boy would take it from him.
Rex finally said “you have to share”.
The boy said, “no I don't” and pushed Rex over.
Rex had been sitting with his legs crossed and went over backwards. Rex stood up and started to move, but soon several of the boys started pushing him around. Eventually, Rex found himself in the corner of the room, surrounded by boys who seemed to want to push him out of existence entirely. The teacher watched, doing nothing until one of the boys started hitting Rex, then another. At that point, the teacher stepped in and told the boys to sit down. Rex asked if he could play with the girls, and the teacher gave a worried look and nodded.
The rest of the day went without incident and after lessons in counting and shapes, the class started to leave. Rex's mother arrived to pick him up, and the teacher went over to a quiet spot where no one would hear. She asked his mother if there was a reason Rex played so well with the girls.
His mother said “Rex has been playing with girls since he was about 2, the boys down the street played too rough and kept taking his toys, so I was actually glad when he made friends with the little girl next door”.
The teacher nodded and said “that explains a lot, Rex is so nice that the other boys seem to take advantage. He doesn't seem to posture like the other boys do. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't going to be a problem if he played with the girls.”.
Lois nodded and smiled. “No, not a problem at all. He'll probably be much happier, and much safer as well. He mostly plays with girls.
Rex loved school, he learned quickly and liked to help the other students learn too. He was so nice and a bit quiet. There were times when Rex would have asthma attacks and would have to take medicine, but he didn't want to go home. All year long, Rex seemed to prefer playing with the girls. The boys just decided that Rex was nice, and stopped trying to push him around and take his things.
Even in first grade, as the lessons got harder and longer, Rex seemed to love to learn. He would eagerly read aloud when it was his turn and rarely made mistakes. Sometimes he would even start reading ahead to see how the story would go. Unlike most of the boys, Rex didn't usually laugh when someone made a mistake. Instead, he tried to smile a friendly smile, to help the reader get over their fear.
One day his friend Holly came to school wearing a pair of shiny black tights. Rex sat next to her in reading, and said to Holly “Those tights are really pretty and shiny, do they feel nice?” Holly nodded and grabbed Rex's hand and put it on her leg so he could feel them. It was like his satin comforter that his grandmother made for him. The teacher said “Let's get back to the lesson Rex, can you read next?” and life went on as normal.
One day, during recess, Rex's friend Veronica showed Rex how to swing up and climb into the hub of the rings. It seemed very high, but they loved being up there and with each other. Sometimes, if the boys had been mean, Rex and Veronica would pull up all the rings. That was usually when the teacher would step in to discourage such behavior.
That winter, the boys played king of the hill on a high snow drift, but each time Rex tried to climb, the other boys would push him down with their feet. He did make it to the top, for a few seconds, before someone knocked him down. Still, Rex had fun and giggled as he watched other boys being pushed down. One of his friends from church, Allen, was in second grade and even though he was only a month older than Rex, got the respect of being a year “older”. Sometimes Alan would protect Rex from the rougher boys
Rex was having health problems, and he had to be hospitalized 3 times that year, once right after Thanksgiving and once after Christmas. Each time he went to the hospital, they would try to stick an IV needle in his arm, but the veins would roll, and they would have to try again, the first time they had to stick him almost 30 times. They finally put it into his foot and taped the foot to a board. It was incredibly painful, and Rex found it very hard to sleep.
Rex couldn't figure out why they were hurting him so badly. He must have done something terribly wrong, because this hurt MUCH worse than a spanking. He kept saying “I'll be good, please don't hurt me again. Since his mom and dad seemed as upset as he was, Rex decided that maybe God was punishing him for something. It must have been really horribly bad, because there was so much pain he just wanted to die right then and there.
Lois realized that Rex had gotten very bored in the hospital, so she taught him hot to crochet, and gave him some yarn. Rex started by making a pot holder, then a hat, and gradually large and larger items. She also found games for him to play. For the first week in the hospital, Rex would be in an oxygen tent, with no television, no radio, and nothing that could cause sparks or fire. In addition, the medications included drugs that would keep him wide awake most of the day and night. Often Rex would only get 2-3 hours of fitful sleep and even then usually only in short spurts. The biggest challenge was fighting the boredom.
Tom brought some books about science. He bought books on chemistry, and brought in magazines like popular science and popular mechanics. They were far above Rex's reading level, but Rex quickly found that with all the time on his hands, that he could not only read the stories, but understood many of the stories and articles as well.
During the second hospitalization, the doctor pulled Rex's parents aside. He said “we found mold in his nasal passages and his tonsils need to come out”. Tom said “Are you saying we need to move?” and the Doctor told him “Yes, you should move as soon as possible, otherwise the asthma might even get worse. Here is a list of things to look for to help you find a safe home.”. Rex's parents had been thinking about moving for a while, but now they didn't have a choice, they HAD to move in order for Rex to be healthy.
At the end of March, Rex went to the hospital for the tonsillectomy, and his parents moved to the new house. In the hospital, one of the nurses taught him how to relax his butt or arm so the shots wouldn't hurt as much. One of the more interesting parts was when the Rex woke up on the operating table, as the doctor was putting in some stitches. The doctor shouted “He's awake, put him out quick!. Rex had several nightmares about being in a swimming pool with a bunch of sharks. The recovery was OK, because he got to eat lots of ice cream. He couldn't swallow anything else. The ice cream helped his sore throat feel better too.
Moving and Changes – New School, new girl friends.
Rex started at the new school the Monday after he got out of the hospital. He really seemed to enjoy new teacher who was related to Wild Bill Cody. When he was asked to read, Rex did so with no difficulty. He also knew his numbers and could write short sentences. He'd even done fairly well with math, but that was a bit harder. At recess, the boys started going down the slide and a bunch of the girls were waiting at the bottom to kiss them. Most of the boys would go “Oh Yuck, Kooties”. When it was Rex's turn, the girls started kissing him and he just laid there and let them kiss him. When he got up he said, “That was fun!”. Then one of the girls asked Rex if he would like to play jump rope. Rex liked to play jump rope with the girls at his old school, and they used two ropes. These girls only used one. Rex was able to skip for about 20 turns, and missed so that someone else could take a turn. He held the rope so that the other girls could take their turns. There were new rhymes, but Rex knew he would learn them quickly.
The teacher watched with great curiosity. Rex not only didn't mind playing with girls, he actually LIKED playing with them. At the end of the day, Lois picked him up and the teacher learned about how Rex didn't like playing with boys because they were too rough, and liked playing with girls. At that point, there didn't seem to be a problem.
A few days later, Rex rode the school bus to school and back home. One of the girls that got off at his stop asked; “Rex, would like to play Barbie's with us?”. Rex thought they said babys and said “Yes, that sounds like a lot of fun.” He went with the girls to Cathy's house, where she had several Barbie dolls. She gave Rex one of the dolls and they put different outfits on the dolls and then switch outfits. The Barbie dolls weren't like baby dolls. They were pretty. The looked like grown up ladies, and the clothes were really pretty too.
Rex played with several of the girls after school, and before long he was good friends with all of them. One day, one of the girls, said “Hey, why don't we trade clothes?”. Karen, one of the other girls said “What about Rex?”. Cathy said “I have a pretty dress that Rex can wear. It will be his official entry into the “Girls Club”. Karen was curious about boys clothes, so she tried on Rex's jeans and immediately frowned. She said “How can you wear these, it's like wearing sandpaper, and they look terrible”. She tried on the flannel shirt, and almost immediately started to itch.
Cathy helped Rex into the dress, and immediately Rex began to smile. The girls said “Rex, you look so pretty. Too bad your hair's so short or you'd be a girl!”. Cathy said “you should wear panties too. And told him to go into the bathroom and change underwear. When he came out, she was holding a pair of white tights. She said “Sit on the bed and I'll help you put them on. Rex had watched her mother put on stockings. As Cathy gathered up one leg and slowly pulled it up Rex's leg just past his knee, Rex said “let me try the other leg” He pulled up the other leg, and after a few adjustments, they were all the way up.
Rex had an almost blissful smile on his face. It was like the goose-bumps he got when his mother would caress his back, or hold him gently. There was a calm, like when he was being held by his parents or grandparents, or when he was helping someone.. Everything just felt right, and the girls were making him feel even more comfortable by telling him how pretty he was, how much they liked their new friend as a girl. Rex felt at home, loved, and happy. Since Karen was wearing Rex's clothes, Rex had to stay in Cathy's dress. Before long, Rex was more comfortable in the dress than he had ever been in his boy clothes.
The girls, including Rex continued to play together. They played Jacks and go fish, and played Barbie together. When Cathy's mother came home, Cathy couldn't wait to introduce her new friend. She said “Mom, come and see Rexy, she's so pretty!.
When Cathy's mom, Muriel, walked into the room, she looked like she'd seen something horrible. She started screaming “Rex, what the hell do you think your doing! You're EVIL, You're an ABOMINATION!. You are going to end up in HELL! Get out of those clothes and put on your clothes and go home right now. I'm calling your mother to tell her what a horrible thing you've done!”. Rex was so confused he didn't know what to say. Karen changed into her skirt and blouse so Rex could have his clothes back, and Rex went into the bathroom to change. When he came out, she grabbed him by the collar and almost dragged him out the door as he began to cry. She pushed him out the door and said “Don't you EVER come here again!”.
Muriel was so furious, she called their teacher.
Muriel said “You wouldn't believe what I saw in my daughter's room this evening. It was terrible. Rex was sitting there playing jacks with my daughter and her friends, and he was wearing one of my daughter's dresses. I couldn't believe it. He must be a little pervert, an abomination, I tell you. He's evil. We need to do everything we can to keep him away from the other girls.”
The teacher rushed to Rex's defense, saying “I talked to his mother, and it seems that Rex doesn't play well with the boys. He doesn't fight back or rough-house so all the other boys take advantage of him. Sometimes it even gets violent”.
Muriel snapped back “I think you should FORCE him to play with the other boys, maybe it will do him some good. Maybe if he weren't such a SISSY, he would be able to play with the other boys and would stop molesting our daughters.”
The teacher softened, “Rex has already been hospitalized several times this year, I don't know if he will be able to take the stress of playing with the boys if things go bad”.
Muriel made it clear “Listen Cody, You either keep that pervert away from our daughters or I will have the Principal start the process for dismissal. I've already talked to him and he understands my feelings entirely. He even told me that he would have Rex expelled if he didn't stop playing with the girls.
Cody couldn't believe what she was hearing. Rex was such a sweet little boy, and never did anything inappropriate with the girls. In fact, the girls seemed to have a great deal of fun molesting him. And unlike the other boys, he didn't seem to mind a bit. Rex was so nice and polite, she knew things would not go well if Rex were forced to play with the boys.
The next morning, Cody came to school a bit early to do her lesson prep and Principal Harris was was there just a few minutes after she came in. Principal Harris looked like somebody had just died, or was about to.
“Did you get a call from Muriel last night?”, said Harris
“Yes I did, she she seemed quite upset. Something about Rex wearing a dress!”.
Harris sighed; “You don't know the half of it. Muriel called all of her friends at church, who called all of the parents of the first graders in the PTA, and I was fielding calls all night long from parents who wanted Rex arrested, expelled, or worse. Some even threatened to harm him. It wasn't just the girls' parents either. Even the boys' parents were calling. This could get ugly. Some the parents got some strange stories. They thought Rex molested one of the girls, another thought he raped the girls. Gossip can get so ugly.”
Cody said “I really hate sending him out to play with the boys. They are already pretty rough on him, but I'm afraid that some of those boys might do something really ugly”.
Harris stiffened “This isn't one of those inner city schools where such things might be allowed, these parents are rich, powerful, and influential. Several have friends on the School board and others have friends on the Board of Education, as well as the city and state legislature. They could make life hell for us if we don't do what they ask.
The next Monday, Rex got on the bus and the girls wouldn't let him sit with them. The boys didn't want him with them either. Rex finally found an isolated seat in the very back of the bus. Rex had no idea that these girls had been told that Rex was evil and should not be allowed to play with them. The boys had been calling him “Sissy” for a while, but when the teacher explained to the class that “Sissy” was short for sister, the same way that “Buddy” was short for Brother. Rex liked being a sister to all of the other girls, so it wasn't an issue.
When Recess came, Miss Cody told Rex that he couldn't play with the girls anymore, he had to go and play with the boys. Rex went out, thinking that the boys would be as nice as the girls used to be. They told him “We're playing war, pull up a clod of grass and throw it at the boys on the other side, and try not to get hit. Rex threw a few dirt clods, but they didn't go very far, because he didn't know how to throw anything any distance. He'd never played catch with his Dad, because they did other things together.
After about 5 minutes of “you throw like a girl”, one of the boys threw a rock it Rex and it hit him in the chest. It was about the size of a golf ball. Suddenly ALL of the boys were throwing rocks and shouting “STONE THE SISSY”, others shouting “KILL THE FAGGOT”. Soon several of the rocks were hitting him in the head, and because Rex was crying, he couldn't see them coming to dodge them. One hit him right under the eye, making a big gash right above the cheek bone. Rex was surrounded, and terrified, screaming for help. He could see the teacher, but she didn't make a move to help him until he started bleeding. Soon, more rocks were drawing blood, and she finally had to step in and said “Recess is OVER, I will walk Rex to the nurse, and be with you as soon as I can”. One of the other teachers helped shepherd the class back in, while the teacher took Rex to the nurse. She told her “Rex and the boys were throwing rocks on the playground and Rex got hurt”.
After the teacher left, Rex told the nurse that he had not been throwing rocks, only clods, and ALL of the boys were throwing rocks at him. The nurse put a butterfly bandage on the gash and said “that should hold you until you get home. Maybe you won't need stitches”. The scar would remain.
When Rex returned to class, they were in a circle for reading. The teacher had saved a chair between two boys. Rex sat down, and read silently as the other kids each took their turns. When they got to Rex, Rex started to read, and the boys started whispering “Sissy, wait until after school”. At that point, Rex was on the verge of crying again and couldn't read anymore.
That night, after they got off the bus, one of the boys said “Rex, come on over to my house, I've got something to show you”. Rex thought “Maybe the boys will be nice to me now”.
The boy's house was in the opposite direction from Rex's house, and after they were about a block away, several of the boys had picked up large sticks about two inches in diameter. They started yelling “Kill the Sissy”. The boy said “We won't let you join our club, but we will hit you with clubs”. Rex ran as fast as he could, but the boys were between him and home. In seconds, five boys were swinging their clubs, hitting Rex in the stomach, back, and legs, so that none of the damage would show.
When it was over, Rex just laid there on the ground, wishing that it would all be over. Every muscle in his body was screaming in pain, even moving his legs to change position was so painful he just wanted to lie there, hoping he would pass out or maybe even just die. Standing was a huge effort, and he limped as he walked to his house. Lois was in the family room at the back of the house, and hadn't seen the attack. Rex came in crying, saying “I hate boys, I wish I was a girl!”, and went into his room to lie down.
That night, when Rex was ready for bed, Lois could see the bruises on his arms and legs. She opened his pajama shirt, horrified. There were bruises on almost every inch of his body from the neck to the elbows and to the ankles.
Lois asked “Who did this to you”
Rex said “The boys”.
Lois asked “Which boys”
Rex said “All of the boys in my class”
“How many boys were there?” Lois inquired
Rex started to cry “About 15 of them, and they all had sticks”
Lois was furious. They had just moved into this nice new house and this better neighborhood, and her oldest child was now in more danger than he had ever been at the old school. She hoped that this was just a phase, and tried to think of who she should talk to to stop these attacks.
The next day, Rex went to school and felt totally alone. Even the girls were making fun of him. The boys continued to make threats, and when they had a bathroom break, Rex sat down. Since the stalls had no doors, the boys could kick him and hit him. When he got up, the boys started laughing even more. They couldn't believe how small is penis was, and he didn't have any balls, just a tiny empty sack. Rex didn't understand what was so funny, and thought they were making fun of him for being a sissy. It felt like there would never be any safety again.
Rex began wishing he could go back to his old school. On Sundays, he would walk from the church to the school, and try to imagine being there with Holly, Veronica, and all of his friends from that school.
Rex would hear whispered threats all day long. When it came time to answer questions, he would answer correctly but almost like a zombie, no enthusiasm at all. When it was Rex's turn to read aloud, Rex couldn't read because he was trying not to cry. Reading was just after recess and he had just been savagely beaten – again. The boys would trip him, and then about 10 of them would start kicking him like they were kicking a ball. They stayed in a tight huddle so that the teacher couldn't see how badly Rex was being hurt.
After about a week of this, the teacher decided to move Rex to the “Slow” side of the room. Rex didn't even care anymore. However, when the “Smart” side of the room started reading the book Rex had been reading in his old school, Rex decided “I don't belong here, and I don't need to be in this class”. Rex came home and started crying almost as he walked through the door. He told his mom about being put in the slow side, and about the smart kids reading the book he had already read.
That Saturday, Lois took Rex to the public library and got him a library card. The card let him check out 6 books at a time, and he could keep them for up to 3 weeks, then he had to return them and he could get more books.
Rex tried to read some books about boys, but the boys seemed to do yucky things. They only seemed to want to throw things, and get into fights. He also got some books about girls, and even though he liked those books more, the stories made him feel sad and lonely because he couldn't play with the girls anymore.
The next trip to the library, Rex's dad, Tom, suggested a few nonfiction books. Rex checked out some books on cooking, one on electricity, and one about reptiles. They were supposed to be for older kids, but Rex decided he would try to read them anyway. By the end of the summer, Rex was reading at nearly a 6th grade level. A few of the girls played with him over the summer, but not very often.
Rex wanted to be a girl so bad. One day he woke up in the middle of the night thinking that a dark shape on the laundry hamper was a monster, so he got up to check it out. Lois had left some clothes on top of the hamper because it was full. Seeing that they were the pretty clothes his mother wore to church, Rex decided to try them on. The skirt was way too big, but the slip seemed to fit. The girdle was different from the underwear but it had a pretty shiny front that reminded him of his favorite blanket. The stockings were much lighter and softer than tights. They felt so nice. For a few minutes, Rex felt the cares of the world slip away. That calmness and happiness was back. Here was this little oasis in a world of insanity. After about 30 minutes, Rex got back into his pajamas and went to a relaxed peaceful sleep.
Every few days, Rex would go back into the bathroom, lock the door, and dress in his mother's clothes, When he did, he would feel a calm, a sense of happiness, even joy. It felt like it did when he was being hugged by his mom and his dad. He felt right. He realized that he was a girl inside and that dressing was one of the few ways that he could experience being a girl.
One day, Rex's mother was having one of her down days, when she was crying all the time, and had just boiled up some macaroni – for the third time that week.
Rex whined “Macaroni again?, we had that last night” .
At that point, Lois said “Fine, make your own dinner”, and ran into her bedroom crying.
Rex had read a few books on cooking and found some hot dogs in the refrigerator, got a pan and filled it with hot water. When the water started to boil, he put the hot dogs in and waited 5 minutes for them to cook He got out some buns, and used a pair of tongs to fish out the hot dogs before dumping the boiling water into the sink. Since mom had been crying, Rex decided to give two of the hot dogs to his mother, and eat one himself. When he brought the cooked hot dogs, she started to cry even more.
Rex asked “Did I do something bad?”.
She started crying some more and said, I'm crying because I'm so proud of you! I'm going to have to teach you how to cook!”.
Rex smiled big and said “That would be wonderful!”
Over the next few months, Rex and his mother did a lot of cooking. He also helped her sort the laundry, and fold them when they were dry. Sometimes, his mom would even let him vacuum. When he was sick with Asthma, she taught him to crochet and to sew by hand. Rex even repaired one of his favorite stuffed animals, performing “surgery” with a needle and thread. Rex even made some doll clothes for his sister's baby doll.
Caught in the Act
One day, Rex had gone into the bathroom and locked himself in so he could get dressed up. He had put on everything he could, including his mom's girdle, slip, blouse, and skirt. It was way too big on Rex's little body, but it gave Rex a few moments of peace. He fell to his knees and prayed as hard as he could “Please god, make me a girl”, he did this over and over, and lost track of time. Suddenly, he heard a knock on the door and his mother called out, “Rex, what are you doing in there? Are you OK?”. Rex called back “I'm sitting on the pot” and tried desperately to get out of the clothes, but his mother heard the commotion and thought maybe Rex was doing something bad, like playing with matches or something.
Lois got a hanger from the closet and in just a few seconds, opened the door. Rex had gotten the skirt off, but he was still stuck in the skirt and the blouse. She was in shock. She just stood there and stared, her mouth wide open, and her eyes wide. Rex thought of Cathy's mother and how she freaked out, and began crying, sobbing, completely out of control. He was so afraid that Lois would throw him out or hate him, or call him evil, or worse. Maybe she wouldn't love him anymore or she would throw him out.
Lois took Rex into her bedroom, and held him close as he cried himself out. Sobbing, Rex said “please don't hate me!”. Lois held him even closer and kissed the top of his head, calming him “Don't be silly, you are my child and I love you”. Rex cuddled in closer, and hugged Lois. He finally stopped sobbing, wondering what would happen next.
Lois looked at Rex, it was clear that he had tried to wear everything she had worn to church that morning, and he was trying to dress the way he saw her dress. Lois had heard the stories of Christine Jorgensen, was Rex like her? She held Rex tighter, and said “why don't you tell me why you are wearing all of my clothes?”.
Rex whimpered “I like the way they feel, and I like being pretty”
Lois tried to encourage him “Yes, they do feel nice don't they? Do you like looking like a girl?”
Rex almost broke down again “I want to be a girl so badly mom, I hate being a boy, I hate playing with the boys, and I wish I could play with the girls like I used to. Can't I just grow my hair out and be like the rest of the girls? Please mom! If I have to keep being a boy, I think I will die!”.
Lois began to think back, she realized that it was true. Rex was a girl inside, he loved playing with girls, and even played like a girl. He even liked doing girl stuff and women's work, like helping with the cooking and the cleaning and the laundry.
She held him and tried to calm him. “Tell you what, tomorrow we'll go shopping and maybe get you some tights and a skirt, so you can at least be a girl at home. Would that be nice?”.
Rex looked into his mother's eyes. He couldn't believe what he was hearing “Really mom? I would like that so much. Even just a few girl clothes would be so nice! I just wish I could play with the girls too.
Tom came in and just stopped in his tracks. He had been watching a television show and came in when it was over because he had heard the crying. He looked at Rex, in his wife's clothes, and just had a blank stare on his face. He was in shock. Lois turned to Tom and said “Tomorrow I'm going to take Rex shopping for some new clothes”. Tom just nodded and said “try to keep it under $20.
That night, Tom and Lois sat on the bed and had a serious talk. Tom had seen how distraught Rex was, and he had given Rex enough baths to know about the bruises he got at school. He also knew that Rex was more than a little feminine and liked to play with girls. His concern surprised Lois “I was much like Rex when I grew up, weak, sick, and a bit feminine. I'm worried that giving him girls clothes might create false hope, and it might make the bullying even worse.
Lois nodded “I promised him a shopping trip, and I'll just tell him we have a small budget. I see my therapist on Tuesday, and I'll talk to him about this, see what options might be available”.
The next day, Lois took Rex to Sears and took him to look at underwear and Rex saw a pair of blue tights that were shiny. Rex started to look at pretty acetate panties. Lois said “I'll get you a pair of cotton ones. This package has pink, blue to match your tights, and white. Tell you what, instead of spending what's left on a skirt, we can make one at home. Lois also picked out a girl's T-shirt that matched the tights. When they got home, Lois said “We'll make a wrap skirt so you can wear it and fold it up. Lois grabbed a couple yards of red fabric she had been saving for a dress, and put it together with the seams and tie. Then she had Rex do the hem by hand. “That way you can make it shorter or longer if you want.”.
When Tom came home, Rex couldn't wait to show his daddy his new outfit. Tom smiled and said “wow, you look pretty, let me show you something”. Tom untied the skirt and tied it around Rex's shoulders, “If anyone makes fun of you you can turn it into a cape and be a hero like Superman”.
Rex looked puzzled “don't you want me to be a pretty girl?”. Tom said “I just don't want you getting hurt anymore”, and started to tear up. Tom walked to the back of the room and cried, very quietly.
The next day, Lois when to talk to her psychologist. She told him “My son, Rex, wants to be a girl, I think he might be like Christine Jorgensen, how can we help him?”.
The doctor's mouth just dropped. He slowly shook his head. “This is very bad Lois. Christine Jorgensen had to go to Denmark to get her treatments and surgery. Here in the United States, it's illegal for a doctor to perform that kind of surgery, or even give a boy female hormones.”
Lois gasped, almost in panic. “Is there ANYTHING we can do to help him or her?, she's suffering so horribly in school”.
The doctor nodded “Yes, in this country, we call this Gender Identity Disorder, or Gender Identity Psychosis”, In the 1950s, Dr Masters suggested one possible treatment for such disorders. It consists of daily electroshock therapy for 3-4 months, aversion therapy including electrocution of the genitalia while experiencing the stimulation to be avoided”.
Lois' eyes filled with hatred and horror. “I've BEEN through electroshock therapy, on a daily basis, like you just described. Do you know how HORRIBLE that is? Minutes of agony as every muscle in your body cramps and convulses all at once. Then you finally pass out from the pain and wake up with feelings of terror, fear, unable to remember where you are, why you are there, unable to stand, unable to eat, and feeling horrible for hours. When it happens day after day, it destroys your mind. I've lost three years of my son's life. I can't remember anything that happened since I got pregnant until he was two years old.. Can you think for one minute that I would let anyone do that to my little boy?!!”. Lois was furious.
The doctor held his hand up and said “Let's hope that won't be necessary. What you should know is that in severe cases of Gender Identity Psychosis, the delusion of being the wrong gender becomes so intense that the subject may resort to extreme measures, going to a veterinarian, or even committing suicide. They reach the point where they literally cannot live with the reality of spending the rest of their life in their male body. Freud explained girls with this condition as having “penis envy”, but the psychiatric community figures that no man in his right mind would want to give up the privileges of being a man, therefore it must be a psychosis.
Lois stared in horror, would Rex end up locked up in a padded cell, unable to function in society? “What happens if the other treatments don't work?”, she dreaded the answer.
The doctor leaned forward, and said “Lois, if your son is severe as he sounds, and the other treatments don't work, there is a very good chance we would have to perform a lobotomy. It would not turn him into a complete zombie, but it would wipe most of what makes him your son. He might not even remember who you are.
The doctor rushed to continue. “It could be much worse. Many lose all hope of being OK in their own bodies and begin to study eastern religions and reincarnation. For many, they decide that it is better to eliminate this body and move on to the next. To the rest of the friends and family, it looks like suicide or an accidental death. The odds are that if you don't get him the treatments, your son will be dead before he is 30. Your best hope is to try and get him to accept his body and at least attempt to masquerade as a boy as best as he can.
The next day, Rex went to Alan's house and showed off his new skirt and tights. Alan's brother made fun of Rex and so Rex pulled off the skirt and wore it like a cape. Rex realized that even his best friends couldn't be trusted. Nobody could be trusted.
Rex wore the tights under his pants for three weeks, eventually running them. When he told his mother he needed another pair, Lois said “Your father doesn't want you spending any more money on clothes you can't wear. She couldn't bear to tell Rex that he could never be a girl.
That summer, Rex was spending the week with his grandparents. It had been a quite afternoon, and Rex went into his their bedroom. Rex had become quite adept at sneaking into his mother's drawers and making sure that no one knew he had done it. It was almost like being an undercover spy like James Bond or the Man from Uncle, or Mission Impossible.
Rex looked into his grandmother's bottom drawer and found a full figure corset, complete with white lacing and a satin panel in front. Rex had seen them in the sears catalog and wondered if it would make him feel more like a girl. He put it on, and he liked how it felt, but it was too big. He tried to put it back exactly as he had found it.
The next day, Rex went back into his grandmother's room, and opened the bottom drawer. He just felt the satin on the front panel, and prayed to God “Make me a pretty girl”.
He hadn't heard his grandmother come in. She had suspected that Rex was getting into her dresser, but couldn't imagine why.
The prayer of a little boy had told her everything. She had taken care of Rex many times since he was a baby. She had seen the bruises. She had taught Sunday School and watched Rex playing so happily with the other girls. He seemed to enjoy playing with his cousins Beth, Laurie, and Linda. When he played with Steve or Rick, he usually ended up getting hurt, or locked into a closet, and often ended up crying so bad he got asthma. Now it all made sense.
She bent down to Rex and said “You don't want to play with those ugly old lady clothes”.
She smiled a bigger smile than usual and said “Come with me, I've got a something I want to show you”
She held Rex's hand and walked him down to the cellar, it was down the back porch, and down the stairs. There were jars of canned fruit in one room, but then she opened another door and there were a bunch of clothes. As Rex looked closer he began to realize that these were beautiful dresses.
Grandma smiled and said “These are the dresses your mom and your aunts wore to wedding, proms, dances, and special church events. If you like, you can play down here as much as you want, and no one will bother you. But it has to be our little secret, OK? We don't want to upset Grandpa”.
Rex couldn't believe his ears. He gave his grandma a huge hug, and said “Thank you grandma, I love you SO MUCH! He started to cry, but they were tears of joy. For the first time in his life, someone knew he was a girl, and loved him anyway.
Rex spend most of his free time down in the cellar, trying on different dresses. He even took off his boy clothes so he could feel the taffeta, chiffon, and other pretty fabrics. It was like Rex had found heaven.
Lois had been struggling with her pregnancy and taking care of the kids, so Rex was spending a lot of time with his grandparents, especially when the cousins came to visit.
One week, his cousin Beth came to visit. Rex was down in the cellar trying on a dress, when Beth came in and saw him in the dress. She giggled and said “You look really pretty, if you had longer hair you would be a pretty girl”. The rest of the afternoon, they tried on the various dresses. Beth told him about different colors, and fabrics, and they giggled and laughed together.
When his cousin Linda came, she also found Rex in the cellar. She thought Rex was pretty too, and they played together. Linda also let Rex play with her Barbie dolls. One day, Linda brought down her brother, Mark. Mark also wanted to try on the clothes. They were all giggling together, and Mark gave Rex a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.
The cousins would go down to the cellar on rainy days. They would get dressed and have tea parties, they would sing sunday school songs, they would giggle and laugh together.
Some of the other cousins weren't so nice. They went up to a cabin and the of his cousins, Steve, Rick, and David, locked Rex and Mark in a cellar so they could play with Beth. Rex and Mark were scared and cuddled with each other. By the time they were found by aunt Liz, both were in tears and couldn't stop sobbing.
Rex quickly learned that Rick had a cruel streak. He seemed to enjoy making Rex suffer in strange and unusual ways. He was really smart, and sneaky too. He would lock Rex into the garage, a closet, or tie him up and blindfold him. Rick seemed to take pleasure in not the physical pain, but watching others suffer emotional pain. He would say terrible things that he was going to do, to watch the panic on their faces, and Rex was a favorite target. Rex pretty quickly tried to avoid being alone with Rick whenever possible. He also kept an extra skeleton key hidden in the cellar, where Rick would sometimes lock Rex up for hours. Little did Rick know that Rex was only pretending to be terrified at being locked up in that cellar. It meant that he would be undisturbed for 3-4 hours, because Rick would try to dissuade anyone from going down there, sometimes by threatening to lock them up.
One time, while playing with Linda, she said “When David was here, he liked to get dressed up too, he even wanted to wear panties. He was really cute.
Everybody knew that they had to keep the secret. Grandpa wasn't to even know the dresses existed, because he would burn the prom dresses if he knew what they were. Grandpa thought dancing was a sin, and had been known to take a strap to the girls for trying to go to a dance. In fact, when Lois, the youngest, went to her prom, they had to sneak her out, she had to go to a friend's from church, change there, and change back into her nightie so she could look like she had been sleeping. She even had to climb a ladder to get back into her room.
Second Grade - Evasion
Second Grade was worse than ever. Rex had to walk to school. He could walk to the main streets, but when he did, the boys would chase him and hit him with sticks and rocks. The other route was through a vacant lot where where were supposed to be rattlesnakes. The rattlesnakes seemed to be the safer route.
After a few weeks, Rex figured out that if he didn't do his written work during class, the teacher would make him stay and do it after school. It didn't take long for Rex to realize that this was a great way to avoid a LOT of the boys who might otherwise have hurt him. He would listen to the lectures for both side of the class, and then wait until after school to finish his written work. The only nasty part was that he had to listen to the teacher writing on easel paper with magic marker. The squeaking was almost like fingernails on a chalk board, but at least he wasn't getting hit.
Ironically, even though the teacher had to keep Rex after school every night, she began to catch on that he wasn't exactly retarded. In fact, Rex pulled out a book he had picked at the library and she realized that it should be way above his reading level. Rex was reading about dinosaurs, reptiles, electricity, electronics, and mechanics. Many of the books were Junior High level, for someone who was 13 or so, and Rex was almost 7. The teacher would talk about the books Rex was reading, at it was clear that Rex not only understood the books, but was able to make logical conclusions.
Eventually, teacher realized that Rex was bored to tears with the reading in second grade, so she gave him more interesting assignments, like doing book reports on the books he got from the library. It was clear that even though Rex was dyslexic, which showed in his handwriting, Rex was also able to adapt extremely well. Rex still had to struggle with math and stayed after school to work on math. It wasn't exactly fun, but it was a lot better than getting beat up on the way home.
Unfortunately there was still had gym, lunch, and recess. These were usually an exercise in terror. One day, the boys went out to play Soccer. Rex had to play with them, even though he was the last one picked. Before long, one of his own teammates tripped him, and another kicked the ball right into his belly.
Soon Rex was surrounded by the boys from both teams screaming “Kick the Sissy.”. Rex tried to throw the ball away but the boys would just kick it back into his belly as hard as they could. Soon they were kicking everything but the face and the hands. Many times Rex would be in so much pain that he couldn't move. He just laid there and cried after the bell rang. The gym teacher had to come out to the field and help him to the nurses office. Eventually, she stopped making up lies about how Rex came by so many bruises, and just said “Again”. By the time he got to the Nurses Office, he was already wheezing. It would be another trip to the hospital.
By the time Lois got there, Rex was in pretty bad shape. His fingernails were turning blue his lips were turning white, and he could barely talk. Lois gave him his inhaler and said “We'll be at the hospital in about 20 minutes, just keep breathing. It was such a struggle. Rex wanted to just fall asleep and stop trying, but it hurt so much to breath, and Rex knew what was coming. Still, Rex managed to pass out for the last 10 minutes of the trip..
When they got to the hospital, a nurse pulled Rex out of the car. She laid him on a gurney and shook him awake.
“Hey kiddo, welcome back, you've been away almost four weeks! Now, what do you need?
Rex came to just enough to gasp out “10 CC's Eppy, IV, and O2”.
The doctor met Rex just as he was being wheeled into the exam room. This was a new doctor, and he had heard the nurse take Rex's order, and said “Make it 25 CC's Epinephrine”.
The doctor pulled back in horror as he raised Rex's shirt. The bruises were getting really colorful, and it looked like Rex had been been trampled by a herd of buffalo or something. He winced as he pressed the stethescope to Rex's chest, but Rex didn't even flinch. He asked “Did your PARENTS do that!?”. Rex smiled and said “No, they would never hurt me, the boys at school did that”.
The doctor couldn't believe his eyes. “How many boys were there?”, he couldn't believe that second grade boys could do that much damage.
Rex choked as he coughed, and then gasped “About 12 today, some of the boys were sick”.
The nurse came in with the needle, and the doctor nodded, indicating to give the shot. Rex was so used to this by now that he was able to relax as the nurse emptied the needle into his arm. It was afterward that he felt the burn, and the pain.
Suddenly, Rex began to go into convulsions, and gagging. He started to vomit into the little tray they held for him, and he urked out “Too much eppy!”. The head nurse came in and almost barked at the doctor “How much did you give him!”. The doctor told her the dose and her eyes almost popped out. “Didn't he tell you how much he could take?, your lucky you didn't kill him. He's allergic to it, because he's had it so often, he normally can't take more than 5 CC's. The doctor said “He asked for 10, but I thought he needed more”. The nurse said “If he wanted that much, he must be really severe.
Rex began to shiver uncontrollably, and the nurse brought a warm blanket. Rex couldn't even talk. He threw up again, and again, until there was nothing left, and even after that, he kept heaving like there was still more to come. Finally, he just fell back into the bed. The heaves would last at least another hour, along with the convulsions, but there was no juice left.
The nurse then told the doctor “Listen to his heart”. The doctor could hear the beat, racing, but instead of the expected “Thump, Thump, Thump” he heard “Thwish, Thwish, Thwish”, he noted to the nurse “He has a heart murmur”. The nurse said “No he doesn't, that's the Eppy, did you check his chart?”. With that she dropped folder of papers at least 2 inches thick on the table. The first page of the chart read:
INSTRUCTIONS FROM FAMILY DOCTOR
IF REX IS CONCIOUS, HE WILL TELL YOU WHAT HE NEEDS.
IF NOT, THEN HIS MOTHER WILL KNOW.
IF SHE'S NOT AVAILABLE, THEN CALL ME
BEFORE ADMINISTERING ANY TREATMENT!
The nurse saw the doctor, humbled and despondent. “Don't worry doctor, Rex is one of our special patients, and most of us know the drill by heart now. This is your first time. You will find that he's quite extraordinary.
The strain of the emotional and physical abuse often resulted in Asthma attacks so severe that Rex had to be hospitalized. Lois had already called the doctor and the doctor had already called the hospital, the room was ready as soon as Rex was stable enough to move.
Next the nurse came in to insert the IV needle. The panic on Rex's face was obvious, probably because the first time he had an IV, they had to poke him 36 times, finally strapping his foot down so they could put it into a vein in his ankle. Rex was still shaking but urked out “my veins like to roll out of the way”. The nurse thought she was ready. She made her first attempt, and Rex held as still as he could while she tried to catch the illusive vein with the needle, and then she went through the vein and the bruise started to form immediately. Rex had tears streaming down his cheeks, but he knew that crying, screaming, or squirming would only make it worse, so he whimpered as she made her second and third attempts. Finally, she caught a vein and it didn't tear. She tried to secure it very carefully. She could see the bruises under the paper gown, forming on his legs and shins. Rex had already been through enough, but it would be a long night, and Rex knew it.
Rex was taken up to the room, and the staff was already setting up an oxygen tent. The tent was made of clear plastic, which meant that people could see, and they could hear if Rex started choking or anything, but there was little that Rex could hear besides the mist of the vaporizer. On the floor, the ward doctor did a quick preliminary exam, noting the all too familiar cuts and bruises, as well as the wheezing of the asthma. He wondered how Rex was able to come back to life time after time. This had been his 5th visit since the start of the school year, and it wasn't even Christmas yet.
While in the oxygen tent, there could be no television, no radio, no electrical or electronic devices of any kind, and nothing that would make sparks.
Because Rex was in a tent breathing isoprel mist, getting IV Adrenalin or Epinephrine, and other drugs to stimulate his heart and breathing, there was little chance to sleep for more than short naps. The highlights were the daily lab work and inhalation therapy with the nebulizer. The drugs often caused nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and sometimes even a heart murmur. Without them, the Asthma would turn into Pneumonia, or worse.
Lois put her head through the tent and gave Rex a gentle hug. “I brought your crochet hooks and some yarn. I also brought 6 books. I'll pick up 6 more tomorrow. I also brought a new brain teaser.
Rex smiled, still shaking; “I'll need them. It's going to be a really long night. Can you bring a needlepoint kit? I'll make a sweater vest tonight, and read the books. Maybe a Nancy Drew mystery?
Lois laughed; “Wow! A fiction book! Is something wrong?
Rex smiled “On long nights like these, I like fiction because it takes much longer to read. It's like I'm in the book, and I really like pretending I'm Nancy”.
Rex knitted until about 5:00 AM, and finally fell asleep. Of course, the nurse woke him up at 6:30 to take his vitals.
About 10 AM, the tech came in with a big machine on a rolling cart. Rex smiled and said “Hi Amos!Time for the gas mask? The tech smiled, he was a sweet man, with very dark skin, a really nice smile, and a way of making Rex feel relaxed. He even made it fun.
He smiled and said “What are you going to be today, a pilot?”
Rex smiled. Yeah, that way I won't upchuck as quickly. He put the face-mask over his mouth and nose, and started taking deep little breaths. He coughed each time he tried to exhale.
The tech just grinned and say “That's right, try to blow out as much as you can, from down here, and pressed on Rex's tiny flat stomach.
Rex smiled and said “Pilot to co-pilot, prepare for landing” - and blew out as much as he could before completely filling his lungs again.
The mist contained concentrated Isoprel, much like what was in the oxygen tent all day, but with the deep breathing, the concentrated dosage, and the Eppinephrine drip, it only took Rex about 15 minutes to start to upchuck. His stomach was heaving,
Amos got the tray to catch what little came up. Rex's stomach was empty and there was not much to bring up, but it sounded like his insides were coming up.
Amos patted his back; “You're doin' really good Captain! Ready to go again?
Rex nodded, put the mask back to his face, blew out everything he could, and took another breath. Rex hated the vomiting but the yucky tasting mist made it much easier to breathe, and he might even be able to sleep an hour or so when it wore off. Rex upchucked 3 more times before the 30 minutes was over, but he was feeling like he might even survive the day.
The process continued for 5 days. They would also through in some fun surprises like a chest X-ray or two, and sometimes they would suction his nose – which was really painful, but did make it easier to breathe with his mouth closed, which made it easier to sleep. As they tapered the medicine in the IV drip, Rex was even able to sleep for two hours, twice or even three times a day.
After the fifth day, the nurse came in and said “Would you like to try some juice?”
Rex smiled really big! This meant that he would be able to drink juice and have chicken broth! “Yes, please, may I have some apple juice?”
That day, when Amos came in, Rex decided to be a “Scuba Diver” putting a tube into his mouth. It held his mouth open, but because he was getting better, and the dose was decreasing, he only had a few short tummy spasms, but the juice stayed down.
Tom had brought in some books on electricity and radio, as well as a book about music. Rex read those while he knitted. His vest was almost done – it was white and made of very soft yarn. There were lots of interesting patterns and designs, some were accidents, but many were just Rex trying to make it prettier.
The seventh day, the nurse came in and pulled up his robe and pressed his belly. By now, Rex's wide hips were protruding
It took about 2 weeks for the whole process. By then, the lung function was back, the bruising had healed, there had been a few days in the wheelchair, and a day of carefully monitored walking. Rex would go to bed that night, and try to forget that the beatings would start all over again tomorrow during gym, lunch, and recess.
Soon it got to the point where each full moon meant either Rex or his mom would be in the hospital or Lois would go to the psychiatric ward for acute depression. Often treatments included electroshock. Even as young as four years old Rex knew when his mother needed to go, even before she did. He would hear her calling for him, from half a block away, when she was in her bedroom bleeding from cut wrists or vomiting from overdoses.
The first time, Rex told Alan's mother, Jan “Mom is calling me, we need to see her”.
Jan said “your mom is sleeping in your house, you couldn't possibly hear her”.
Rex bolted out the door yelling “She needs me NOW!”.
Jan followed Rex, figuring that once Rex knew his mother was OK, he would let her sleep.
Rex ran up the stairs and saw his mother with both arms bleeding.
Barely above a whisper she was saying “Rex, I can't leave you behind, Rex, Rex, Rex”.
Jan walked in and was in shock! She screamed “Lois, what have you done!?!”.
Jan told Rex to wait downstairs, while she got the bleeding stopped, put a pressure bandage on the gashes, and got her ready to go to the hospital.
About 4 weeks later, Rex again heard his mother calling. This time there was no argument, when they got to the bedroom Jan said “you wait here, I'll see if she's OK”.
As Jan opened the door, the smell of vomit filled the air. The bed was covered!
Rex's mother had tried to overdose on pills and booze and Jan had to take her to the emergency room for urgent care.
Eventually, we dreaded the full moon. During one full moon, Lois would go to the psychiatric hospital, usually for a suicide attempt. The next full moon, Rex would be so stressed from school and home that he would end up in the hospital, wheezing with Asthma and covered with cuts and bruises.
There was one day when Rex was having a typically miserable day at recess, and the teacher called the kids in to the classroom and said “President Kennedy has been shot!”. She told the students to go home and be with our families. She said, “You may not have much time left”
Everybody knew that they were near ground zero, surrounded by military bases, so if there was to be a nuclear strike, everybody would be dead before their minds could register the bright flash, if they were lucky.
Lois was so stressed that she was smoking 3 packs a day that day and the next. Lois was watching the live coverage on the news when Rex got home. Everyone seemed so confused. At first, everybody thought it was some kind of Soviet plot, because the reports from those who were there at the time said there were shots coming from three different locations. Only when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot, did they decided that he was the shooter and that he acted alone.
By the time Lee Harvey Oswald was shot, Rex was in the hospital again, the asthma so severe that he was given a room in minutes. A few days later, Lois was admitted to the psychiatric hospital.
Rex didn't believe in Santa Clause, but he believed in God, he believed in his parents, and he believed in hope. His greatest wish was to be a girl on the outside, or, if that wasn't possible to be a boy on the inside? The wish to be a boy was never heartfelt, but perhaps if God would make him like all the things the other boys liked, he would not hate having to pretend he was a boy.
For Christmas, Rex asked for some Barbie dolls, so he could play with the other girls again. He sat on Santa's lap and asked for the Barbie Doll and some clothes for it, loud enough so his parents could hear. He was pleased when Santa didn't try to talk him out of it, but at that moment he really wished there WAS a real Santa Clause.
Unfortunately, we often don't get what we wish for, and we have to live with he best intentions of others who want to do what they think is best for us.
Tom decided to get an Erector Set, to try and encourage less girlish pursuits. Rex did like spending time with his daddy and the erector set was fun. There was a motor and some belts and pulleys and they made a windmill together. Tom went off to go grocery shopping and Rex had changed the pulleys so that the windmill was spinning really fast. Then he put his hand in front of the spinning blades, at first it hurt a little. Rex wondered if the blades could cut his wrists. Rex was disappointed when the blades just stopped turning instead..
When Rex blew out the candles on his birthday cake, he closed his eyes and wished with all his might “I wish I was a girl”, and blew out the candles. Fortunately, he didn't have to tell anyone his wish. Rex always had the same wish, and wished it a lot.
He'd see the first star of the night, and do the little rhyme
Star Light, Star Bright, first Star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish to night.
To be a girl, free and light.
Rex also wished for it when he got the wish-bone, especially the thanksgiving wish bone from the turkey.
There was a silly song on the radio about a girl in a polka dot bikini. Rex made up his own worlds, but didn't sing it in front of anyone, it went
I've got an Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny
shriveled up and wrinkled peeny
and I wish it would just go away.
Rex loved to sit on his grandfather's lap and hear the stories about miracles in the Bible. He liked Daniel in the Lion's Den, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednigo in the furnace, Moses parting the red sea, and Jesus, Peter, and Paul all healing those who were crippled, blind, even lepers, to show how God loved them.
Rex thought as he listened and prayed “God, if you can heal the lepers, couldn't you take away my asthma and make me a girl? Why am I so unhappy as a boy?”. Then he would feel bad because even though he had said that prayer a dozen times a day, he was still stuck in a boy's body, wishing he had a girl's body, and unable to look or act like a boy even when he tried.
Rex went to church with his grandparents. He wore pants and a jacket, and was really good in Sunday school. He even helped the teacher tell a bible story, and played nice with the other girls. When his grandpa came to pick him up, one of the parents said “Rex is such a sweet thing, he'd be such a lovely girl. Rex smiled with joy. Maybe God was going to answer his constant prayers.
As soon as they got home from church, grandpa got out the clippers, pulled off the guard, and shaved every bit of hair off Rex's head. The baby fine hair jammed the clippers, pulled Rex's hair, and Rex was screaming and crying, partly from the pain of the clippers, put also from the knowledge that he would never be allowed to grow his hair long so he could be pretty, like the other girls.
It took very little hair for Rex to look like a girl. Even an inch or two was enough to look like a pixie cut, enough to cause people to mistake him as a girl, especially in the summer time when he wore shorts and brightly colored T-shirts.
Over the next few years, Rex looked for any method of changing his sex, and even found a few books on black magic, but he couldn't find anything about how to change sex or exchange bodies with a girl. He couldn't find stories or science or even medical journals on sex change or boys who wanted to be girls. He realized that the episodes on Gilligan's Isle, Star Trek, the Munsters, or any other television shows where boys and girls changed bodies, was just a fantasy. Rex had learned that there was no Santa Clause by the time he was three, and the other illusions of tooth fairies, Easter bunnies, were shattered by first grade. Rex was beginning to wonder if it was all a lie? Wishes never came true! Especially his one deepest wish. Yet for some reason, Rex still believed in God, but began think there were limitations on what even God could do.
New Tortures – Skin Pop Tests
The insurance company was getting sick of all this hospitalization, so they began recommending allergists. One had been a resident at National Jewish Hospital, working with a number of Holocaust survivors who had assisted Mengele with his tests in the camps. The methods were controversial but they had made a number of breakthrough discoveries that held out the hope of a cure or at least a reduction in the number or severity of the asthma attacks.
The allergist decided that she needed to run a a bunch of scratch tests to try and find everything Rex was allergic to. She realized that he seemed to be allergic to almost everything, in different degrees. The scratch tests weren't that bad, she'd twist an nail setter to make a small scratched hole in the skin, put a drop of serum in that hole, one for each allergen. Usually 10 rows of 10 on the back, then 10 rows of 10 in front.
Suddenly, the Doctor nodded to a nurse and said “skin pops”
The nurse needed no further instructions from the doctor as she pulled out padded board with straps on it. Before Rex realized what was happening, the nurse had strapped down his arm at the wrist, elbow, and shoulder, as the doctor had done the same thing on the other side. Rex's arms were pulled straight out from his chest, and he couldn't move at all. A few seconds later, they were strapping down his legs. The nurse then held Rex's head so that he couldn't move. Rex couldn't help but think how pretty she was. She had a pretty white dress that came to about mid-thigh, and hair up in a bun, and really pretty make-up. Rex looked into her eyes and began to relax.
Dr Gamble then told Lois, “you need to stay very quiet, this will not be pleasant and he needs to have as few memories of you as possible. I'm going to run some skin-pop tests on the strongest reactions. They feel a bit like bee stings and they can burn for about 30 minutes while we wait for the results to show.
Dr Gamble then inject a bubble of allergen serum just under his skin, similar to the test for tuberculosis.
Almost immediately Rex began to scream in pain. “I promise to be good, I'll never get sick again,”
Dr Gamble repeated the process, over and over again. 2 rows of 9 on each arm, 36 total. Every pop burned like a bee sting, feeling like the skin was on fire. Rex would be strapped down for almost an hour to get the final verdict. His skin burning and itching and causing agonizing pain for the entire time.
That whole week, Rex had nightmares about the pretty nurse and the horrible shots. He woke up screaming. He even dreamed that one of his pretty classmates was dressed like the nurse, the other girls were holding him down, as she threw darts at him. After the 5th night, he had the dart dream and realized that he liked the dream.
The following week, they went through all the scratch tests for about an hour, and the doctor just nodded to the nurse. The second Rex saw the arms come out, he started to fight, knowing what was coming. They were too fast for him, and soon he was strapped down so he couldn't move. Rex started crying even before the first shot started. There was no way to stop it and no way to escape. By the 12th shot, Rex was screaming in agony to the point where he was almost choking.
Lois asked Dr Gamble “Is there any way you could give him a sedative or something so he didn't have to suffer like this? It just seems so cruel!
Dr Gamble said “The doctor who developed brought this technique was a survivor of one of one of Mengale's camps. The theory is that if you try to sedate the patient, they will give false negatives. Many begged to be sent to death, but they weren't allowed to quit once they started.
They had to do the skin pops 5 more weeks, some to confirm previously discovered results, other times to confirm other allergies. In the middle of the third session, Rex asked the doctor if he could watch her put the needles in so he could hold his arm still. Rex found that it was somehow easier to organize his mind around the pain. It still hurt so bad he wanted to scream, but after watching about 5 of the shots he had figured out how to focus on holding very very still for the 5-10 seconds it took to form the bubble, then to take several deep breaths before the next shot. The tears would pour out his eyes, but he focused and tried to hold his sound to whimpers and tried to not move his arms at all.
Doctor Gamble was quite surprised at how well Rex had managed to adjust to the horrible situation. She knew how incredibly painful it was, and knew that it had to hurt horribly, but Rex had managed to gain control over his emotions and could joke during the scratch tests even though he knew the skin pop tests were coming, and would even smile when the skin pop tests were over. Clearly, Rex was traumatized by the shots themselves, but he seemed to find a way to control the trauma.
After about 10 of these sessions, Dr Gamble suggested no eggs for 2 months, and then suggested allergy shots, 4 times a week.
Rex had to go to the doctor's office to get the shots, and got three in each arm. He felt like a pin cushion and his arm was sore for the next 2 days,. Rex had learned to relax his arm enough so that it didn't hurt quite as bad as it did when he was tensed. As an incentive, Rex's parents promised him that he could have a pet if he did 3 months worth of weekly shots.
They eventually got him an iguana, which was a lizard that could grow to up to 6 feet long in a year or so, but Rex's first two iguana's died after only a few weeks. Rex' later found out that Iguanas normally eat crickets and roaches, or maybe a nice juicy grass-hopper, but not the lettuce his mom suggested. Rex treated it like a kitty cat. He sang to it, told it stories, he'd pet it's skin. He would even hold the grass-hoppers he caught in his hand. That one grew from about 6 inches to over 3 feet long, but died when the heat lamp burned out while the family was visiting his grandparents.
Spacing Out – Astral Projections
The asthma did not get better, and by third grade, Rex's visits had reached the point where he was going in every 4 weeks for a 2 week stay at the hospital. He was reading at high school level, mostly non-fiction, but math was a problem. When he was in class, he was assigned a seat next to the window on the “dummy” side of the class. Rex would look up into the mountains and visualize himself among the pine trees, listening to the creek trickling by.
Rex's parents had rented a cabin in the mountains along with another couple who rented another cabin. Rex's cabin had electricity but no water. The other cabin had water but no electricity. At least this way dad got his coffee in the morning, but they still had to heat the cabin with a wood-burning stove. Some of Rex's favorite memories were those of smelling skunk spray. He could smell it from quite a distance away, and when he did, he knew he was in the mountains.
Rex liked to hike in the mountains with another girl. She had lost three of her fingers in a lawn mower accident. She was faster and stronger than Rex, but she loved to show him wonderful sights in the area. Rex's health would always improve up there, almost from the minute he smelled the skunk. One time, when he was about 4, Rex even tried to catch the bus to the cabin, but the driver didn't know where it was. These were happy memories. And looking at the mountains, he could almost see the pine needles on the trees, and hear the water running through the creeks.
The teacher would interrupt these astral projections by asking questions, to which Rex would give an almost trance-like correct answer. Rex was also staying after school to avoid being bullied by nearly every boy in the school. They filled in the vacant lot, but there were still weeds and snakes. Often, he would sneak through yards and go out of my way to avoid the more dangerous of the kids.
Rex came home one day and said “Mommy, I want to join cub scouts”. He smiled “They get to wear Uniforms, and since I am older than the rest of them, I'd get to be the first to wear a uniform!”. It was clear that Rex had no clue what scouting itself was about, but it was the first time he got excited about anything to do with being a boy, even if it was only a fashion statement.
Rex tried Cub Scouts, mainly because he liked the Uniform. He made it to Lion and earned about a dozen merit badges, including radio, electronics, electricity, photography, crafts, cooking, and several others., but he actually didn't like the other scouts that much. The best thing about it was that he was the first kid to be old enough to join and wear the uniform to school. When the other boys in his class started joining, Rex quit.
Scouts did open up numerous interests, including over a dozen hobbies. Rex joined 4H club, and was very happy when he found that he was the only boy among 6 girls in the leather craft group, and one of 2 boys and 6 girls in the photography group. Rex even learned how to make explosives with his chemistry set, as well as chloroform. Rex had also learned how to build and fly model airplanes, built a chug coaster, but gave up riding it after some of the boys tried to steal it, beating him up again in the process.
CARIH – Asthma Study – and Gender discovery.
The insurance company told Rex's parents that there was a research project to study kids with asthma. They practically insisted that they go, offering to pay all expenses, including mileage and related costs. Every night, after school, Rex would get a physical exam including blood pressure, heart rate, and lung capacity, other tests were less frequent. Next, there would be a form with several questions about how the day went, how the patient felt, what moods did they experience, and to what level of intensity. After that, there would be time with a psychiatrist who would ask a few questions based on the form, to find out why there were stronger emotions. This continued for 13 weeks.
At the end of the first group, they decided Rex qualified for “Phase 2” research. Rex's family stayed in a nice hotel while Rex lived with Joanne. Joanne was one of the house mothers for the girls dorm. This phase of the trial was to last 8 weeks. Rex would continue to come in after school for the daily evaluations, then he would spend a few hours with Joanne in the girls' dorm.
Something remarkable began to happen. On the first few days, Rex was coming out of school coughing so hard he was choking. Every breath was a loud and audible wheeze. However, when Joanne and Rex went to the girls' dorm, Rex began to calm down. He made friends with several of the girls almost immediately. Each night, his asthma got better. Joanne and Rex had to go in all day Saturday, and Rex would join the girls in time for American Band Stand. With a little encouragement from the other girls, Rex was soon doing the Twist, the Swim, the Boogaloo, the the Go Go, and a few others that didn't have names. Rex would be smiling and giggling with the rest of the girls. By the end of the day, he was singing along with the radio. He wasn't even wheezing anymore.
By the end of the 8 weeks, Rex had invited the girls over for a party, they cooked and cleaned up together, and had fun all day long. Not only did none of the other girls have asthma, but Rex didn't show any sign of asthma either. Rex's health began to improve radically, and by the end of this phase, Rex was able to go through an entire meal without even clearing his throat, and hadn't needed an inhaler for almost 3 weeks. During the psychological profiles, it was clear that Rex was much calmer, much happier, cried less, and got angry less.
There was another 6 weeks when Rex's family came back, and Rex's health gradually began to go downhill. Rex began to wheeze again, and was needing inhaler and medication every day. Some of this may have been related to the fact that both of Rex's parents were chain smokers at home, and often Rex would come home to a cloud in the family room. When the sun came in on the smoke filled room, Rex would have to ask “Mom, are you there?”, she would respond from her sewing machine in the corner of the room. Rex was looking right at her and couldn't see her.
The people at CARIH began to wonder if Rex should move onto the dorms. They decided to have Rex stay with Sylvia, the boy's house mother, for 8 weeks, to see if he could adapt. Things didn't go well at all. After the exams, Rex and Sylvia would go to the boys dorms, and Rex would try to play with the boys. He would barely talk, he seemed to be afraid of everyone, and when one of the boys started to get angry, Rex would back away as far and fast as he could. Rex's health began to get much worse. Even with no cigarettes anywhere, Rex's asthma got so bad that he almost had to be hospitalized. Even Rex's color was a bit blue. And the daily tests and surveys showed that he was getting upset all the time, crying a lot, having temper tantrums, and was almost never happy. It was almost as if he was under as much stress as he could stand. His lung capacity and function were dropping dangerously low. They almost had to stop the test.
When Rex got back with his parents, his health began to improve, but was still very poor. This contradicted the theory that it was ONLY the smoking. They confirmed that the severity of the Asthma was directly related to the severity of the negative emotions and lack of positive ones.
The researchers at CARIH decided that Rex would be a perfect candidate for Stage 4 research. Rex would see a psychologist every day, and the visits would gradually decrease. Rex came in to see Dr Rennie every day. At first, they just tried to talk, but Rex didn't seem to communicate very well. One day, he brought a Morse code key set, and sent “I want to be a girl” over the short wire. Rex was under the desk when he sent the message, Dr Rennie was decoding from above his desk. When Dr Rennie saw the message, he said “Do you really want to be a girl?”. Rex nodded, and broke into tears.
What happened next almost shocked Rex. Dr Rennie said “We KNOW you want to be a girl, you probably should have BEEN a girl, but we can't change what you are now. We can't talk about this any more, because something terrible could happen if we did. I will help you to cope with the boys so that you don't get hurt so much, would that be OK?”. Rex was so obviously disappointed he almost wanted to stop everything right then. He slowly nodded his head like he was accepting his punishment, life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Dr Rennie would ask about the things the boys did, and often the stories were terrible. A few times, Dr Rennie asked Rex to lift his shirt so he could see how many bruises there were. Some days his back and stomach were almost covered in black and blue. He would ask what the boys said, and he would ask how Rex reacted. When the boys threatened him, Rex would start to cry or try to run away. This would cause the boys to chase him and beat him up. Even how he walked was being affected.
Dr Rennie started playing role play games. He would pretend to be one of the boys who bullied Rex, and Rex was to try and control his emotions. Later, Rex had to try to make Dr Rennie laugh after he hurled the insults. Rex started to learn how to HELP the boys make fun of him. Rex almost walked like a duck because his feet went out and he had large hips and curvature of the spine that made his butt look far too big for a boy. When the boys would tease him for walking like a duck, he would exaggerate the walk, and start quacking. Rex even learned how to sound like Donald Duck, talking out one of his cheeks. The bullying became less frequent and less severe, but didn't stop entirely.
One day, Rex had done particularly bad at softball, and the team decided to beat him up. Rex tried to run away and headed for a tree so that he could climb up out of reach. This would at least give him time until the teacher arrived. Unfortunately, as he was swinging up, one of the boys grabbed his legs and began pulling them behind so that Rex's stomach was facing the ground. One of the other boys started tickling him. When Rex let go of the tree, the boy holding his feet still had them about 4 feet above the ground. Rex hit the ground in his chest and his shoulders. Rex tried to breathe, but he couldn't. There was incredible pain between his shoulders, radiating from his spine. He couldn't move his legs either. One of the boys tried to kick him and Rex didn't even flinch, because he COULDN'T. Suddenly one of the boys said “He can't breathe, get the teacher”.
By the time the teacher finally came, Rex was nearly unconscious. His face and arms were a dark blue. It had been nearly 4 minutes, and Rex STILL hadn't taken one breath. The gym teacher looked, one of the boys said “He's not breathing”. Only his head was moving. There was no time to do anything “safe”. She was out of time. She picked him up, crossed his arms in front of him, put her arms around his shoulders and folded arms, and jumped. Instantly, Rex began to start breathing again. He was too weak to stand, so the teacher carried him back to the nurse.
The next day, the doctor took an x-ray and said “You are lucky to be alive”, it looks like your spine was broken, right at the shoulder blades. I don't even want to touch your back because it might kill you”.
After that, Rex didn't have to play games with the boys anymore. He brought a butterfly net and chased butterflies and grass-hoppers. Sometimes he would pretend that a grass-hopper was one of the boys who bullied him, and he would pull it's legs off and stick it in an ant-hill, watching as the little ants slowly tear it apart. Rex talked about that with Dr Rennie, who asked if Rex wanted to do terrible things to the real boy. Rex shook his head and said “No, I just want him to stay away from me”.
There was another girl in Rex's class. Her name was Melody. She was a nice girl, but much bigger than the other girls. She was almost more like a boy. When the boys started to pick on her, she would grab them and hit them. Soon the boys were calling her “IT”. Not a boy, not a girl, not even human, just “IT”. Rex felt sorry for Melody, and tried to be extra nice to her. Soon they were close friends. She was a bit bossy, but Rex didn't seem to mind. He was just happy to have a friend.
Rex did have a few other friends, but they didn't want anybody to know they were friends. Eventually Rex understood that they were afraid of getting beat up. Rex protected their secret, not trying to call them friends while at school. Rex even made friends with a few of the new kids, and warned them that they had to keep their friendship a secret so that they wouldn't get hurt.
Sex Education – Sort of
When Rex was 10, his Dad decided that Rex needed to know about the “Birds and the Bees”. Dad started reading several books to Rex. Books on gender, male parts and female parts, how they would start to change. At one point, Rex said “I have a tiny weenie penis, but I don't have testes. Why is that?”. This was the awkward issue that his dad had tried to avoid confronting directly.
Tom drew a picture of a body. He drew a little penis between the legs.
Then he said, “most boys have testicles down here”, pointing to the right and left of the penis. Then he drew to little circles up inside the body about half way between the penis and the belly button on each side of the penis. He said “Your testicles are still up inside you, like ovaries. If they don't come down by the time you are 12, the doctor will have to perform surgery. I said with a big eager smile “You mean I'm like a GIRL and just have a little penis?”. Tom looked almost sad and said “Almost, but you have testicles rather than ovaries, they are just in the wrong place. In that one phrase, Rex's expression went from overjoyed with hope, to totally despondent and sad, almost ready to cry. Rex said “I don't want to know anymore about Sex”.
The next day, Tom told Rex to go into the bedroom with him. He closed the door behind them, and he pulled out a copy of Playboy Magazine. He opened the magazine to a picture of a naked girl and said “This is what a girl looks like”. Rex seemed completely unimpressed. He said “She has pretty eyes”. There was no sign of arousal or interest. That night, Tom told Lois, “I think Rex might be a homosexual, he doesn't seem to be sexually attracted to girls at all”. Lois knew that Rex had been trying on her clothes. She even found panty hose, a slip, and a teddy hidden between the box spring and the mattress. She said “Find some pictures of girls in sexy lingerie, see how he reacts to that”.
About 2 days later, Tom pulled Rex into the parent's bedroom, and showed him a copy of Penthouse. He opened it to a picture of a girl wearing black silk stockings, silky panties, a garter belt, and a sheer bra. Rex grabbed the magazine. All he could think about is how much he wanted to wear those pretty clothes. He thought about how nice it would feel. He wanted to BE the girl I that picture. Then his father flipped to another page with a man and a woman together. Rex looked at the man and said “That's gross, his penis is huge and his testicles are just ugly”. Rex wasn't gay. To Rex, anything related to boys was something to be avoided, a threat. There was ZERO desire to even think about taking a chance that the man might try to hurt him. Pleasure was the last thing on Rex's mind when he saw ANY picture of a man not wearing a suit.
Rex liked his dad, and he liked his grandfather, but there were very few others. Doctors gave him shots, dentists hurt his mouth, and boys would hit him and kick him. Even after the beatings ended, the fear had been so deeply embedded, so traumatic, that the fear continued to dominate his thinking about boys and men.
For as long as Rex could remember, his romantic story book ending was him as a beautiful princess like Sleeping Beauty or Snow White being kissed by a beautiful princess instead of a prince. He liked to think about being a beautiful woman in a sexy dress or skirt suit, being kissed by another girl who wanted to kiss him. He would imagine himself as Susan Day from Partridge Family being seduced by Honey West, Joey Heatherton, or Anne Margret. He did think David Cassidy was cute, as well as Davey Jones from the Monkees, maybe because they seemed harmless. Rex liked to think that they might be nice to him if he were a girl.
However, he did spend a lot of time with one girl from church named Debbie. They would listen to music together, play Barbies, and generally enjoy “girl talk” together. Debbie really liked Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees and David Cassidy on the Partridge Family. Rex watched the shows and talked with Debbie about them, and began to imagine being kissed and hugged by them, but with him as a girl. He found he liked the idea, but he struggled with the idea of a boy kissing him as a boy, that didn't appeal to Rex at all.
From the time he was about four he would have nightmares. They would start the same, with him as a pretty girl in a blue dress with pettycoats and a full skirt, sitting on the lap of her boyfriend with his legs between hers. She seemed to be happy. Then somebody hit her boyfriend, knocking him out, and an older man put something around her neck and strangled her. As she “fell asleep”, Rex would wake up trying to figure out why she was in this little boy's body.
That summer, in late August, Rex's testicles came down. Rex panicked. He tried to push them back up inside “where they belong!”. He realized that if they stayed down there he would become a hairy monster like, like a werewolf. He would grow a beard and his voice would go to low, and he would get to tall and too big to wear pretty clothes. He could NEVER be a girl.
Rex began to try and devise ways to “kill the testes”. He drew baths of skalding hot water. He would plop down into the water and press his testes into the water to try and “poach” them, like eggs. He tried tying them up with Rubber Bands, because he had read that the Australians castrated sheep that way. Even after several weeks they were still there. He even tried using a two-by-four and a sledgehammer, and decided he wouldn't try that again. Several times, when boys would try to kick him between the legs, he would open wide so they could get a clear shot, but they decided not to risk getting into more serious trouble.
By age 11, Rex could already see the changes beginning to take place. Instead singing Soprano in Jr Choir, he had to sing alto because it hurt to sing the high notes. He got taller, quickly growing taller than his mother. This led to a different kind of problem.
Lois had discovered Rex's secret stash of clothes buried under a pile of coats in a bag in the back corner of his closet. She found underwear, a skirt, and a shiny satin blouse, as well as a nightie and a teddy. She decided to confront Rex about it.
The next day, Lois met Rex on the way into his bedroom. He was looking in the closet. Lois held a bag in her hand and said “Looking for these?”. It was the bag where he hid his girl clothes in the back of the closet. Mom said “you took one of my teddies without asking.
Rex almost started crying. He said “I wish I WAS a girl! I'm sorry for stealing, I wish I didn't have to steal and hide!”.
Rex hated being called a thief “I hate stealing and sneaking, but how am I going to get girl clothes, dad won't buy them for me and I can't afford them with my quarter a week allowance.
Lois paused, stunned at the response. Rex had a point. “ I don't mind if you take from the goodwill pile or the knotted hose, but I don't like you stealing things out of my drawers. I don't mind your dressing, but I DO mind your stealing”. Rex apologized profusely and offered to give the teddy back. He'd worn it a LOT and it showed, some of the ruffles had even come off. She said “It's OK, I hated that teddy anyway, but I just wish you would ask instead of stealing”.
Lois started to react “I just don't like that you are stealing my clothes, I hated that Teddy, so you can keep it, but stop stealing, I don't want you to be a thief”. Rex looked like he had just been told his dog died. Lois could see the life draining, the smile was gone, he looked like he was about to cry. Instead, he was silent, numb, like he was dead inside. He walked into his bedroom, shut the door, and and Lois could hear him say “I just wanna die”, very quietly, to no one but himself.
Lois began to think a moment. Rex had first told her he wanted to be a girl when he was six, and at CARIH, when he stayed with the girls, he was so healthy and so happy. Could it be that Rex was really a girl inside? Was that even possible?
Lois went through some old mementos, she remembered something unusual about the little birth certificate they used to label the bassinet. When she found it, in an envelope, she pulled it out, and there it was. It was labeled “Ballard Boy?”. Lois couldn't believe her eyes, why would there be a question mark? That night she decided to talk to Tom about it.
The kids had gone to bed before Lois was finally alone with Tom, and she was getting more and more determined to find out what was going on. Lois pulled out the label, and asked “Tom, what is this about, why was there a question mark on Rex's bassinet when he was born?
Tom sighed. “When Rex was born, you had been through a hell of a labor. You had been in labor for at least 48 hours, and that didn't include the drive from Fort Collins to Denver. You were so exhausted that they had knocked you out so you could get some desperately needed rest, they were actually worried that you might go critical if you didn't get some sleep.
Lois looked very confused, “What does THAT have to do with the question mark on Rex's Bassinet?”.
Tom sighed “When they came out to tell me Rex had been born, they told me there was a problem, he had some unusual things going on down there. They weren't sure whether he was a boy or a girl. He had a penis, but it was unusually small, you've probably noticed that”
Lois nodded and smiled “Yes, I didn't really notice until Walt was born, but you're right, Rex is much smaller, almost a quarter as big as Walt.”
Tom leaned forward; “You've also noticed that Rex didn't have testicles when he was born, or even as a boy.”
Lois nooded slowly; “Yes, but the doctor told us that they just hadn't come down.”
Tom sighed, rolled his eyes, and looked straight into Lois's beautiful brown eyes, and said “That night, there were other problems too. Rex had a small penis, but he also didn't have a sack. He had lips”.
Lois squinted, hardly able to believe her ears “You mean vaginal lips?”.
Tom winced, “Exactly. The doctor said that gender ambiguity was not that rare, but that this was a more unusual case. It seems that Rex had some boy parts and girl parts.
Lois couldn't believe what she was hearing “You mean our son is really our daughter?”
Tom nodded; “Sort of like that, actually he was a bit of both. They could make him one or the other, or leave him the way he was”.
Lois looked at Tom with a sidelong glance “So you made him a boy?”
Tom nodded, expecting Lois to explode any second; “The doctor told me that he could turn her into a girl, or turn him into a boy. There was no way to tell for sure what was inside without a dangerous exploratory surgery. He said that it would be easier to turn the boy into a girl later on, but nearly impossible to turn the girl into a boy once that decision was made. I wanted to talk to you first, but the doctor told me that it needed to be done immediately, because once there was an official record one way or the other, it couldn't be changed as easily. He recommended that we go for boy. I hope I got it right, but I'm not sure.”
Lois met Rex as he came home after school. She said “Since you've been doing the laundry anyway, nobody but us has to know. If I tie stockings or pantyhose you can wash them and keep them. If I put anything in the goodwill bag, you can keep them too. That way you won't have to steal clothes that I still want to wear.
A few weeks later, something unusual happened. One night, Rex was trying to go to the bathroom, and he started having these terrible cramps. It almost felt like he had been kicked between the legs, but they were long and painful. The cramps had been getting worse for a few days. Eventually, he was in so much pain he started crying, eventually screaming in pain.
When his parents woke up, his mother gave him a laxative and a Darvon, which she used to relieve her menstrual cramps. About 2 hours later, the Darvon had kicked in, and Rex was able to push out this big “plug” about 3 inches in diameter and 4 inches long. Then came a flood, like his insides were draining. Rex wiped himself off and stood up. He looked into the bowl and realized that the liquid was reddish brown. Rex thought he had hurt something, so he called in his parents. Lois saw it and said “Oh my God, that's blood”. Dad told her everything was fine, but she should take Rex to the doctor in the morning.
The doctor did a preliminary exam, and then told Rex to wait in the waiting room. “Lois, I don't know what's wrong at the moment. You described blood that sounds like internal bleeding, but it seems like the bleeding has stopped for now. If it happens again, I want you to mark it on the calendar and call me, even if it's late at night. These may be periods.
A few minutes later, Lois came out, with a look of shock on her face. She hugged Rex as he stood up, and said “Let's go shopping”. Lois went clothes shopping at Lerner's and asked Rex what clothes he liked best. Rex picked out modern styles, shorter skirts, and pretty blouses, with satin or lace or ruffles. They almost seemed too large for Lois, but she bought them anyway.
A few days later, mom got a haircut and said she needed a wig because she hated the way her hair looked. Dad took her out and they got one that was darker than her natural hair, more like the color of Rex's hair.
Lois wore the outfit Rex chose to church and got dozens of compliments. People loved her look and told her she looked great. But when Rex did the laundry, he folded the clothes and put them away, and the next day found the blouse and skirt in the “Goodwill” pile, which meant Rex could take them, no questions asked. She also noticed that his mom had tied the knot in two pair of perfectly good pantyhose. Normally, Lois tied the knot when the hose had a run. Rex was supposed to wash them, then throw them away (or keep them).
Later, Lois bought a pair of Go-Go boots. It was almost comical. Lois had a right ankle the size of a grapefruit, so she could barely even put them on, and they were two sizes too big, but she insisted on getting them anyway. The next day, while Lois was at work, Rex got dressed up in the new blouse and skirt, a pair of underwear he had acquired from the goodwill pile, and the panty hose. Then he pulled on the boots. To his amazement, they fit beautifully. Then he put on the wig. What he saw in the mirror was the beautiful girl he had always wanted to be. He even put on some make-up, including blush, mascara, and lipstick.
Rex liked his wardrobe so much he wore it all afternoon. His brother and sister were down the block playing with friends, and Rex had volunteered to do the laundry, vacuuming, and dusting, as well as making the beds. It was so much more fun when he did it as a girl. He put his boy clothes in the hamper, just in case the kids came home early. Rex almost lost track of time. All of his chores were done and he was even doing some cooking, chopping up some veggies when he heard the voice of his sister and one of her friends. Rex ran to the bathroom, locked the bathroom door, and scrambled to get out of the clothes as fast as he could. He even hid the wig in the hamper. There were several such “Close Calls”, not to mention a few unexpected visits from Lois who would drop in for lunch, or to pick up something she forgot.
Once, she came home while Rex was vacuuming. She saw Rex in the skirt and the boots, cheerfully vacuuming the floor, in the wig. Lois just stood there and watched, silently.. When Rex turned off the vacuum, Lois said “Rex?”, Rex turned around and Lois was stunned. What she saw was a beautiful young girl, as pretty as any in his school, any in church, in fact she was almost beautiful. She had noticed that Rex seemed more graceful and at ease. She couldn't believe her eyes.
Rex ran into the bathroom and stripped everything off immediately, and changed into his boy clothes. He came back out looking like he had just been grounded for a week, or like he did when he had done something horribly wrong. Lois looked at him. She didn't know what to say. She finally came over and gave him a hug. If Rex didn't want to talk, she didn't want to force the issue. He seemed to be so afraid and so ashamed when SHE ran away. Lois was afraid she might do more harm than good. She couldn't bear to tell him that he couldn't be a girl.
Rex desperately wanted to talk, more than ever. He was coming apart inside. He wanted to tell his mom again how much he wanted to be a girl, he wanted to be her daughter. The girl inside was screaming to come out and LIVE! She wanted to go out and play, she wanted friends, she wanted to be loved, accepted and acknowledged.
Rex misinterpreted his mother's silence as rejection. She didn't even want to acknowledge the girl inside. The girl wanted to scream, to cry, to do anything to be recognized. Instead, there was silence and denial.
That night, Rex asked his mom “If I had been a girl, what would you have named me?”. Lois hoped that this might be the opening. “I liked Louise, your dad's mom's name was Gladys, your Aunt was named Ernestine after your grandfather but we called her Suzy because she hated it so much. Rex wrinkled his face “So they would have called me Lou? Or worse?”. Mom said “your grandmother's name was Fern, and her mother's name was Eunice, but I didn't like those either”. Suddenly, the conversation was over. Silence.
After a few weeks, Rex even ventured outside for short walks. He looked like a girl, and in the boots, with their 2 inch heels, he even walked like a girl, but even more gracefully than usual. During the summer, Walt and Diane were down the street playing with friends, and the last thing they wanted to do is help Rex with housework, so Rex had the house all to himself. He spent most of the summer dressed as a girl, looking and acting very much like the perfect little housewife. Rex still tried to get back to boy mode before his mother came home. He was afraid that if she caught him, she would take away all his girl clothes and make him go back to being a boy all the time. For the first time in a long time, Rex was really happy, and it showed in his health. Rex hadn't had a single asthma attack in over six months and the psychologist was ready to declare the research a smashing success. Rex would be one of the featured cases when the study was written up.
Lois seemed to be much happier, and was really enjoying her job. That summer, something miraculous happened. Neither Rex, nor Lois, had been to the hospital in almost 6 months. Lois and Tom started talking to Rex about Jesus. Of course, by this time, Rex knew quite a bit about Jesus. He had read the bible several times, and his grandfather had read him all 4 gospels at least a half dozen times. But now his parents were asking if Rex wanted to have a personal relationship with Jesus, if he wanted Jesus to be part of his life. Rex said “I've always wanted him to be part of my life, and I know he helps me, but what are you talking about?”. They asked Rex if he would like to be saved, and to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Rex knew the stories about Peter and the Apostles being baptized, and preaching in everybody's language. Lois said “You are old enough to make that decision for yourself, but it has to be your decision. Rex told his parents that of course he wanted to be saved. So together they said the prayer and Rex was saved.
Tom and Lois took Rex to a group of Pentecostal Christians, who had formed a group. They performed miracle healing, and many other things. Many miracles were performed, and Rex continued to go to the meetings through the summer. Rex asked God again the prayer that he had prayed thousands of times, “God, if you want me to be a boy, let me be happy being a boy, but if you want me to be a girl, help me be a girl”. It was the prayer that had never been answered. Could God really want him to be stuck in this limbo between boy and girl? How could God possibly use that to his advantage?
Rex had been wishing, praying, and hoping to be a girl. He wished on first star of the night, on the shooting stars he saw in the mountains, on 4 leaf clovers, when he won the winning part of the drumstick, and blowing out the candles. He had even looked up books on spiritual magic and even found a few library books on black magic, and read the stories about Don Giovanni, Don Juan, and Foust. Rex was tempted by the thought that he could sell his soul to the devil and become a girl, but he realized that such things had a horrible cost, and he'd already seen enough “previews of hell” to decide that this was not an option. If God didn't want to make him a boy, or a girl, Rex could not risk selling his soul.
The first day of school turned out to be a trip to the hospital. Rex eagerly hopped out of bed and crumbled like wet paper. He ended up on the floor, and he couldn’t get up. He started puking and a few seconds later had soiled his underpants, and much of the floor. Lois came in, trying to get him to hurry up, only to see him laying on his side on the floor, in the mess. He could barely even talk. He said “Mom, I can't move, help me get up or they might not put me in Mr Donald's class. She felt his head and said “My God, you are burning up”. She went and got a thermometer, and a pot for him to puke in. When she pulled out the thermometer, it read 105 degrees. She called the doctor who told her, “Get to the emergency room at Children's Hospital immediately. Break speed limits if you have to”. Lois carried Rex to the bathroom, let him empty his bowls, while he puked in a pot. In a few minutes he was drained from both ends. She put him in a pair of clean pants and a T shirt, and drove him to the hospital.
When they got to the hospital, the doctors were already aware of the situation and started putting cold rags around his neck and forehead. They started an IV and took some samples of bowel and vomit. They checked his temperature every 15 minutes as it hovered. They finally determined that it was some form of dysentery and asked if Rex had been in or near stagnant water. Rex said “We were hunting frogs on lollypop lake, and I stepped on a piece of glass. It was bleeding but I washed it off in the lake water.”.
The doctor said, “Oh NO, I know what it is”. Get him to a room stat, start him on IV antibiotics, and keep his brain cooled, cold towels on his neck and head. And get a priest! He turned to Lois and said “He has shigellosis, it's a really nasty bacteria that normally decomposes dead fish and animals in a stagnant lake. If he drank it he would have a 10% chance of survival, since it's in his blood-stream, it will take a miracle. Please wait outside the room. We need to work fast if we have any chance of saving him. He's dehydrated, his fever is at 106 and if it hits 107 for more than 10 minutes, his brain will boil and he could end up mentally retarded even if he lives.
As Rex laid in the bed, stomach cramping, in pain, he suddenly felt very calm. The pain was gone, he looked down and saw the doctors working on him. Then he heard someone call his name. As he moved toward the sound he saw a long hallway going up. His grandmother was there, as well as Uncle Alec and Aunt Lois. But they were dead, how could they be talking to him and smiling at him. They told him to go toward the light. Soon other dead relatives and friends were lining up. Old Mr Fields, who Rex thought was killed by his cats, and a friend who had died in a car accident. All guided him toward the light.
Suddenly, he was at the end of the hall, and was blinded by the light. He looked and saw a group of men sitting at a table. One of them said “Would you like to stay, or go back”. Rex said “What would you like me to do Jesus?” The man said “I would like you to go back, you have many important things to do, but you can stay if you don't want to go back”. Rex said “If I go back, will I come back to heaven again?”. The man said “When the time comes, you will always be welcome back”. Rex said “If that's what you want, then I will go back”.
Suddenly, Rex was screaming. He couldn't see because his head was covered with a diaper soaked in ice cold water. So was the rest of his body. He started thrashing, trying to get the freezing cold diapers off. The doctor looked shocked and said “Oh my God, you're back! We thought we'd lost you for a few minutes”. There was a priest standing next to the bed, the diaper was put over his head because they thought Rex was dead. The priest stepped back and the doctors started checking vitals. The temperature had dropped to 103. They continued putting on the diapers and began a second IV. They put a full syringe of antibiotics into each IV, and tried to keep Rex from throwing off the icy blankets.
The doctor called Lois in, and told her “It was close, we thought we'd lost him, but it looks like he's going to make it back to the world of the living. It will take several days to get rid of the infection, but now that we know what we're dealing with, we have a good chance of licking it.
Lois held Rex's hand and cried. Saying “Thank you God, thank you for another of your miracles”. She held his hand and sang softly. When Rex fell asleep, she went out for a cigarette, she came back, and Rex said “mom, where have you been?”. Lois said “I was here just a few minutes ago, don't you remember?”. Rex said “wasn't that yesterday?”. Time was gone. Rex seemed to have no idea what day or time it was. He had only been in the hospital for a few hours, but it seemed like days. The doctor was worried that Rex might have suffered brain damage, and said “We'll have to wait and see”. They had to keep Rex in diapers for several day because he was too dehydrated and tired to use the bedpan. He had lost nearly a third of his body weight, and his bones were visible almost everywhere. Rex even drew a self portrait of himself. One of the doctors even remarked “You have big hips, like a girl”. Rex smiled and said “Like a girl!”.
The recovery took about 3 weeks, and by the time Rex returned to school, the other kids were almost shocked to see how thin he was. He looked almost like a ghost. But Rex seemed to be happier, more content. He still didn't want to play with the boys, and often stayed close to the teachers or chased grass-hoppers in the playground.
Rex was also having trouble with math, so he took a special remedial math. It was more like a recipe, so that he could do smaller bits of multiplication and simpler addition, to get the correct answer. Rex caught up quickly. He liked the math teacher, Mr Houser, who gave him lots of encouragement. Rex was reading at college level, and writing at high school level, but his math skills, especially computational skills, were just barely at grade level. Rex also loved science and made a beautiful diorama to show ecology. He also loved art, especially perspective drawing. He did put a gouge into his arm when carving leather tiles to make print pads, but that was fixed with a few stitches. Rex still stayed after school, and even tried to play basketball because Mr Donald was coaching the team and thought that because Rex was so tall, he would be a good player. Rex's heart wasn't into it though, and he spent most of the games reading comic books or science books. Eventually, he just dropped out. The other boys were glad Rex didn't want to play because he was terrible at it.
Rex continued to get cramps and bleeding stools about once every full moon. It was becoming routine and Rex could tell when they were about to start, and would take a laxative to ease the passing of the plug. The cramps were still incredible, like his insides were being rearranged. However, his parents seemed to take it in stride. Often, Lois would give him the Darvon or Darvoset to get him through the cramps. The pattern became very predictable, and soon Lois would buy a box of ex-lax when she bought tampons and made sure Rex took them. When Rex asked why, she said “I don't want you keeping me up all night”.
Rex tried to push the issue, wearing slips or his teddy to bed, letting his spaghetti straps show, hoping that SOMEONE would be willing to talk to him about his desire to be a girl. One time, Tom even came in, tucked him in and Rex, still asleep used his tongue in the kiss. Yet his parents continued to ignore the rhinoceros in the living room.
With Walt and Diane playing down the street all day long, and no desire to do chores, and Lois working full time, Rex found it much easier to spend the entire day dressed as a girl, doing housework, cleaning, vacuuming, making beds, and https://www.google.com/maps/place/Gay+%26+Lesbian+Switchboard+Houstonfirstname.lastname@example.org,-95.384816,15z/data=!4m3!3m2!1s0x0:0x294211e48ec873ec!4b1doing laundry.
Rex started wearing panties under his pants that summer. It almost blew up in his face when some older kids wanted to scrub him. Scubbing was a ritual that all 6th graders were supposed to go through and involved being stripped to your undershorts, covered with lipstick, and then taking your pants or shorts. Some kids would keep the scrub on for a few days. When they approached Rex, he was with his friend Mark, and didn't want Mark to know that he was dressed like a girl under his pants. So Rex lied and said “I'm not a 6th grader, I'm a 5th grader. It was a close call, and Rex wished he could have gotten it over with so he wouldn't have to worry about it again.
Rex also went on long “bike hikes”, often as far as 30 miles each way, pausing only for water, and having a snack on the way back. Rex loved the peace and quiet of the back roads, and he loved the way riding his bicycle made his legs so long and smooth. Sometimes, they would see airplanes flying low, and sometimes even helicopters. One time he even saw a helicopter that didn't seem to make any noise at all. As it flew by about a mile from the isolated road, there was no noise at all, until it started to fly over a hill, and then it made the usual rotor noise.
Rex also enjoyed swimming, and had reached the point where he could swim 50 meters under water. He loved to do the breast stroke and the side stroke, and could often swim for 2-3 hours without a break. He even tried the high dive, but spread his legs as he jumped and hurt himself. He did enjoy diving from the low board. Sometimes, he would dive from the low board and swim as far as he could underwater. He usually got in trouble when he did, and most of the time, he had to come up because he couldn't swim around the crowded shallow part of the pool.
Later that summer, Rex wore the teddy under his pants and t-shirt. One time, he was climbing a tree to a tree-house in another boy's yard when the boy saw the teddy. He said “what's that” and Rex said “a teddy”. The other boy said “Oh my God, you're a FAIRY, get out of here”. Word traveled fast and by the time school started in Jr High, would EVERBODY know?