Set Her Free

Harry Styles has known something is wrong with him for most of his life. He's wicked smart and really nice, but people don't hang out with him. He gets called 'gay' on a daily basis, although he doesn't know what that means until third grade. He gets called 'weak' when he plays sports, because he's not good at them. He spends too much time looking at the cheerleaders. But it's not because he wants them. He wants to be one of them.

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12. Dysphoria Blues

Now, yes, Harriet did indeed have plans to win them over so they wouldn't be as shocked. She knew just exactly how she was gonna go about it, too. Drop hints, but they couldn't be too subtle because that would pass right over their heads. Harriet loved all of the boys, she really did, but they could be so stupid.

But instead of executing the plan of asking Louis if he wanted to go to the mall so she could show him her fondness for clothes, she came down with something for the first time.

Dysphoria.

The dictionary definition for this term was 'An emotional state characterized by anxiety, depression, or unease.' but for Harriet?

Hell.

Pure and utter hell.

She had been in the middle of looking for another voice tutorial to help get rid of her deep voice when it had suddenly struck her.

'Am I really a girl, or is this all just in my head?'

'Am I fooling myself?'

'Am I just confused?'

'Do I only want to have my friends' attention for once?'

Harriet began to think, hard, shutting off her laptop. The only way she moved for about three hours was to change position on her bed.

But she has to be a girl. It's not right for her like this, she knows that. She can't even get off right.

Or maybe she's just really fucked up and needs some form of help.

But no, no, no way. She felt like this when she was younger, too.

But why was it not okay for her to have a bra that day she turned thirteen?

Harriet wasted about an hour trying to figure out the answer to this question without the Internet, just trying to use her head instead of having the online answers influence her. And just like that, it dawned on her.

Because people have gender expectations.

If you see a little girl playing with dolls and wanting princesses, she was fulfilling her gender expectations. It was what society had deemed normal. And yet if you saw a little boy doing the same thing, you would think or hope that it was a phase, pray he doesn't 'turn out gay', or drag him away from what he wants.

If you saw a little boy playing with toy cars or making action figures blow themselves up, you would consider him normal. If you saw a little girl doing the same thing, well...she'd be a tom-boy. Girls do have it a bit easier in that area, but it would only make it harder to come out to people when it was time.

Those were the normal expectations.

If you were as homophobic as the people in Harriet's town were and you saw a woman in men's clothes, talking with a deep voice, etc. but it was still obvious that they had a vagina, some would vaguely wonder if she ever got out of her tomboy stage. If you saw a man dressed like he had breasts, talking in a slightly higher pitched voice, etc., but you could see their bulge, you would say one of four things, if not all. Of course, everybody has different reactions, but when you're trans-phobic...

1. He needs some form of help.

2. He must be dressed in drag for a laugh. Maybe he was dared, or lost a bet. Poor guy.

3. Ew ew ew ew get that gross nasty ladyboy away from me ewwwww!

4. This faggot must be trying to get guys for his gay ass. Let's go teach him a lesson.

There was no way to win unless she could pass.

But again, what if this really was just all in her head?

She continued this line of thinking for the rest of the day, unable to make any whisper of a plan to come out to her friends after twelve years of knowing each other.

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