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Learning about identity via an online friendship

26th April, 2017   |    By Ingrid   |    2 min read

I remember one particular story from when I was in year three.

A princess wore a bag over her head because she was covered in pimples, and didn’t want her prince to see.

The book then taught us that appearances don’t matter, because there’s so much more to a person than just looks.

This year I met a boy online. His name is Isaac.

He lives in Ireland, we play games and laugh and his personality is beautiful.

That is, if you consider tolerating my bad puns as “beautiful” (and I do).

But when I tell people that he’s my friend and I had a crush on him I get looks.

I see them recoil in horror and they ask me in hushed tones whether I know what I’m doing. Whether I’m gay.

Perhaps I should explain.

I am heterosexual; I’m attracted to people of the opposite gender.

And Isaac is of the opposite gender.

He is also, incidentally, biologically female.

Does that change our friendship, our feelings – no!

People in the transgender community are constantly forced to feel disgusted inside their own bodies.

It hurts me that Isaac is regularly told to kill himself!

At least once a week, a human being goes out of their way to wish death upon my friend because they were born in a body that they would give anything to change.

I remember one night, Isaac woke me up at 4:00am so I could reassure him that he was male, because someone had told him he wasn’t allowed to use a public bathroom, and threatened to kill him if he went in.

Living in Canberra means I’ve never really noticed this sort of issue before.

Of course I’ve held my tongue in front of less open-minded people, but for the most part the ACT is a safe place for people to be who they are.

Meeting Isaac was an eye-opener, because being transgendered in many other parts of the world, my trans friends tell me, is a completely different experience.

It’s sometimes very disappointing that the world’s not the happy, accepting bubble it should be.

If there’s any way I’m “gay” around Isaac, it’s that I’m happy – and I don’t intend to give that up.

A work by Ingrid Brett – part of ABC Heywire. Take a look at Ingrid’s original Heywire entry here.

 


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Sexuality
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