School Girls

It's a pleasant stroll along some creek paths and backstreets to my favourite Indian spice shop. We needed more of their excellent basmati rice, and that's how I came to be walking past a playground in a creek reserve just after school today. Two Catholic school girls, long hair, skirts well below the knees, where goofing around on one of those multi-person swings that send you in sometimes unexpected directions depending on which way your friends are moving. It happened as I was walking past and the sudden sideways spin provoked a pair of half terrified - half delighted squawks from the two girls. Except that one of those squawks sounded like it was modulated by a Y chromosome. They froze as they saw me, the taller one seeming to steel herself. This, more than her body morphology, suggested my intuition she was transgender was correct. I nodded and said "G'day" as I walked past, and both of them visibly relaxed.

Two sweet kids having fun on a swing. If a suburban Catholic school can accommodate this child, what on earth is the Prime Minister's problem with transgender kids?

I spent the last kilometre wondering what it would have been like as a child to have been accepted for who I was, instead of having to fit into what the district considered appropriate for males or risk having the shit beaten out of me. One of my friends told me that by the time they had worked out who they were—what was going on—"it was too late to transition." I didn't understand why that was, but now I think I understand some of it. I am so enculturated as a male that it seems impossible to be anything else. But I am not male. I scrape along most of the time, but sometimes it's like the over-wet winter I shoved my bare feet into my Dad's rubber boots to clear up some mud. My feet were blistered and my legs ached because everything was the wrong shape. I didn't fit. That's how I feel about me, sometimes; I don't match the shape I'm supposed to wear, and it doesn't seem possible to change. I'm stuck inside myself where I don't fit, and can't get out. And I grieve for what might have been.

I'd spotted a short cut to get back into the creek, and I took this on the way back. It took me closer to the two girls, still chatting. I smiled at the taller girl who gave me a radiant smile in return.

The Prime Minister wants you to hate her. He wants you to pretend that all our problems are caused by sweet kids who are trying to sort themselves out. He can't get away with anti-gay and anti-lesbian dog whistles anymore, and it's getting electorally risky to pick on Muslim folk, because they have enough votes to cause him trouble. So he sacrifices the trans kids to the mob so that the mob won't go for him and hold him responsible for his appalling* government. He dresses it up in a veneer of religion, a religion which is a perversion and a betrayal of the Christ who would rather die than let people be excluded by the elites.

Andrew Prior (May 2022)

*Mike Carlton called them "the most corrupt, incompetent government in our history"


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