Introductory notes; The following piece is an extract from my novel "Sarah's Garden". It is not a work of erotica as such so if you've come here looking for erotic stimulation then I apologise. Instead this piece is posted as a sort of exploratory discussion of transgenderism. Since I have been posting my work on this site I have had the privilege of meeting many kind people on here who have expressed an interest in transgendered people and why they are what they are. It became apparent that this is a greatly misunderstood subject and, since misunderstanding is frequently the source of prejudice and bigotry, I thought it might be useful to post this extract in which I hope to show the origins of transgenderism and the problems of somebody growing up transgendered.
The storyline in this instance concerns a young transgendered c***d. I hasten to point out that this in no way reflects any attempt to sexually exploit c***dren which I would personally find repugnant. Instead it attempts to demonstrate that transgenderism is something that is evident in the majority of cases from a very young age and aims to plead for compassion and understanding for the young person who grows up in the realisation that somehow they are a different gender inside to the one which is visibly apparent from their external appearance. Such compassion and understanding is well overdue. The death rate among young transgendered people is shockingly high. It is estimated that nearly fifty percent of all transgendered people in the United States either commit suicide or die the victims of violent crime. This then is simply a heartfelt plea that the transgendered person is after all just another human being with perhaps a slightly different journey through life but who deserves the same respect and understanding as anybody else.
Sarah’s new f****y was much on her mind the following day although she certainly did not anticipate how the events of that day would have far reaching consequences for that f****y. Daniela and she were happily rummaging through catalogues of c***dren’s furniture and discussing net curtains with Elrika, their house lady. The intelligence that Daniela’s daughter was coming to live with them had galvanised the old lady and she was visibly excited. Elrika adored c***dren but nature had been unkind to her. Her only daughter had died young and without bequeathing any grandc***dren to her. It seemed as if little Elizabeth when she arrived would find herself not only in possession of a second mother but an extra surrogate grandmother as well. Sarah rather suspected that the old lady would spoil Elizabeth rotten but she hadn’t the heart to dampen her enthusiasm. She’d spent the whole morning scrubbing down the attic room destined to be Elizabeth’s quite oblivious to Daniela’s protests that the task was superfluous since they were intending to redecorate it in any case. Now she was laying out lengths of curtain material on the kitchen table and discussing their merits in exhaustive detail. The making and design of net curtains was something of an art form in rural Switzerland but the finer points of the mysteries of d****ry had rather eluded Sarah. Doubtless they could have simply purchased perfectly adequate ready-made curtains for Elizabeth’s room at a lower cost and a fraction of the hassle but it seemed unkind to overrule Elrika’s input into the familial expansion and now curtain making was officially a part of her domestic portfolio. Elrika was deeply content.
She was not alone in that. In fact domestic bliss reigned in the household. Daniela had phoned America that morning and talked to both her parents and Elizabeth. Plans were already in an advanced state. They were provisionally looking at a date in early November for Elizabeth’s arrival. That was only a few weeks away. There was a lot to do. It was exciting.
In truth Sarah would have preferred to spend the afternoon in town buying decorating materials and perhaps furnishings but that was not an option today for they had a commitment. The lady that Peter and Simon were considering employing was due to arrive at two o’clock. Simon had phoned this morning to confirm the interview having consulted the lady concerned. Sarah had then phoned Nicole to remind her to put in a token appearance. That conversation had been amusing. Nicole’s parents had seemingly taken Charmaine into the bosom of the f****y like a second daughter. She and Nicole were invited over the following weekend for Sunday dinner! Nicole was grumbling about it but her disgruntlement was transparent. The evening before had been a triumph and Nicole’s relief and happiness were obviously apparent even while she moaned about the obligations of f****y duty.
Sarah felt a warm glow of satisfaction every time she thought about the evening before. Nicole’s f****y’s embracement of her sexuality, standing as it did in stark contrast to Sarah’s, was deeply gratifying and the evening had been merry and full of camaraderie. At the end of the meal they’d been joined by Elke and her partner Angelica and lingered long over coffee and liqueurs. In a sense it had been more than just about Nicole’s f****y. There had been the real feeling of an extended f****y; a sort of meta-f****y of dear friends belonging to a specific community. Sarah and Daniela had told Mr and Mrs Richardson and Elke and Angelica about Elizabeth’s anticipated arrival and there had been universal enthusiasm. Angelica had some big k**dy bean bags and wall d****s she wanted to contribute to the furnishing of Elizabeth’s room and Elke was talking about throwing a k**’s party at the hotel for Elizabeth’s arrival so that she could meet some new friends. Simon and Peter were offering material assistance in the matter of some repairs that Daniela and Sarah had identified as necessary and even Mr Richardson had weighed in with an offer of help. Apparently he had friends in the furniture business who could do them a good price on bunk beds. Mrs Richardson had an even more astonishing offer. She was still in possession of a k**’s dressing table; a sort of play version of a grown up lady’s dressing table complete with play cosmetics and accessories and an illuminated mirror. It had previously belonged to Nicole and Mrs Richardson hadn’t had the heart to throw it away or sell it. Nicole was slightly miffed about this offer. She’d loved that little dressing table when she was a k** and felt secretly a little aggrieved that her mother was just giving it away without her consent. The general pulling together of all their friends in the common cause had extended even further this morning. Not only was Elrika throwing herself into the fray on behalf of young Elizabeth but Hans-Ruedi, the old handy-man that pottered about in the garden, was now talking about fixing up and repainting an old garden shed that was currently not being used and converting it into a little Wendy House for Elizabeth and her friends. There was no doubt about it... Elizabeth was going to be spoiled!
Sarah glanced up at the clock on the kitchen wall. It was just approaching twelve o’clock. She caught Daniela’s attention. “If you’re going to drive down to Buchs you’re going to have to go soon Danny.” she told her, “Otherwise you’ll not be back in time for when this lady arrives.”
Daniela nodded at the wisdom of this. She had errands to run in Buchs and she’d been putting them off all morning. Now she was cutting it a little fine, for the interview with Simon and Peter’s proposed employee was at two o’clock. She pushed her catalogue aside decisively. “You’re right! I’d better get going.” She turned to Elrika. “Do you need anything from town while I’m down there Elrika?”
“Nein danke Fraulein.”
Sarah clicked her tongue. “Don’t be taking any more commissions on Danny! You’ll be pushed for time as it is.”
Daniela stood up. “Ok I’ll get going. Where are the keys for the BMW sweetheart?”
“In the bowl on the hall table where they always are!”
Daniela grinned. “I know! I just keep hoping that one day you’ll let your hair down and do something completely radical like hiding them where nobody can find them!”
Sarah poked her tongue out at Daniela. “I can’t help it if I like to be organised.”
Daniela laughed and bent to kiss her. “I think you’re just lovely!” She held her hands up. “Ok, ok! I’m going!”
“Try to be back by two o’clock Danny.”
“I will do honey. Look if by any chance I do get delayed just make my apologies and entertain this lady until I arrive ok?”
“Oh for God’s sake don’t be long. I won’t know what the hell to say to her.”
“I shan’t be long I promise. Ok I’m out of here!”
For the next hour or so Sarah busied herself making sure the living room was spotless and tidy enough to receive guests and then ran through an inventory of light refreshments in the kitchen. She was gratified to note that there was still some diet coke and a tub of vanilla ice cream in the fridge so at least she would be able to offer the lady’s little boy something. Despite her meticulous preparations however Sarah was still caught by surprise for it was only twenty to two when the door bell rang. Sarah jumped up flustered and hastened to the front door.
The lady stood nervously at the front door was a slim attractive brunette with a kind but somewhat careworn face. Clutching her hand and trying to hide behind her was a young c***d peering fearfully around the shield of its mother. The lady was clearly ill at ease. “I’m very sorry.” she stammered, “But is this the house of Miss Devin?”
Sarah smiled reassuringly at her. “Yes that’s right.”
The lady held out her hand. “I’m Jacqueline Morel. I have an appointment to see Miss Devin. I’m afraid I’m a bit early though. I wasn’t sure if I could find the house so I set off early. I hope I haven’t inconvenienced you.”
Sarah took the proffered hand warmly. She liked the look of this young woman. There was something gentle and warm hearted about her. She felt like the kind of person you would instinctively like to have as a friend. “Not at all!” she reassured the lady. “I’m afraid Daniela isn’t home at the moment though. She had to drive down to town for some things. She assured me that she’d be back by two o’clock so if you don’t mind waiting a little while...”
The lady smiled. “Of course not. Er you must be Sarah.”
Sarah nodded. “Yes that’s right I’m...” Sarah hesitated for a moment. “I’m Daniela’s partner.”
“I’m very pleased to meet you Miss. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
Sarah laughed. “Good things I hope!”
Sarah smiled at the young c***d still trying to hide behind its mother. “And this is?”
The lady took a deep breath. “Er this is Chrissie.” She urged the c***d forward gently. “Don’t be rude now Chrissie. Say hello to the lady.”
Chrissie poked a hand out timidly and muttered a tentative “Hello Fraulein.”
Sarah shook the hand gently. “Chrissie? Is that short for something?”
Chrissie’s mother intervened hastily. “Er just Chrissie Miss.” She caught Sarah’s eye and flashed a warning. “It’s really Christian but he doesn’t like to be called that.” The little boy seemed to cringe as his mother forwarded this information and for a horrible moment Sarah thought he was going to burst into tears. There was something odd and something very wrong with this little boy. It was difficult to put your finger on it. Able to see him clearly for the first time Sarah found herself fascinated by him. He was small for his age, very slender and delicate with big brown eyes full of timidity and a touch of sadness. He was clearly unhappy but he could in no way be thought to be neglected or not well looked after. He was spotlessly clean and clearly in his best clothes. The only thing about him that perhaps hinted at neglect was his hair. It was immaculately brushed and clean but it was far too long for a young boy. It fell well over his shoulders. It was not unattractive by any means for he had thick brown hair with a natural wave and a healthy gloss. “What a curious c***d!” Sarah thought to herself. She struggled to find a word in her mind to describe him and the only one that came to mind was pretty. Pretty! The little boy was undoubtedly pretty with his delicate features and long brown hair. But little boys weren’t supposed to be pretty! They could be amusing, endearing... cute even... but you didn’t describe them as pretty! Sarah smiled at him. “Chrissie then. What lovely hair you have Chrissie.” she ventured experimentally.
Amazingly the little boy’s face lit up and he looked pathetically grateful. His mother sighed apologetically. “He won’t let me cut it!” she told Sarah in exasperation. “Every time we go to the hairdressers he throws a tantrum because he thinks I’m going to have his hair cut off!”
Sarah’s antennae were up and waving by now and flashing warning signals at her. Cautiously she reached out to touch the luxurious brown locks of Chrissie’s hair. “Well it’s nice hair.” She told the little boy. For the first time, Chrissie smiled at Sarah shyly and bit his lip. Sarah straightened up. “But please come in both of you. Let me take your coats and I’ll see if I can rustle up some coffee.”
Courteously Sarah ushered Jacqueline and Chrissie into the living room. Jacqueline looked around in admiration. “What a lovely house you have.” she remarked feelingly.
Sarah smiled in agreement. “Yes. I love it. It’s a lot of work though because it’s so big. It’s an old guesthouse originally called the Edelweiss. Some of the rooms were originally dormitories and they’re enormous. Danny uses one of them as her dance studio!”
Jacqueline bit her lip. “May I be honest Sarah?”
“I’m actually bricking it at the thought of meeting Miss Devin. I had no idea that Peter and Simon’s business partner was somebody so famous. I nearly peed myself this morning when Simon phoned up and said that she wanted to meet me!”
Sarah laughed. She found herself liking this lady more and more. “Please don’t concern yourself Jacqueline. Danny’s no prima donna diva! She’s a lovely friendly down to earth person. You’ll get on just fine with her.” Sarah waved a hand at sofas and armchairs around the coffee table. “Look take a seat and I’ll see to coffee.” Once Jacqueline and her odd son were seated Sarah rushed into the kitchen. Elrika was still pottering about. “Elrika!” breathed Sarah hastily. “Would you be an absolute darling? Our guest has arrived early and Danny’s not back to greet her. I don’t want to leave her alone so would you be a sweetheart and make us some coffee and biscuits or something?”
“Ja, ja! Don’t you worry liebchen. I’ll see to all that.”
“Thanks Elrika!” Sarah dashed back to the living room. “Coffee will be a few minutes.” she told Jacqueline.
Jacqueline raised an eyebrow. “You have servants?”
Sarah laughed. “Oh God no! Nothing so grand! We have an old lady who helps out with the housekeeping part time is all. She’s offered to make the coffee so I don’t have to rudely leave you to your own devices.”
Jacqueline was apologetic. “I’m sorry. I didn’t wish to sound presumptuous. I don’t really have much idea how the rich and famous live.”
Sarah smiled at her. “Neither have I Jacqueline! At least I had no idea until this summer past when I met Danny. Even now we don’t really live ostentatiously. Oh we have a big house and Danny has a Ferrari but other than that we live quite simply actually. We don’t exactly live in the fast lane. We’re a bit boring actually!”
Jacqueline looked unconvinced. “It doesn’t sound boring to me!” she declared. “I mean you’re the partner of one of the most famous celebrities in Switzerland.” She blushed. “I’m sorry! It’s none of my business how you live of course but I can’t help myself being curious. I’m a big fan of Daniela Devin actually. I’ve got all her records. That’s why I’m so nervous about meeting her.”
“Please don’t be. She doesn’t bite!”
Jacqueline grinned ingenuously. “Chrissie really likes Daniela’s music as well.” She told Sarah. “He keeps a poster of her in his bedroom! He’s a bit shy but he’s excited about meeting her.”
Sarah smiled at the strange little boy. “Well if you ask Daniela nicely Chrissie I’m sure she’d love to sign a poster for you. Would you like that?” The little boy bit his thumb timidly but his eyes were sparkling and he nodded eagerly. Sarah found her attention constantly wavering toward Chrissie. She still couldn’t quite put her finger on what exactly was so singularly unusual about him. There was something incongruous about him as if what you were seeing was not the whole story. There was something deeper to him; something showing superficially on the surface but not overtly recognised. This was a little boy with a secret. Even his mother seemed a little discomfited by him in a strange way as if she feared he might embarrass himself. Sarah was fascinated by him. There was something about his gestures; his postures; even the way he walked that just didn’t fit with the image of the well dressed young boy he outwardly appeared to be. The elusive nature of him was nagging at the back of Sarah’s mind. Sarah shook the thoughts from her mind and turned to his mother. “Peter and Simon said you come from Graubunden originally Jacqueline.”
“Yes I’m from the Engadin actually; not far from Sils.”
Sarah was pleasantly surprised. The Engadin was the upper valley of the river Inn in the very south east corner of Switzerland. Sarah had visited the region several times. It was a beautiful mountainous region containing the famous resort of St Moritz. “Oh so you speak Romansh then?” Sarah asked. Romansh was the fourth official language of Switzerland spoken by a tiny minority of people in the Confederation exclusively in the Canton of Graubunden.
Jacqueline nodded. “Yes I speak some. My mother speaks Oberengadish or Puter but most people speak German as well. My father is from the Lower Valais though and speaks French naturally.”
“A real multi-lingual f****y then?”
Jacqueline laughed and it lit her face up with warmth. Sarah had the feeling that this was a lady who needed to laugh more often. “I suppose so.” she conceded. “I was brought up with a real mix of languages at home. I suppose that’s what gave me my dexterity with languages. As well as Romansh, German and French I also speak Italian. My last job was in a hotel in the Bergell where I mostly spoke Italian.”
Sarah nodded. “I know the Bergell. I went on holiday there once with my father.” The Bergell was a curious little steep sided valley; the upper valley of the River Mera which flowed from the Maloja Pass at the extreme western end of the Engadine into Italy. There was a forgotten feeling to the little valley cut off from the rest of Switzerland by the mountains and Sarah had found its isolation charming. Sarah grinned. “Maybe you could help me with my Italian.” she remarked. “My parents live in the Ticino and I always have to speak Italian when I go down there. I can speak it somewhat but it’s not my best language I’m afraid.”
Jacqueline regarded her shyly. “I speak some English as well. I understand that you and your partner are both English. We can speak English if you’re more comfortable with that.”
Sarah laughed and shook her head. “We’re only part English Jacqueline. My mother is English and my father is Swiss. I was born in England but I’ve spent nearly all of my life right here in the Toggenburg. As for Danny she’s even more of a mixture. Her mother is part English and part Swiss German while her father is half American and half Swiss French. Danny lived a lot longer in England though so she’s a bit more naturalised to England than I am. We’re pretty much multi-cultural hybrids though.”
Jacqueline puckered her brow inquiringly. “Is it true that Daniela has a c***d as well?”
“Yes she has a young daughter who lives with her grandparents in California for the moment. That’s about to change however. She’s coming over to Switzerland to live with us in the near future.”
Jacqueline’s eyebrows rose with interest. “Oh really?” Then she lowered her eyes. “I’m sorry. I’m being nosy again!”
Before Sarah could elaborate on her current favourite topic of conversation they were interrupted by Elrika bearing a tray holding cups, saucers, cream, sugar, coffee pot, a glass of coke for the young boy and a plate of biscuits. Sarah politely served coffee before resuming the conversation. “So what brings you to the Toggenburg Jacqueline?” she asked.
Jacqueline pulled a wry face and took a breath. She looked sad. “Escape I suppose. Things were not good for me or Chrissie back home. There was a lot of talk about us and... well people can be pretty cruel sometimes. Chrissie had trouble at school because... well because of the way he is and I thought we both deserved a fresh start. I spent some time in the Toggenburg years ago and I always remembered it as a place where I found some peace and tranquillity. I suppose I came here to try and rediscover that peace. The last couple of years have been a bit rough on both of us. I don’t really know anybody in the Toggenburg so that was a positive. I just wanted a place where we wouldn’t be prejudged. Most of all, I want a safe place for my son; somewhere where he isn’t known and he can make a fresh start.”
“Won’t he miss his friends in Graubunden?”
“He didn’t have any friends in Graubunden Sarah. I had to pull him out of two different schools and most people who had c***dren his age we knew didn’t want to let their k**s play with him.”
Sarah was shocked. “That’s awful!”
Jacqueline nodded. “As I said people can be pretty cruel.” She reached out to stroke her son’s hair fondly. “I’m sure he’s going to make some real friends here though. We don’t need those people back home. I hope we can both make some real friends here. We deserve another chance.” Impulsively Jacqueline hugged her son. Sarah found her protectiveness endearing. However odd the little boy might be there was no doubt that his mother loved him very much. Feeling a little awkward and not at all sure how to proceed, Sarah was relieved to hear the front door. She glanced at the clock. Daniela had been true to her word. It was almost exactly two o’clock.
As Daniela entered the living room Sarah jumped up to introduce their guests. Jacqueline rose courteously if a little nervously to take Daniela’s hand. Sarah was watching them interestedly. As she had expected Jacqueline melted visibly under Daniela’s formidable charm as she greeted her and apologised for her absence. Even more gratifying to Sarah was to observe Daniela’s reaction to Jacqueline. Although Daniela was invariably charming to anyone she met Sarah was coming to know her well enough to detect when she took a liking to somebody on first acquaintance. Daniela shared with Sarah the instinctive ability to warm immediately to somebody who was just basically a good person. Sarah was even more interested to see how Daniela would react to little Chrissie. The little boy was visibly shaking with a comical mixture of dread and excitement as Sarah introduced him. Under his mother’s urging he offered a limp hand to Daniela with the curiously odd mannerism that seemed characteristic of him but he seemed too awestruck to be able to speak. “Chrissie here is one of your biggest fans Danny!” Sarah told her with a smile.
“Really?” Daniela’s eyes were dancing. Triumphantly Sarah realised that Daniela was as fascinated with the little boy as she was. She took the little boy’s hand and turned on her biggest and most heart melting smile. “Well I am lucky!” she declared. “It’s not every day I get to meet one of my biggest fans! I shall have to be on my best behaviour!” Chrissie smiled shyly quite clearly entranced by the vision of the object of his adoration in the flesh before him.
With a laugh Sarah relieved Daniela of her shopping bags. “I’ll put this stuff away.” she volunteered. “Why don’t you all sit down and I’ll grab an extra cup for you Danny.”
Daniela nodded. “Yes let’s do that.” She took Chrissie’s hand. “Why don’t you come and sit with me on the sofa Chrissie?” The little boy beamed hugely but he could only nod dumbly.
It took a few minutes to stow away the provisions in the kitchen and when Sarah returned with an extra cup she found the atmosphere considerably more relaxed. Nicole had once remarked jokingly that Daniela could put a conference hall full of paranoid schizophrenics at their ease and there was a lot of truth in the statement. Jacqueline was looking visibly more comfortable and smiling more. As for little Chrissie, sat on the sofa next to Daniela and clutching her hand, he looked as if Christmas had come early this year. Daniela was taking particular interest in him and coaxing out a few mumbled words. Jacqueline was looking deeply grateful for the interest Daniela was showing in her unusual son. Reading between the lines Sarah guessed that she was unused to such a positive reaction to him. It was a positive reaction as well. Daniela’s interest went clearly beyond the natural kindness and sympathy of the warm hearted person she was. Daniela could barely take her eyes off him so clearly bewitched by him she was. As Sarah put down a cup in front of her Daniela lifted a hand to stroke Chrissie’s hair. “I was just saying to Jackie here what beautiful hair Chrissie has Sarah.” she remarked.
Sarah suppressed a smile. Daniela had wasted no time in coming to more intimate terms. Jacqueline was now firmly Jackie! “I said so as well Danny.” Sarah replied. “Apparently he won’t let his mum cut it for him!”
“That’s right.” Jacqueline confirmed. “He’s a nightmare at the hairdressers! The last time we went it took me over an hour to coax him inside and even then he made me promise not to let the hairdresser do anything more than just trim the ends!”
Daniela’s interest grew by the second. “So you like your hair long then Chrissie?” she asked him. Chrissie nodded in reply. Daniela smiled at him and took a lock of her own hair. “Well I like my hair long as well.”
Chrissie gazed in fascination at Daniela’s luxurious blond mane. “C..can I touch it?” he stammered timidly.
“Chrissie!” his mother admonished quickly. “You can’t ask Miss Devin something like that!”
Daniela laughed. “It’s alright Jackie.” she reassured her. “Of course Chrissie can touch my hair.” Chrissie reached out to stroke Daniela’s hair shyly. He stroked it gently; almost lovingly quite plainly enraptured by its long silky texture. There was almost a sense of yearning in his fascination. “Do you like my hair Chrissie?” Daniela asked the question gently but she had turned serious and Sarah could detect that she was more than casually interested in his reply.
“It... it’s beautiful.” Chrissie mumbled.
Jacqueline was ruefully apologetic. “I’m so sorry Danny. He always wants to stroke ladies’ hair. He’s got a thing about it.” Sarah frowned slightly. Jacqueline spent too much time apologising for her son.
It seemed as if Daniela thought the same for she glanced at Jacqueline and said. “Please don’t apologise Jackie. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stroke people’s hair. I find myself wanting to stroke girls’ beautiful hair all the time but I’m grown up and people frown on it a bit, apart from Sarah, and I could stroke hers all day long!”
Jacqueline blushed. “Yes but you’re....” she stopped herself in time. “I mean I don’t think it’s appropriate for him to want to stroke a girl’s hair.”
“Well because he’s a boy.”
Daniela nodded uncertainly and turned her attention back to Chrissie. “When I was a little girl I used to love to stroke my mother’s hair. She used to let me help her brush it out as well. Maybe you could help me brush mine a bit later Chrissie. I could do with the help. Hair like mine takes a lot of looking after.”
Chrissie looked eager. “Oh! Could I?”
Daniela laughed. “We’ll have to see what your mother says Chrissie.”
At this moment Elrika entered the living room. She was a lady convinced that, without her constant vigilance and left to their own devices, people of her acquaintance were all too liable to starve themselves to death. She was carrying an enormous plate of Black Forest Gateau and a fresh pot of coffee. Her entrance gave Daniela an opportunity. She smiled at Chrissie. “I happen to know that Elrika has a blueberry tart and a big tub of ice cream in the kitchen Chrissie! Would you like some?”
Daniela looked up at Jacqueline. “Is it ok if Chrissie has some ice cream?” she asked.
Jacqueline smiled. “As if I could stop him! He loves ice cream. Sure he can have some Danny. We only had a light luncheon and it’s ages until dinner.”
Daniela nodded in satisfaction. “Good! Well why don’t you go off with Elrika into the kitchen then Chrissie. Your mum and I have to talk about some boring things now.”
The lure of ice cream notwithstanding Chrissie nevertheless looked reluctant to be parted from Daniela. Elrika held out a hand invitingly. “Come along.” She urged. “When we’ve had some pop and some ice cream you can help me feed the cats and the chickens.” With the prospect of these further adventures in store Chrissie allowed himself to be led away.
Daniela’s eyes followed Chrissie all the way as Elrika led him out. When he was gone she turned to Jacqueline. “You have a very singular and remarkable c***d Jacqueline.”
Jacqueline blinked in surprise. “Oh er... do you think so?”
“Yes I do. You seemed surprised that I think so.”
Jacqueline rubbed her chin ruefully. “Well to be honest Danny that’s the first time anybody ever said that to me. I’ve heard him called a few things but never remarkable.”
“Well perhaps it is about time then that people took a better look at him Jackie. I not only think he’s remarkable but, and at the risk of being intrusive, I’m not convinced that you yourself are aware of just how extraordinary he is.”
Jacqueline gave a wistful smile. “Mothers always think their k**s are extraordinary Danny. I suppose it’s nature’s way of stopping us from strangling them when they get on our nerves. I love my son very dearly but I’m under no illusions about what other people think about him. Most people think he’s a little peculiar at best.”
Daniela laughed. “Well I can sympathise Jackie. I pretty much think my own daughter is extraordinary and she is. Some people are a little taken aback by her though. She’s so intelligent, self assured and mature that you sometimes have to pinch yourself to remind yourself that it’s a little girl you’re talking to and not a grown up! Nevertheless I stand by my opinion. I think Chrissie is a fascinating young c***d.”
Jacqueline frowned and placed her coffee cup down before collecting her thoughts. “May I ask a frank question Danny?”
“By all means.”
“Well I thought that the purpose of this interview today was about the job in the pub but Simon told me you wanted to meet my son as well. May I ask why? I mean we haven’t even mentioned the job. We seem to have talked about little else than my son.”
Daniela nodded in agreement with the justice of Jacqueline’s inquiry. “Yes that’s true Jackie and I think you deserve an honest answer. As far as the job is concerned, from a purely practical point of view, there is no question I think that you are admirably qualified and suited to the position. Simon and Peter are more than satisfied with your qualifications and references. They are of the opinion that you are a highly talented and gifted person who will be nothing but an asset to the business. However the business is more than just the particular skills and qualifications a person brings to the job. There is also the question of whether or not the people working together can get along together. That’s true in any business but it’s even more so in this case because all the people involved are already a close knit community and good friends together. That’s why Peter and Simon wanted me to meet you. I, in my turn, wanted you to meet Sarah. Sarah isn’t actually part of the business. She might well help out part time on occasion but she has her own things to be getting along with. I’m not really involved in the day to day running of the business either. I’m just putting up the money behind it. Theoretically then, there’s not the slightest reason why you should need to talk to either Sarah or myself. But we’re a tight knit little f****y and we mutually support one another. We needed to how you’d fit within that f****y. That of course includes your f****y and that means your son.”
“But why should he be relevant?”
“Well Peter and Simon were concerned about the fact that you are a single mother Jackie and, not only that but that your c***d has special needs. That’s going to put extra pressures on you regarding the job.”
Jacqueline looked stubbornly defiant. “I can cope! I’ve done it before. I really need this job!”
Daniela held up a hand. “Wait a minute Jackie. The position is not dependent on your ability to balance the requirements of being a mother with the job. I’m not here trying to ascertain whether or not you’d cope. What I’m trying to do is think of the best way of helping you to cope. This interview, if you can call it that, ceased to be about the job some time ago. We know what your qualifications are and I’ve seen all that I need to. I know that Peter and Simon think you are perfect for the job and Sarah here likes you.”
Jacqueline blinked. “Oh? Does she really?”
Daniela nodded. “Yes. I know she hasn’t said so as such but I know Sarah well enough to know when she’s taken a liking to somebody. Well that’s decisive as far as I’m concerned. You may consider yourself employed! Now all we have to do is sit down and thrash out how we’re going to make this thing work. Merely “coping” isn’t an option Jackie. We have to find a solution that helps everybody and that includes the needs of your c***d just as I have to find solutions around the needs of my own.”
“Sarah said that your c***d was coming to live with you.”
“Yes that’s right and of course it means I have to make adjustments and arrangements too. I have work obligations as well with concerts, live tours, recording contracts, videos, television appearances and so forth. I couldn’t possibly manage all that and attend to the needs of my c***d without the help of my friends and loved ones and I wouldn’t expect you to balance your work and the needs of your c***d on your own either. That’s why I wanted to see your c***d Jackie. I needed to know just what his needs were so that we could find a way to help you meet those needs. You’ve been trying to do this on your own Jackie and you shouldn’t have to. We can help you.”
For a moment Sarah thought that Jacqueline was going to cry but she mastered herself and took a deep breath. “I... I don’t know what to say Danny. Thank you! This means a great deal to me.” She paused for a few seconds to control her feelings. “I... I really wanted this job Danny and not just because I need the money. Well I do need the money of course but there was more to it than that.”
“Yes. I found out that Simon and Peter are gay and then I learn that you’re involved in the business too and I suppose all Switzerland knows that you’re gay!”
Daniela frowned. “Do you have a problem with that?”
Jacqueline shook her head vigorously. “No, no, no! Not at all! On the contrary it’s why I really wanted the job. You’ve got to understand that I don’t know any gay people. I really wanted to meet some and talk to them. I thought perhaps they might be able to advise me or at least be a bit more tolerant than the people I knew in Graubunden.”
Daniela raised an inquiring eyebrow. “Tolerant? Are you saying that you’re gay Jackie?”
“Not me Danny! My son! My son is gay!”
Daniela looked gently amused. “So you believe your son is gay then Jackie.”
“Well it’s obvious isn’t it? You just have to look at him!”
“Well I’ve looked at him Jackie and it’s not obvious to me! I think he’s a bit young to properly determine his sexual orientation don’t you? I mean how can you tell if he prefers girls or boys? Most boys his age think that girls are pretty gross whatever their sexual preferences turn out to be in later life.”
Jacqueline seemed puzzled. “But I thought from what you were saying that you thought he was gay as well.”
“I have no idea whether your son is gay Jackie. But tell me something. Why do you think he’s gay?”
“Because he’s so feminine Danny! He doesn’t act like a boy. He acts just like a girl!”
Sarah had been keeping an interested silence up until now but at this point she blurted out. “Of course! That’s it! I’ve been trying to put my finger on it ever since I first met him. He looks just like a girl dressed up as a boy! It’s his mannerisms; the way he talks, moves, even the way he walks! God he could easily be a little girl!”
Daniela nodded thoughtfully. “Yes I noticed it straight away. It’s very marked.”
Jacqueline pulled a face. “Everybody remarks on it sooner or later. It gets more marked the older he gets as well although he’s always been that way. The people we knew back in the Engadine used to call him a sissy or a nancy boy. He got into all kinds of trouble at school. The other k**s used to bully him about it and the teachers kept telling him off for pretending to be a girl. A lot of parents wouldn’t let him play with their c***dren because they thought he was queer or something. The lady who used to babysit for me when I was at work had a daughter the same age. She found him one day putting on her daughter’s clothes and she told me that she preferred it if he didn’t come around to their house anymore.” Jacqueline looked sad. “That was when I decided we needed to get away; make a fresh start somewhere else. The people I worked for weren’t very sympathetic. They just thought I should stop him from being such a girl and tell him to act like a boy. It’s not as easy as that though. I tried to make him behave like a boy but he just got more and more miserable. It got to the stage that he was just unhappy all the time and it was breaking my heart.”
Daniela was looking at her with gentle understanding. “I can well imagine it Jackie. I’m sorry for saying so but it sounds as if you knew some pretty ignorant and bigoted people.”
Jacqueline nodded sadly. “I was desperate to tell the truth Danny. I didn’t know what to do. He used to cry whenever I made him dress in boy’s clothes. It was ok if I let him put a pretty top on that was a bit girly but people either frowned at that or laughed at him. I had the devil of a job dressing him this morning. It was only the chance of meeting you Danny that helped me to persuade him.”
“Does he like dressing as a girl then?” asked Sarah in fascination.
“Hell yes! He’s always playing with my clothes. A lot of the time at home he’ll wrap a piece of cloth around his waist so that it looks like a skirt. He likes to play with my make up and things as well. I have to hide my nail varnish or he starts painting his nails! That’s why he won’t let me cut his hair. He wants it long like a girl’s. He even plays with dolls! I have my old dolls from when I was a k** and they’re his favourite toys. All the boy’s toys I buy him, like trucks and things, he’s not interested in.” Jacqueline sighed deeply. “One day at school they were staging a dance for the k**s to perform in front of their parents. They had all the girls dressed up as little ballerinas in pink and the boys in blue shirts and pants. Chrissie was so upset that he couldn’t put on a tutu with the girls I had to take him home.” Jacqueline pulled a wry face. “It’s not the only time he’s had that sort of trouble at school. He likes to draw a lot and one day at school he drew a picture of a girl in high heels and a dress. The teacher asked him who the picture was of and he told her that it was him. Well she told him that it couldn’t be him because he was a boy and he threw such a tantrum that they told me to come and collect him from school. I got called into the headmistress’ office and she recommended that I see a doctor; a psychiatrist about him.”
“And did you?” asked Daniela.
“Yes I did. It didn’t do too much good though. The doctor thought it was some kind of c***dhood phase he was going through and had me follow this program of rewarding him for masculine behaviour and penalising him for being feminine. He told me that the likely cause of my c***d’s behavioural problems was that he’d been raised by a single mother without a male role model in the form of a father.”
Daniela looked shocked. “Please change your doctor at your earliest convenience Jackie because you can take it from me that the one you’ve been seeing is a quack!”
“Well I have changed now Danny because we’ve moved here. I still have to see a doctor though because of the problems Chrissie has had. I can’t put him into a new school without an assessment because he’s been diagnosed as special needs because of this problem.”
“Does he have any other learning difficulties or clinical problems other than this characteristic of his?” Daniela wanted to know.
“No. Not that I’m aware of. He’s actually very bright and generally in advance of the other k**s at school although his progress has been a bit reduced of late because I’ve had to keep him out of school so much. But no, he’s an intelligent k**.”
“He just wants to be a girl then?” asked Sarah.
It’s worse than that Sarah! It’s not just that he wants to be a girl he actually seems to think he is one! He doesn’t even like to be called by his real name of Christian. He wants to be called Christine! Calling him Chrissie is a sort of neutral compromise.”
Sarah frowned. “How does he think about not being anatomically a girl though Jackie. I mean presumably he knows that he looks different between his legs than girls do.”
“Oh yes and he hates it. He loathes the fact that he has a penis. He seems to think it’s a big mistake; that God made a mistake or something by giving him one.” Jacqueline shuddered. “God one day I found him in the bathroom. He’d got hold of a pair of scissors and if I hadn’t come in at that moment I swear he would have tried to cut it off!”
Sarah covered her mouth with a hand. “Oh my God! That’s terrible!”
“Yes I hid anything he could harm himself with after that but it scared me to death. That’s when I knew we had to get away and make a fresh start. I needed to find someone who could advise me Sarah. That’s why this job seemed perfect. I though perhaps gay people would be more understanding and able to help me understand what is happening to my son who just has to be gay.”
“I don’t think you’ve got a gay son Jackie.” said Daniela quietly.
Jacqueline looked taken aback. “I beg your pardon?”
“I said I don’t think you’ve got a gay son. In fact I’ll go further than that. I don’t think you’ve got a son at all. I think you’ve got a daughter!”
There were a few moments silence following Daniela’s startling remark; a few moments whilst the significance of her words sank in. Sarah stared at her in astonishment but with a tinge of excitement. She realised almost immediately what Daniela was trying to say and she felt a thrill of discovery. This was something she had never encountered before; something that was truly special; one of nature’s more intriguing if somewhat mischievous variations. Sarah, since Daniela had come into her life and f***ed her to reassess her sexuality, had researched widely into the sub-culture of the LGBT community and found the field fascinating. Among her researches she had come across this very subject and she had read some of the rather thin body of literature concerning it as well as watching some documentaries about it on-line. Daniela with her deeper background knowledge had recognised Chrissie for what he truly was a lot earlier but Sarah, the more she looked at it, was increasingly sure that she was right. Chrissie was something very special.
Of course being special was as much of a curse as it was a blessing. Most people don’t want to be special. Society was very good at imposing mundane uniformity and often cruel to those who didn’t fit into its categories of “normality”. There was even a Japanese saying which summed it up; the saying that the nail that stood up was hammered down until it was level with the rest. Gay people of course were all too aware of this. They, most demonstrably, didn’t fit into society’s definition of normality. They were the ones that stood out as different and as a result suffered from the bigotry towards and fear of the different. Sarah remembered the conversation she had had with Daniela on the day they had hiked over to the Voralpsee. Daniela had argued that day that people didn’t fit into boxes neatly. Society was forever trying to fit you into acceptable boxes. Gay people themselves had even bought into the idea by arguing that they were in fact normal ; that there was a perfectly simple box into which they could step and be just as ordinary as everybody else. They sought no celebration of their difference but the obscurity of their normality.
Sarah felt slightly troubled by that and she suspected that was not the way that Daniela looked at the world either. Why shouldn’t society in fact glory in individual difference; revel in the vast complexity of humanity? There were six point eight billion people on the planet and every single one of them was different! You were going to drive yourself mad trying to impose standards of normality on nearly seven billion individuals. Not only could it not be done but it was a miserably depressing thing to even want to. It was the incalculable variation of humanity that kept the species so infinitely dynamic and creative. Why would you even want to reduce that dynamism to a flat level of mundane conformity? How dull and grey life would be!
Were gay people even making a mistake by demanding normality? Were they too ready to accept a definition of themselves as “gay” and therefore trapping themselves into an ordained category which they would be expected to conform to? Daniela had pointed out that even gay people on occasion were far too comfortable in accepting such simplistic definitions of themselves. They too had their problems when it came to categorisation; their own difficulties in squeezing people into boxes. The obvious one was the bisexual person. Life would be a lot simpler if people could be defined as either gay or straight. The bisexual was an irritating variable; so irritating that you had to invent a whole new box for them; a sort of catch all repository for all the people who didn’t fit neatly into the two main categories. The problem was that once you started sub-dividing all the categories then there was no end to it and you ended up where perhaps you should have started in the first place; i.e. the notion that everybody was in fact different from everybody else and the only box you could put them in was ultimately the one that was uniquely theirs! Nobody’s sexuality was going to be the same as anybody else’s so why on earth try to define a normality about it? Humans were not clones. Difference was normal. Who you slept with should not be a definition of you. It should be an irrelevancy.
But if ever there were two categories that were regarded as holy writ; set in stone, then they were the categories of gender. If people were beginning to explore the notion that sexuality was far more fluid than had been previously accepted there was as yet only the glimmer of suspicion that one’s gender might be equally open to variation. You were either a man or you were a woman. There seemed little compromise with that bi-polar view within contemporary society. It was a fundamental bedrock of belief within society; male or female. Anybody who challenged that simplistic view in some respects challenged humanity’s very definition of itself and Chrissie was just such a person. Of all the differences that society might abhor then this was one of the most threatening for it questioned even the most basic premise that people came in but a simple two genders. Life threatened to be difficult for Chrissie but there was an excitement about the challenge that Chrissie and like people presented; an excitement simply because they introduced entirely different ways of looking at human beings; radical concepts calling into question the very philosophy of humankind and how we view ourselves as living beings. Chrissie was a challenge that asked every open minded person to stand back and think again. Chrissie was special!
Jacqueline seemed momentarily shocked by Daniela’s assertion. She seemed to have accepted gradually that her son was most likely gay but Daniela had raised the bar and was suggesting something even more startling. Finally she found her voice. “But... but he’s a boy!” she protested at last.
Daniela raised an eyebrow questioningly. “Is he? Is he really?”
“Well yes... I mean that’s what it says on his birth certificate.”
Daniela laughed shortly. “Which, of course, is a sacred document entirely free of any possibility of error or misinterpretation!”Daniela smiled ironically. “Jackie have you any idea of the prevalence of ambiguity in gender assignment at birth. It’s a lot more common than you would think. Generally speaking a physician or mid-wife upon delivering a baby will examine the external genitalia of the c***d and assign gender on the basis of that examination. Unfortunately that’s not always possible. In a significant minority of cases there is enough ambiguity about the genitalia to call into question the gender. In such cases it’s necessary to conduct an examination of the internal anatomy and sexual characteristics such as gonads, internal ovary structures, hormones and chromosomes. Even then there can be questions and the doctors can get it wrong. The truth is that in reality there is very little difference physically between a male c***d and a female c***d and there are enough possible variations between the two to call into question that c***d’s possible gender assignment. In fact the assignment of male or female at birth is more a societal assignment rather than a medical definition. Until very recently doctors would make a conscious decision on the gender of the c***d on the basis of the information available and if necessary to make the c***d conform to that decision would carry out surgery on the c***d to correct any ambiguities that called the assigned gender into question. The results were often frightful leaving the c***d scarred and mutilated and out of kilter with its own gender identity. Thankfully these days a more enlightened approach is being advocated by some doctors who argue that doctors should not be so ready with surgical intervention upon a c***d who after all is too young to make that decision for itself and is going to have to have to grow up with the consequences of the doctor’s decision. In effect they’re saying that we should let the c***d determine which gender he or she is most comfortable with when old enough to know their own mind.”
Jacqueline frowned uncertainly. “Yes I think I’ve heard about such cases Danny but it doesn’t apply in Chrissie’s case. There was no question about his sex when he was born. He was a perfectly formed little boy and no reason to doubt otherwise.”
Daniela raised a finger theatrically. “Until now Jackie... until now!”
“You mean he’s changing somehow?”
“No I don’t think so. I think he’s always been this way. It was only after he became older that the ambiguity became manifest. Tell me what do you know of Gender Identity Disorder?”
“I’ve never heard of it!”
“Well it’s a horrible name. It implies some terrible malady or disability which isn’t necessarily the case. There is some tendency to use more sensitive terms to describe the condition these days and, while accepting that it is something that must be addressed, there is less prevalence among the medical community to regard it as some sort of debilitating dysfunction. The most enlightened authorities simply consider it as a perfectly acceptable variation of the human condition that, with proper therapy, does not preclude a person from having a fulfilled and happy life. I won’t say an ordinary life because such people are extraordinary by their very nature but certainly a life that need be no less satisfying and complete than anybody else’s. Admittedly life may be much more challenging to people who are born this way but that’s more because of the society we live in rather than the condition itself.”
“Yes but what is it?”
“Well I’ve already said that many c***dren at birth have ambiguous sexual characteristics. These characteristics are most usually first identified with ambiguous genitalia. Actually the genitalia of a male or female are essentially made up of the same material. All foetuses start life as female. The sexual organs can develop one way or the other dependent upon the hormones generated by the body according to whether it has XX or XY chromosomes. Thus with male hormones the organ becomes a penis or with female it becomes a clitoris. Likewise the sac of the scrotum forms from what otherwise would have been the labia majora, the gonads become either testicles or ovaries and so on. The point is that the differences are actually superficial changes that are triggered by the actions of hormones while the c***d is still in the womb.
Well we know that all sorts of things can go wrong with such chemical changes to the body and hence it’s not always possible to tell immediately which gender the c***d is from a physical examination. What some medical scientists now believe is that these hormonal changes go even deeper than was once thought. It is thought by some now that the hormones affect not only the development of the sexual organs but also the brain; imprinting, if you like, a gender identity on the very thought processes of the person. This can be fairly mild to extreme depending on just how much imbalance of the hormones there is. You can get the whole spectrum of severity in other words. In mild cases people may find themselves tending somewhat towards the opposite gender from which they are assigned. You may get rather masculine girls or effeminate boys or simply some people who can empathise better with the opposite sex because of some characteristics they share with them in their own brains. In extreme cases however the person has a gender identity so firmly imprinted on their brains that it simply doesn’t match with their assigned sex. They experience the overwhelming feeling that there has been some terrible mistake. They have been literally born inside the wrong body. Their outward appearance says that they are one sex but inside they are completely convinced that they are the opposite. This is what is called Gender Identity Disorder.”
Jacqueline bit her lip. “Oh God! I think I see what you mean. Chrissie often says to me that he thinks God had made a mistake by making him a boy!”
Daniela nodded. “That’s absolutely characteristic Jackie. As far as Chrissie is concerned he or rather she is a girl! Everything you’ve told me and everything I’ve observed about her tells me that that is the truth. I am not at all surprised to learn that Chrissie has had emotional and behavioural problems. Anybody would who has been raised all their life as the wrong gender! Imagine how you would feel if you were brought up being told all day and every day that you were a boy and you knew inside yourself that it wasn’t true. Everything about Chrissie’s life is a lie and she’s baffled and hurt about it. Jackie I think your little boy is in fact a little girl and she’s been trying to tell you that all her life. Maybe you should ignore that blasted quack of a doctor you’ve been taking her to and try listening to her instead.”
“Are you telling me that Chrissie will grow up to be a transvestite or something?”
Daniela shook her head. “The correct term is transgender Jackie although there is endless discussion about the exact meaning of the words transgender or transsexual. Transvestites are people who simply dress up as the opposite sex. Many of them of course are transgender to some extent or another but transvestism is really descriptive of an act not an identity. If an actor dresses up as the opposite sex in a theatrical role then they are transvestite although it has nothing to do with their own gender identity. It’s just something they’re doing. Of course many transgender people will dress up in the clothes that they feel more readily fits the gender they feel themselves to be but even that isn’t an absolute. It is not uncommon for transgender people to so suppress their inner conviction of their gender as to go through life conforming to their so-called biological gender assignment and living lives of pretence and concealment. Sadly such people frequently live miserable frustrated lives and the suicide rate among them is shockingly high.”
Jacqueline turned pale. “Oh God! Suicide?”
Daniela nodded seriously. “Yes Jackie. I’m sorry. There’s no way to tell you this gently but I’m afraid that the suicide rate among young transgendered people is one of the highest among any particular societal grouping. Some studies suggest that the rate is several times higher even than the rate among gay teenagers who are already as much as seven or eight times more likely to commit suicide than straight people. You can understand why. It is hard enough for gay people to deal with the guilt and shame that comes as a result of society’s ostracism of their sexuality. Imagine how much harder it is going to be for a young person growing up trying to hide the very fact of their own gender; expected to fit into roles that every fibre of their bodies scream at them are wrong. Our gender is so fundamental to us; so central to how we perceive ourselves. Imagine having to live in denial of it every waking moment of your life. It’s a very, very lonely place to be Jackie. Ideally there will one day come a time when society will accept all the variations in a person’s sexuality or gender without the cruel bigotry that it currently imposes on those who don’t fit its comfortable assumptions and such people will be able to grow up without fear. Until that time comes though, people like your Chrissie need and deserve all the help and compassion we can give them.”
Jacqueline squeezed her fists in anguish. “Well what should I do?”
Daniela smiled. “Plenty I think Jackie. You know as an active supporter of LGBT rights I’ve come across quite a few transgendered people now. I can tell you that there’s a lot of heartbreak and sadness in many of their stories. Of course transgendered people gravitate towards the gay community because it’s one of the few safe havens for them in society; the one place where they are accepted. There’s a fuzzy line between being transgendered and being gay in many cases and I suspect that a lot of people who identify as gay are in fact transgender. There is a subtle difference. Transgender refers to a state where you identify as the sex opposite to that which you have been assigned. Being gay, means that you are attracted to people of your own gender. The two things are not the same. I have no doubts about my own gender and neither does Sarah. I think most people would unambiguously recognise us as very female. Yet we are both gay. A transgender person might be gay or straight.”
Jacqueline looked puzzled. “Excuse me? What do you mean?”
“I mean that your sexual identity depends upon your gender identity. If you’re a man and you are attracted to men then you are gay but if you’re attracted to women then you’re straight more or less. But your gender is what you consider it to be. Thus if a person is transgendered then their sexual orientation should correctly be associated with their gender identity. If somebody is born male but is transgendered to female then, should she be attracted to men, she is straight, not gay, in spite of the fact that, from a gross biological point of view, her original gender was male. If she discovers she prefers females then she’s lesbian. What I said earlier is relevant. Most people don’t actually work out what their sexual preferences are until they reach puberty at least and start becoming sexually interested. Gender though is something that comes much earlier. It is characteristic of transgendered c***dren that they know from a very early age whether they’re a boy or a girl. Everybody does that. I’m sure that I was certain that I was a girl long before I ever knew that I was attracted to them as well. Most transgendered k**s know pretty much from the age they are capable of thinking about such things that there’s something wrong with their bodies.”
“We seem to have got off the subject Danny.” Jacqueline noted. “I asked what I was supposed to do.”
“Yes I’m sorry. I transgressed a little. I said plenty and I think that is the case. As I’ve already said I’ve met a lot of transgendered people though my contacts in the LGBT community and there are some pretty horrific tales. With Chrissie though, I’m rather optimistic. I think she’s got something rather good going for her.”
“She’s got a loving, understanding and supportive mother who, instead of being appalled and railing against the unfairness of the hand she’s been dealt, is determined to help, support and love her c***d whatever might be. All this time I’ve talked to you I have never found any evidence to suggest otherwise. You have my profound respect and admiration Jackie. Chrissie will have many difficulties to face in life but she is lucky indeed to have a mother like you to help her.” Daniela paused to take a sip from her coffee. “But Jackie you shouldn’t have to help her alone. If you are going to be working with us then we... and I’m sure I speak for Sarah as well... we would like to offer all the help and support that we can.”
“Yes absolutely!” declared Sarah. “I agree with every word Danny has said.”
Jacqueline nodded gratefully. “I... I would value your support a great deal ladies. God knows that you’re the first people I’ve ever met who are so understanding. I... I’m just trying to get my head around all this. I mean if Chrissie is transgendered as you say then what am I supposed to do to help him, or her as you say? I mean obviously I’ll continue to love him and support him but is there anything specific I should be doing?”
Daniela nodded. “Well for one thing you can dump the bl**dy doctor you’ve been seeing! I was appalled when you told me that he was telling you to penalise Chrissie for being female! What a prick! The very last thing Chrissie needs is to be punished further for something she can’t help! God knows what damage it will do to her to be constantly bullied into being something that she isn’t! Not only that, but the bl**dy quack had the temerity to even suggest it was partly your fault for being a single mother! How dare he? Tell him to take his tincture of bat’s vomit and other quack remedies and bugger off back into the dark ages where he belongs! We’ll find you a proper specialist for Chrissie!”
“Well as it happens I know a qualified paediatrician and c***d psychologist who specialises in transgendered c***dren. She’s one of the leading specialists in her field Jackie and well respected. She has her clinic in Zurich and before this afternoon is out we’re going to make an appointment for you to take Chrissie along to see her. That’s the first step.”
“Er I’m not sure I can afford a specialist Danny.”
“Who said you had to Jackie? Haven’t you been listening? I said you don’t have to do this alone. We’re here to help. We’ll pick up the consultation fees. All you have to do is to get yourself and Chrissie to the clinic at the appointed hour and we’ll see what Dr Marcie has to say.”
“Dr Marcella Poillette.... she’s an old friend of mine. I call her Doc Marcie. She’s a lovely lady and fantastic with k**s. You couldn’t wish for a better person to counsel you on this Jackie. She’s not only top notch in her field but she also cares passionately about the k**s that come under her care. For the first time you’ll be getting properly qualified advice from a person who knows the subject inside out and back to front.”
“Will it be difficult to get an appointment Danny? I mean if she’s that well known won’t she be pretty full up or something?”
Daniela shook her head with a laugh. “Not at all! Oh she’s a busy lady alright but we can pull a few strings in this case. She’s not only a friend of mine but I’m also the patron of the charity that helps to support her clinic financially. I’ve made some personal contributions myself and...well let’s just say that Marcie owes me a few favours! We’ll get an appointment alright! You’ll see!”
“Well thank you Danny. I don’t know what to say! What do you think she’ll recommend?”
“I should imagine that she’ll want to make a full diagnosis to begin with Jackie. She’ll probably want to question both you and Chrissie at length and determine exactly the extent of Chrissie’s transgendered condition. On the basis of that she’ll come up with some strategy for you to manage Chrissie’s life and possible transition.”
Daniela regarded Jacqueline soberly. “Yes Jackie. In cases where it’s called for Dr Marcie may well advise her clients to allow their c***dren to assume the gender role that they identify with.”
“You mean allow Chrissie to be.... to be a girl?”
“If that is what she considers to be the healthy option for your c***d Jackie. If she considers that the psychological distress of being f***ed into the wrong gender role is harming your c***d then she may well recommend that you allow that c***d to transition into the gender they feel more at ease in. I’m sure she’ll weigh up all the options but that might well be a possibility. Would that pose problems for you?”
“Oh God! I don’t know! I’ve never even thought about that before!”
“Do you think Chrissie would be happier being allowed to be a girl?”
Jacqueline nodded. “Yes he probably would but.... Oh God I don’t know! It’s a hell of a step! I mean what about school and things like that?”
Daniela regarded her with compassion. “Listen Jackie Dr Marcie isn’t going to do anything without consulting you at every step. She’s very experienced in these sort of problems. Certainly she’ll be able to advise you on how to deal with school authorities and you’d have the backing of her authority if it came to asking for special requirements for your c***d at school. Dr Marcie’s seen it all in this area Jackie. You’d do well to listen to her advice. The other thing she’ll be able to do is put you in contact with help groups of people in the same boat as you. You and Chrissie are not alone out there you know. You are going to be amazed at how many transgendered people there are and how many parents of transgendered k**s are going through exactly the same thing as you are. This condition is far more prevalent than you would have given credit for. Slowly, painfully slowly perhaps, society is changing Jackie. Things like this don’t carry the same stigma they once had. There’s new hope and understanding.” Daniela paused to smile. “You know in many ancient societies and still some extant societies to this day transgendered people were perfectly accepted within society and even sometimes revered; almost as a third gender, celebrated for the diversity they brought to the community. Maybe one day we’ll get back to that level of tolerance and understanding and come to respect people for what they are and not how we expect them to be.”
Jacqueline was wringing her hands in uncertainty. “Yes ok I could let Chrissie be a girl but what about... I mean what about when he grows up and all that.”
Daniela waved a hand dismissively. “That’s way down the line Jackie! You don’t have to worry about that just yet. If it is indicated then later Chrissie may be prescribed hormones to block puberty and prevent masculinisation at puberty. That’s always a critical period. It’s devastating to a transgendered person when their body starts to take on adult characteristics of the opposite gender to that which they identify with so their counsellor might refer them to an endocrinologist to give them the treatment to delay puberty and allow the growing c***d time to decide if they want to complete the transition. Afterwards they may well be prescribed hormone treatment to feminise or masculinise their body according to their gender identity. Later, much later they may well choose to undergo reassignment surgery to change their physical appearance. They may also choose cosmetic surgery to more align themselves with their gender; girls might have breast enhancement, bodily hair depilation or have their Adam’s apple reduced and so forth. But all that’s way in the future yet Jackie. What’s important now is Chrissie’s happiness for the moment. Right now I’m guessing that Chrissie is a very unhappy little c***d. That’s not your fault Jackie but I think you have to give him/her every chance to find happiness now. The future can look after itself and we can look at it when it comes.”
Jacqueline rubbed her hands against her temples. “Oh God! I just don’t know what to think! This is a whole new set of concepts for me.”
“I’m sorry Jackie. I didn’t want to concern you too much.”
“Please Danny it’s alright. I was already concerned! In fact I was desperate. This is the first time anybody has really talked any sense to me about Chrissie.”
“I might be wrong Jackie.”
Jacqueline shook her head. “No I don’t think you are. Everything you’ve said makes sense. It’s just that I’ve never looked at it this way before. I’ve never even heard of that gender... what did you call it?”
“Gender Identity Disorder.”
“Yes that. Do you think Chrissie really fits that?”
“Well of course I’m not a professional Jackie. Dr Marcie will be able to give you a properly professional expert diagnosis on that. However from my experience and having seen Chrissie and talked to you I’d say as a layman that Chrissie seems like a classic case. Have you got internet access at home?”
“Well I’ll give you the links to some websites on the subject. There’s a lot of stuff you can be reading and there are a lot of documentaries on transgendered people and transgendered c***dren on-line as well. There are several good items on You Tube if you want to look them up. There’s a lot more information out there than you might think.”
“I was watching something the other day on You Tube you might be interested in Jackie.” Sarah volunteered. “It was a couple of interviews with a young German girl who’s transgendered. She’s a singer and apparently one of the youngest ever people to undergo gender reassignment surgery. I can’t remember her name though.”
“She’s called Kim Petras Sarah.” Daniela told her. “She’s a very pretty and talented teenager. She’s quite a media hit in Germany and on-line. I know a bit about her. Apparently she’s insisted from the age of two that she was a girl and she’s more or less been brought up that way. She was counselled by a Dr Bernd Meyenberger at Frankfurt University who’s a close associate of Dr Marcie.”
“She seems very bright.” Sarah noted.
“Oh she is. She speaks fantastic English and she’s a gifted musician. There’re no flies on that girl! She had her first recording contract by the time she was f******n which is more than I managed to do!”
“And this boy.... I mean this girl.... oh hell how do you describe them...” Jacqueline petered out in confusion.
“You should refer to them as the gender and grammatical person appropriate to the gender they identify as Jackie.” Daniela told her. “Thus correctly Kim Petras is a girl regardless of her assigned gender at birth.”
“Ok then... this girl.... you say she was raised as a girl?”
“Yes at her own insistence apparently. I think her parents resisted the notion to begin with but they were faced with a very determined c***d and a clear cut case of transgender.”
“And they let her dress as a girl and everything?”
“Once they had accepted her condition yes.”
“But won’t it become noticeable that she’s not a girl when she grows up?”
“I doubt it Jackie. She’s a teenager now and there is absolutely no difference on the outside between her and any other very pretty teenage girl. Obviously she’s had surgery to reassign her genitalia and she continues to take female hormones to maintain her feminine appearance but you certainly couldn’t tell her from any other very girly girl. She was lucky in that she made the transition very young. It’s much easier to make the transition successfully if you begin before puberty leaves you with body changes that you’re stuck with and might require major cosmetic surgery to correct. Kim was lucky to have supportive parents and a progressive doctor.”
“But don’t other k**s at school pick on c***dren like that.”
“Of course they do.... some of them. There are bullies in every school sadly. A lot of k**s are actually a lot more tolerant than many grown ups are or give them credit for on the other hand. A transgendered c***d has to have certain special requirements at school naturally. That might mean some arrangements for the use of toilets or changing facilities and a considerable degree of understanding by the teachers and staff. Handled correctly there is no reason why a transgendered c***d should stand out too much. At least they shouldn’t stand out as long as they are in the gender role they feel they belong to. A k** who is f***ed to be the wrong gender is going to stand out like a sore thumb and attract all sorts of unwanted attention.”
Jacqueline nodded. “Well that’s been the problem so far with Chrissie.”
“Well then you’ve already been down that route. Perhaps if Chrissie had simply gone to school as a girl then she might simply have blended in and been accepted.”
“The school authorities would have to be very cooperative though wouldn’t they?”
“Oh yes but you’ll have an ally on that one Jackie. My daughter Elizabeth is coming to live with us here in Switzerland.”
“Yes Sarah told me.”
“Well Lizzie’s a year older or perhaps a bit more than your Chrissie and I have to place her in school as well. They’ll both be starting in a new primary school so you and I can go along and tackle the school together. If the school isn’t ok with your Chrissie then I shan’t be placing my daughter there either. After all she is the daughter of a gay woman and, not only that, she is the daughter of a publicly well known gay woman. I shall require very firm assurances from the school that my daughter’s safety and privacy are assured.”
“Do you think she might be bullied?”
“Oh no. Elizabeth is a pretty strong minded girl Jackie. Anybody who tries to bully her does so at their own peril. I’m more concerned about unwanted media attention and all the nuts that come with the price of fame.”
“Yes I can see why you would be concerned there.”
“Well then I need a school which is not only tolerant but also prepared to make special provisions to assure my c***d’s safety. In some respects then we have similar needs Jackie. We’ll go along to the school together. If they don’t satisfy us that our k**s’ special needs are going to be met then we’ll find somewhere else and it’ll be their loss because our k**s are something special!”
“Oh God! Would you do that? I mean would you help me find somewhere for Chrissie?”
“Certainly. We can help each other in many ways Jackie. We’re two families. All of us are going to need the inevitable babysitters and so on with our working obligations. I think we can support each other in all sorts of ways. There’s another thing too. You say that Chrissie has never made any friends. Well I can say for certain that there is one person who will befriend her. Elizabeth is very precocious and she’s perfectly aware of the meaning of transgender. It wouldn’t worry her for a second. She naturally takes more vulnerable k**s under her wing. It’s her nature. She’s always popular at school and something of an opinion leader. If I ask her to look after your Chrissie then it’ll be a very brave bully (and there is no such thing) that gives your Chrissie a hard time. Lizzie would eat them for breakfast and then dance on the bones! She hates bullies with a passion.”
“You mean your daughter would accept Chrissie for what he is?”
“I’d be prepared to bet money on it! My daughter has a gay mother and she’s been brought up to be tolerant and to understand how cruel people can be to those that are different. I think she’ll empathise and bond with your daughter immediately.”
“Oh God! That would be wonderful. Poor Chrissie’s never been able to make friends properly.”
“I think she’s not the only one who needs some friends Jackie. I think you could do with some friends as well.”
Jacqueline nodded solemnly. “You’re not wrong there Danny. It seems like it’s been me and Chrissie against the world for a long time.”
“Well that must change Jackie.” Daniela glanced at the clock. “Look before it gets any later let me try and phone Doc Marcie and see about that appointment.”
Daniela rose to walk across the room to take the house phone and, after looking up the number on her mobile, dialled. Sarah poured some more coffee out for Jacqueline. “Whereabouts are you living now then Jackie?” she asked.
“We’ve got a little flat in Lisighaus Sarah but it’s a bit too small for us I’m afraid. I looked at a ground floor flat in one of those newer houses in Schwendi the other day which would be better. The rent’s a bit more expensive but if I’m working we should be able to cope.”
“Schwendi huh? We’d almost be neighbours!”
“Yes it’s just around the hillside.”
An idea suddenly came to Sarah. “Hey if you’re thinking of moving over to Schwendi there’s a little cottage you might be interested in there.”
“Yes it belongs to my boss and her girlfriend at the Hotel Toggenburg. They’ve used it previously as housing for the hotel’s foreign staff in the winter season but Elke told me that they didn’t need it as staff housing this winter. She was talking about renting it out for skiing parties.”
Jacqueline frowned. “It sounds like it might be beyond my budget Sarah. I mean she could probably charge far more to tourists.”
“Not necessarily. She might be quite interested in having a longer term tenant with a reliable source of income. I don’t think she’d put the rent astronomically high. She’s a good friend of ours and I think she’d be sympathetic. It’s worth trying in any case. It’s a lovely little cottage. I think you’ll like it.”
“Well I could take a look certainly. I suppose there’s no harm in asking.”
“Great. I’ll take you over to the hotel and introduce you.”
“What about school and all that? I mean Schwendi’s nice but it’s a bit out of the way. The nearest primary school is in Wildhaus.”
“Well it looks like both Chrissie and Elizabeth will be attending the same school Jackie so we can share the school runs if you like. Failing that there’s a little mini bus that picks up the k**s from the outlying farms and hamlets for school during term time.”
“Oh that’ll be handy. Does Schwendi get cut off much when it snows?”
“Only rarely. They keep the road down to Unterwasser pretty clear in the winter. We’re not St Moritz or Davos here but this is a winter ski resort and the valley’s well geared up to deal with snow in the winter.”
It seemed as if Daniela had succeeded in reaching the clinic in Zurich for she suddenly spoke into the phone. “Oh hello. This is Daniela Devin speaking. I was wondering if Doctor Poillette is available. I mean is she busy at the moment? I can call back later if you wish... Oh really? Well may I speak to her please? Thank you.” After a short pause Daniela was connected. “Hi Marcie! Danny Devin here. How are you keeping?” There followed a couple of minutes of exchanged courtesies before Daniela came to the point of her call. “Listen Marcie I need a favour. Do you have any slots available for consultations over the next couple of weeks or so? I know you’re very busy but there’s someone I’d like you to see if you can fit them in.... What’s that? ... Oh well she’s a lady who’s a friend of mine with a young trans girl about eight years old.... Sorry... oh yes I think so....Well obviously that’s up to you to decide professionally but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a clearer case.... Oh could you? You’re a sweetheart!... Yes I think that will be fine. I’ll have to ask of course but I don’t think there’ll be any problem. Thank you very much Marcie. I do appreciate it.” There were a few more formalities before Daniela replaced the handset in triumph and turned to Jacqueline. “Sorted! You and Chrissie have an appointment with Doctor Poillette next Wednesday Jackie if that’s alright with you.”
“Of course it is! Thank you so much Danny! I don’t know how to thank you enough.”
“Please don’t mention it. It’s my pleasure.”
“How do I find this clinic?”
“Ah well I was about to come to that. I have to spend most of next week in Zurich myself rehearsing with the band so you and Chrissie could drive through with me if you like and I can drop you off at the clinic and pick you up later somewhere.”
“I’ve got a better idea.” Sarah interposed. “If you’re going to be practising all day Danny, then Jackie will be left to her own devices, with a young c***d, in Zurich for the day. If I drive you both through then I can spend the time with Jackie until you’re finished. I need to go to town in any case to buy some things for Elizabeth’s room. I was going to go to Winterthur but I can just as easily find what I need in Zurich and it’ll be company for Jackie. I should imagine it’ll be quite a difficult day for her and she might need someone to hold her hand.”
Daniela smiled in agreement. “I think that’s a fine idea Sarah.”
Jacqueline looked overwhelmed. “Oh really! I can’t ask the two of you to go to so much trouble.”
“Nonsense!” declared Sarah firmly. “It will be a pleasure.” She turned to Daniela. “While you were on the phone Danny Jackie was saying she’s looking for a new place for her and Chrissie. I thought about that little cottage of Elke and Angelica’s.”
Daniela beamed hugely. “Brilliant! That would be perfect. You’re a genius Sarah!”
“Well we’ll have to talk with Elke and Angelica.”
“They’ll go for it I’m sure. The bl**dy place has been stood empty since spring! I’m sure we can negotiate a reasonable rent and if Jackie wants to earn a little extra cash I’m sure Elke can always do with extra help in the hotel on occasion, assuming Jackie’s not too busy in the pub and we’re available for babysitting. I mean it’s only a couple of minutes away.”
Jacqueline shook her head in bewilderment. “Why are you two doing all this for me?” she asked in confusion.
“Because we care Jackie!” Daniela told her. “I think your story and Chrissie’s has touched our hearts. It sounds as if you’ve had too many bad breaks. I think you deserve better.”
“Yes.” agreed Sarah. “It’s our pleasure to help out. That’s what friends are for. I know we’ve only just met but I’d like you to consider yourself our friend. If you like I can take you around to meet Elke early this evening. Are you doing anything for the rest of the day?”
Jacqueline shook her head. “I didn’t have any specific plans no.”
“Well them why don’t you stay for dinner and we can drive over to the hotel afterwards and I’ll introduce you. There’s another person we want you to meet as well. Our friend Nicole is coming over sometime or other.” Sarah glanced at the clock with a frown. “I don’t know where the hell she’s got to though. She was supposed to be here by now. She’s going to be working at the pub as well. I’ll give her a ring in a few minutes and see what’s keeping her. Anyway, how about it?”
“Thank you Sarah. I would love to stay for dinner if it’s not too much trouble.”
“None at all!” Sarah rose to clear the coffee cups and pot away. “I’ll take these back to the kitchen unless anybody wants more coffee.”
“Why don’t you break out a bottle of wine Sarah?” suggested Daniela.
“Ok, Would you like a glass of wine Jackie?”
“Well perhaps just the one glass Sarah. I’d best not drink more than that because I’m driving.”
“If you’re staying for dinner one glass won’t hurt you.”
“Are you cooking Sarah?” asked Daniela.
“Well something simple perhaps. I’ll have a look and see what we’ve got in. I’d best wait until I find out what Nicky’s doing before I make a decision though. She might need feeding as well; and Charlie too, come to that! It would be just like the pair of them to forget to eat!”
In the kitchen Sarah discovered a domestic crisis in progress. Chrissie, it appeared, had contrived to adorn himself with a substantial proportion of his blueberry tart and ice cream. Elrika was frantically endeavouring to repair the damage with a couple of tea towels and a notable lack of success. Sarah laughed and marched the penitent young c***d back into the living room to confront his mother; her mother, Sarah corrected herself. Jacqueline stared at him in astonishment. Chrissie was normally fastidiously delicate and careful while eating. “Chrissie!” she exclaimed. “What the hell have you been doing? Look at the state of you!”
Sarah was embarrassed and apologetic. “It wasn’t Chrissie’s fault Jackie.” she explained. “I’m sorry but one of our cats is to blame. Lady Gaga decided that Chrissie couldn’t possibly be expected to eat all that ice cream without help and so she jumped up to render assistance and managed only to knock the whole bowl all over Chrissie. I am sorry Jackie. I’ve banished Lady out into the garden as punishment.”
Jacqueline groaned. “Oh God! And after all the trouble I went to dress him up nicely today! Who’d be a mother? I’ve got nothing with me to change him into either.”
Daniela laughed. “Well since it’s one of our moggies who’s responsible Jackie we’ll certainly pay for the cleaning.”
Jacqueline waved a hand dismissively. “Oh please. There’s no need. I’ll just shove his clothes in the washer at home. Maybe I’d better pop back home and get him some clean clothes though. He can’t stay for dinner in that state!”
Daniela rubbed her chin thoughtfully. “Er I might have some clean clothes here that would fit Chrissie Jackie.”
Jacqueline looked surprised. “You have k**s’ clothes?”
“Oh yes. I always have clothes for the occasions my daughter visits from America. I bought her loads of stuff when she was here last year and there was too much for her to carry back home. She’ll have outgrown most of it by now but it should still fit Chrissie.”
Jacqueline looked uncertain. “You mean... girl’s clothes?”
“Well yes although there are some T-shirts and jeans and things that a boy might wear but...” Daniela hesitated coyly. “But why not let Chrissie wear something a bit girly?”
Jacqueline bit her lip in uncertainty. “I... I don’t know... I mean do you think it would be alright?”
Chrissie intervened decisively. The little c***d’s eyes lit up in hope. “Can I wear some girl’s clothes mam? Please mam?”
Jacqueline surrendered with reservations. “Well alright if Miss Devin here has something er... suitable.”
Daniela jumped up enthusiastically. “Oh I’m sure we can do that! Come with me Chrissie and let’s see what we can find!” Sarah hid a smile. She guessed that Daniela had been dying to put some girl’s clothes on Chrissie. “Why don’t you go and break out that wine you promised us Sarah?” Daniela continued. “You and Jackie can have a drink while Chrissie and I have a rummage about in the wardrobe?” She grasped Chrissie’s hand and led the c***d eagerly upstairs.
Jacqueline watched them go with a haunted look on her face. “Oh God! I hope I’m doing the right thing.” she murmured. “Do you think she’s going to dress Chrissie up in something really girly Sarah?”
Sarah pulled a face. “I’d say there was a pretty good chance of it Jackie! Danny loves dressing people up. She got me to dress up like a girl after all and that took some doing! Before I met Danny I think I could have counted the number of times I wore a dress since I left school on the fingers of one hand. These days if I can get away with pulling a pair of jeans on for one day it’s a result!”
Jacqueline laughed. If she were to have any misgivings then Sarah was just the person to ameliorate them. Jacqueline was quite taken by the beautiful, warm hearted and sensible girl. In fact Jacqueline felt more at ease than she had in many a long day. She had felt somewhat intimidated at the prospect of being interviewed by the famous Daniela Devin but Daniela’s gentle charm had quite disarmed her and Sarah’s natural friendliness had completely won her over. She’d come looking for a job and found friendship and support where she had least expected it. Jacqueline felt her life had reached a turning point. She hadn’t had the best of luck the last few years. Maybe that was about to change.
Sarah picked up her mobile phone. “I’d better give Nicky a buzz.” she remarked before keying the number. When Nicole answered Sarah was in the mood to give her a piece of her mind. “Where the bl**dy hell are you?” she demanded indignantly. “The lady that’s going to be working at the pub is here to meet you and you should have been here ages ago!”
“Sorry Foxy. We’re just on our way. We lost track of the time.”
“Well get your arses over here pronto! It’s rude to keep the lady waiting.”
“We’re on our way. See you soon.”
“Wait a minute Nicky. Have you and Charlie eaten yet?”
“No not yet. Why?”
“Well do you want to stop for tea? I’m just about to start preparing for Danny, myself and our guests. I can just as easily cook for you and Charlie as well.”
“That’d be great Sarah. I’ve got nothing in the house. Charlie and I were going to eat out.”
“Ok then I’ll see if I can rustle up a couple of extra stale crusts for you two. See you when you get here.” Sarah signed off and turned to Jacqueline. “I’m sorry about that Jackie. It’s too bad of Nicole not to be here on time. She’s a lovely girl but she can be a right s**tterbrain sometimes!”
“Please it’s nothing. Listen, if you’re about to start preparing food, could you do with some help?”
“Oh there’s no need really.”
“But I’d love to help Sarah. I can’t let you start to cook for six people without any help. I’m a dab hand in a kitchen anyway.”
Sarah grinned. “Well ok come along then. At least we can have a glass of wine in the kitchen while I run through an inventory of my food stocks.”
Daniela found the pair of them in the kitchen a few minutes later; gossiping away with Elrika over a glass of wine as if they’d known each other for years. It was a touchingly domestic scene. Sarah was rummaging about in the cupboards looking for spices with a frown having extracted a couple of packs of chicken breasts from the fridge. Jacqueline had borrowed a pinafore and was sat at the kitchen table peeling potatoes while Elrika was washing a head of lettuce in the sink. Daniela grinned and, with the air of a magician pulling a rabbit from a hat, she gently ushered Chrissie through the door. Sarah stopped what she was doing and gaped in astonishment. Chrissie was smiling shyly but her eyes were radiant with happiness even while she seemed a little apprehensive about her mother’s reaction. Daniela had found her a beautiful pale pink ruffled dress and even a pair of girly slippers to match. She’d tied the dress at the waist with a bright pink sash and she’d found a string of red and white beads and a matching wrist bangle to accessorise the outfit. She’d even fixed Chrissie’s hair and adorned it with a ribbon and an artificial rose. The result was astonishing. Any doubt that Sarah might have retained concerning Daniela’s diagnosis of Chrissie’s gender identity vanished instantly. Chrissie was transformed. The awkward, uncomfortable and unhappy little boy had disappeared to be replaced by a happy and extraordinarily pretty little girl completely at home in her best party frock. “Well what do you think?” asked Daniela, delighted with the affect her transformation had produced on the company.
“Why you’re beautiful!” Sarah told Chrissie in wonderment. “You look just lovely!”
Jacqueline shook her head in amazement. “My word!” she breathed at last. “I... I don’t believe it! You’re so pretty Chrissie!” Chrissie grinned in sheer happiness as her mother so complemented her.
Possibly the funniest reaction came from Elrika. She nodded with satisfaction. “Ja! That’s better.” She declared firmly. “She looks very pretty Fraulein. She looks a lot nicer when you let her wear a dress.” Daniela, Sarah and Jacqueline exchanged glances and suppressed their smiles. It was evident that Elrika had taken Chrissie for a girl all along whose mother had inexplicably dressed up as a boy!
Chrissie dashed to her mother. “Do I really look pretty mam?” she asked excitedly.
Jacqueline stared at her newly transformed c***d and Sarah could see that she was fighting the tears that threatened to overwhelm her. It was rare these days to see Chrissie looking so happy. It almost broke her heart. Jacqueline reached out and stroked Chrissie’s hair fondly. “Yes. Yes you do.”
Chrissie span around joyfully. “Can I wear this at home mam?” she asked hopefully.
Jacqueline fingered the material of the little dress uncertainly. “Well it doesn’t really belong to us Chrissie.” she told her. “Danny just leant us it for the afternoon honey and make sure you look after it because it’s an expensive dress.”
“Oh she can have it Jackie.” Daniela told her. “It’s too small for Lizzie now in any case. In fact I’ve got a lot of stuff Chrissie can have. Lizzie’s grown out of most of them and there’s no point in them gathering dust in the wardrobes.”
“Oh really Danny...” Jacqueline protested. “I can’t accept that!”
“Of course you can! Elizabeth doesn’t need the stuff any more and I’ve got the feeling that Chrissie is going to need a new wardrobe!”
I... I don’t know how to thank you.”
Daniela smiled warmly. “The look in Chrissie’s eyes when she saw that dress is all the thanks I need Jackie. It’s an old party dress of Elizabeth’s and Chrissie fell in love with it as soon as she saw it. So I thought we’d make this a little party day for Chrissie. Doesn’t she look nice?”
“Yes.... yes he...I mean she does. I... I hardly recognised...” Jacqueline stumbled over the object pronoun, “her.” Chrissie grinned from ear to ear to hear her gender so acknowledged by her mother. It made her happiness complete.
A noise from the front of the house caught Sarah’s attention. “Ah that sounds like Nicky and Charlie at last. I’ll go tell them we’re in the kitchen.” A few seconds later Sarah ushered Nicole and Charmaine in and introduced them. “Jackie this is Danny’s new bass player Charmaine; we call her Charlie, and this is Nicole, our friend and Charlie’s girlfriend. Nicky will be working with you at the pub.”
Jacqueline held out her hand politely. “I’m pleased to meet you ladies.”
Charmaine took the proffered hand. “We’re pleased to meet you too.” Her eyes drifted to the pretty little girl hiding behind her mother. “And who’s this little princess then?”
Sarah stepped in smoothly. “This is Jackie’s daughter Charlie. This is Christine!”