He watched the woman crossing the street in front of him, sundress swaying loosely around her hips. She was in her early twenties with a slim figure and shapely runner's legs. Her dark brown hair was cut short, drawing attention to her attractively angled eyes which twinkled when she smiled. Shit, he thought again. I'll never be like her. His stomach lurched painfully as though suddenly filled with ice water. Why do I even want to be like her? She strode over the hot black pavement, laughing as she talked with a similarly dressed woman. She walked confidently yet slowly, the relaxed pace of her steps revealing an unquestionable security in her femininity. He closed his eyes and slowly exhaled, shame and lust and envy violently contorting in his chest until he felt like vomiting. Shit.
At night he'd lay in bed staring into the darkness for hours, twisting impatiently, trying to find a comfortable position in his search for sleep. Why do I feel like this? The sheets swished as he turned onto his back. Who am I? What am I? He grunted in frustration. Why can't I figure this out? He held still for a moment as loneliness and isolation washed over him. "It's not going to get better," he muttered.
Once, on impulse, he had pulled out all of his facial hair with a pair of tweezers—three hours in front of the mirror plucking at his chin, lips, cheeks, and neck. He had held the tweezers so forcefully that his fingertips were a bruised greyish-purple for days afterwards. The hair grew back within a week.
At the therapist's office he filled out the intake paperwork. Name, address, age, sex. He paused, staring at the two checkboxes on the sheet. His hand hovered tentatively over the box labeled 'Female' for a few seconds while two voices argued in his head:
Am I female?
You know you're not.
But I want to be.
I...don't know. I think so. Maybe.
Maybe you're just a perverted little faggot?
It's not wrong to be trans.
Do you really believe that?
He reminded himself to breathe as he marked the box 'Male'.