Setting: Michael is a sixteen-year-old black boy who lives with his successful parents. Two years ago Michael’s father “transitioned” to living as a “woman” with both hormonal and surgical modifications. Michael now calls his father “mom” and his mother “mommy.” Today, Michael sits down at the kitchen table to talk with his “mom” about his own upcoming transition.
Michael: Hey mom, what’s up?
Mom: Nothing much, honey. Just reading about the Mueller report. Frustrated.
Michael: Oh…uh Mom, can I talk to you for a few minutes. I have been thinking a lot lately about something, and I need to share it with you.
Mom: Sure, bud. Is this about your college choice? You know how proud your mommy and I are about those recent African American Chemistry scholarship offers. You rock! So what’s up?
Michael: (With trepidation)…do you remember two years ago when you first told me you felt like you were a woman on the inside but trapped in your body? Well, I…I…uh..
Mom: Oh my goodness, Michael! Are you thinking about transitioning? Wow, sweetie. Please talk, son.
Michael: Yes, mom, I do want to transition, but it is not to being a woman. I don’t know what that feels like. I am feeling a different identity, something deep but clear.
Mom: Oh, well, I chose woman for myself. It just made sense and felt right, but I know there are more options nowadays. So do you know what the gender-identity is called? Would you like to see my doctor?
Michael: Actually, mom, I feel white.
Mom: Excuse me?
Michael: (sighs deeply) I know it sounds weird, but I think I am really a white boy. It is the only thing that makes sense to me. White is right for me. I ju—
Mom: (interrupts totally dumbfounded) Michael. You are my son. Your mommy is black. Your mom is black. When I watched you come out of your mother, you were black. This is what you are—black!
Michael: But I do not feel black, mom. I feel white, and I know it is who I am. There is no other explanation.
Mom: This is ridiculous, Michael. I am looking you in the eyes right now. You are my son, and you are a black boy. Listen, I know we live in a predominately white area, and you have had some struggles at school and at home, but give it time. You will get over this feeling.
Michael: Dad! (with instant regret) er….sorry, Mom. I have been feeling this for about a year. It’s like I am a white guy trapped in a black kid’s body. I feel white. I want to be white. I am going to be white.
Mom: Sorry, to tell you this son, but you will always be black.
Michael: No, they have ways to bleach the skin. In fact, I have already set up an appointment to look at the costs for skin whitening. It takes several treatments, but eventually my outside will match my inside.
(Mom puts his face in her hands in utter disbelief and shakes her head. Michael starts to gain zeal for his decision).
Michael: Two years ago you were my father, and now you are my mom! If you can change your gender, then I can change my ethnicity.
Mom: How dare you compare your decision to mine! I was trapped in that male body my entire life. Every day I had to look at that hideous…well you what I mean. The point is that I knew that I was a woman and no one was going to stop me from being who I am. I am a black woman married to another black woman with a black son. No one is going to change that!
Michael: Exactly, mom. I am trapped. I expect you to support my decision to escape this black shroud. This is not who I am. I am a white man. How can you not see it? Honestly, I feel oppressed by you right now. Why won’t you accept something so blatantly obvious?
Mom: I am not oppressing you, Michael. I am trying to get you to see that you cannot just go around and change your skin color. You will not do this to yourself and our family.
Michael: I don’t feel safe here anymore. I’m leaving. (walks away).
Mom: Wait! Where are you going, son?
Michael: I am making my move. I’m going to go to stay with some friends until I can start my skin therapy. I am making my move, mom. Some day you will see who I have really been all along. Your white son.