Alan Elder was born six pounds, eight ounces with the largest baby penis his mother had ever seen. She didn't circumsize him for fear that it would hurt too much. Susan Elder, an only daughter and single mom, had always considered herself a tolerant, brave, revolutionary. She had always been the supportive one, the creative one, the outgoing one. This is what she told herself the morning of Alan's gender reassignment surgery. This was her mantra as she breathed in and out and counted once more to ten. Not that she needed her therapist to give her this advice, she didn't need a therapist because, well, she was tolerant, she was brave, she was revolutionary.
THAT morning, the morning that everything was going to change, she looked at photos of Alan as a baby. She laughed at his giant baby penis. She saw him so uncomfortable in all of his toddler clothes, except for when he had pants on his head; his "hair". He looked most happy with his tutu, with his barbies, with his mothers shoes. She saw his baby blue shoes, his baby blue blocks, his little baby blue onesie. She waived off any feelings of sadness, forcing herself not to feel them. She had to be happy. She had to be tolerant, brave, revolutionary.
The doctor had explained to Susan, that Alan was never really a boy. He had always been a little girl. A little girl named Alan. A little girl who had been trapped in a boys body with the unfortunate added bonus of a large baby penis which grew to a large teenager and then larger adult penis; a constant, unfortunate reminder for Alana that she was in the wrong body. She had been lucky that her parents had named her Alan and that all she had to do was add a very expensive "A" to the end of her name. A very painful, very expensive, very life altering "A"to change all of the "HE'S" legally to "SHE'S". Of course, this was just on the surface. In reality, Alana had no idea who would truly embrace and support her and who would whisper behind her back. She long desired to be beautiful. The trans community had enough role model's and she was not ready to be one of them. She wasn't ashamed that her number one goal in life was to be pretty. She felt that her life could not start until she was pretty, At least that is what she wrote in her diary. Susan read through the diary that morning as she fought feelings of grief she knew she was not allowed to have.
Truth be told, Susan had at times hated Alan. She thought he could be a deplorable human being. All he had cared about was shopping, famous people, hair, and money. She kept hoping that he would change, she kept hoping that would some how just be content and "be gay". But this was something far different, far worse in her mind.
Alana waited and waited for Susan that morning, but Susan never showed, a fact only known to Alana when a man named Walter Alan stood in the doorway of her hospital room. Her father never knew her as a he, not really anyway. He never knew her as anything because he was never around. He'd left Alan and Susan when the baby was just a few months old. Alana didn't know if this made it easier or harder for him, but he was there for the first time. Walter Alan showed up for his daughter, his soon to be gender- reassigned daughter. He held Alana's hand while she was getting her IV. He told her she was beautiful and strong, like her mother and as Alana fell asleep, she could hear her father's singing or perhaps it was a lullaby she remembered from birth.
When she awoke, everything was different, not because she was a girl between her thighs but because she had experienced, for the first time, kindness of a stranger. Her father had always been a stranger. Suddenly, the monumental grandness of this moment had a rival in equal grandeur. Her father had arrived, her father had showed up. He had called her Alana. He showed her photos of his family. He asked that they keep in touch, a sentiment she knew was nice but unrealistic as their lives could not be further apart. Susan sat quietly outside, never coming in, never letting her presence be known. She could not face them.
Before he left, Alana asked him how it was that he knew about this day of all days. How did he know to show up, how did he know to be there? He opened up his bag with all of Alan and Alana's old diaries. Susan had sent them to him with a note that said "show up for our daughter's birthday" with the location, time and date. He kissed his daughter on the forehead and asked that she forgive her mother. Tears streaming down her face she asked on what planet it was possible for her to do that. She could not possibly forgive someone who abandoned her at the worst possible time. If susan thought Alana was a deplorable human, Alana thought worse of Susan right now. Meanwhile Susan sat outside, still having not showered in two days, just sitting outside, waiting, not letting herself be known.
Walter looked at Alana kindly and said, "You can, because like your mother, you are tolerant, you are brave, you are revolutionary."