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Fiction Transgender LGBTQ+

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

“Gina Fortier? Here’s your new New York State license, ma’am” the lady sitting behind the glass at the DMV slides Gina’s new license under the partition. Gina lets out her breath, not realizing she was holding it. She picks up the shiny new driver’s license. New York State. Gina Fortier. Sex: F. Eyes: BL. HT: 6-02. Gina wipes tears away from her eyes and rereads. Gina Fortier. Sex: F.

For the last 14 years her ID said something different. SHE was someone different. When she came into this very same DMV at the age of sixteen, she was a young, confused boy, yearning to get his license so he could get out of Buffalo and go to the city. But here she is. Still in Buffalo. But grown. Matured. A woman.

“Thank you,” Gina says as she takes the treasure and places it in her Michael Kohrs wallet. She’s not sure if the woman gives her a judgmental look or not before Gina gets up to leave. But it doesn’t matter now. These people can look all they want; Gina is, by the State of New York, a woman. She has a new name and license to prove it. As she walks towards the exit, she feels her phone buzz from her clutch. As she picks it up, she sighs remembering it’s her dad’s 60th birthday dinner tonight and her mom is obviously calling to remind her.

“Brian?” her mom asks before she can say hello. Gina grimaces hearing this name. She hasn’t been called Brian by her friends for at least 10 years. Why can’t her mom understand that?

“Gina, mom. It’s Gina,” Gina says into the phone sternly. She is not going to be treated this way by her mom today. Not today.

“Brian, Gina, whatever you call yourself these days. Are you meeting us at Applebee’s for dad’s birthday? You can’t be late you know. You’re always late,” her mom scolds her. Gina can hear her mom’s yapping yorkie in the background.

“Yes, mom. You reminded me yesterday. And the day before. And the day before. I will be there soon,” Gina replies, feeling frustrated. She sees that Virginia is calling on her call waiting. “Listen, I have an important call coming in. I will see you soon. Love you.” Gina hangs up the phone and clicks over to Virginia. “This is Gina,” she says formally as if she’s answering a business call.

“Is that my strong queen?” a voice booms on the other line.

“You like that I went with Fortier? Not too much?” Gina asks as she presses unlock on her key fob and steps into her silver Lincoln Nautilus.

“No, I love that you went with a last name with a meaning. And you are the strongest woman I know so why wouldn’t you go with Fortier? And really, what kind of last name was Whitehead anyways? When I first met you and you told me your last name was Whitehead, all I thought about was a big pimple.” Gina laughs aloud and turns her car onto Swan Street. “Can we celebrate tonight? Ladies’ night out somewhere nice?”

“I can’t,” Gina says feeling disappointed. “It’s my dad’s 60th birthday and I’m headed to Applebee’s right now. There aren’t enough skinny margaritas in that place to get me through this dinner.”

“Oh girl,” Virginia consoles her, “You’re going right now? The only people in there are gonna be you and some geriatric customers. It’s still daylight out.”

“I know, my parents won’t drive past dark,” Gina responds as she stops at a red light and checks her lipstick in the rear-view mirror.

“Then let’s go out for drinks after?” Virginia offers. “Nine O’clock? Boxwood?” Boxwood was their go-to spot for a guaranteed good time. Gina smiles into the mirror, making sure she doesn’t have any lipstick on her teeth.

“I’ll see you then,” she says with a grin. Knowing she’s meeting Virginia later will help her get through this dinner with her family.

“See you then Miss Queen,” Virginia says and hangs up the phone. As Gina pulls into the Applebee’s, she sees that her parents are already standing in the parking lot with her younger sister, Rosemary. Rosemary still lives with her parents even though she’s 23 years old and is more than capable of living on her own. Gina can’t imagine living with her parents one minute more than necessary; she moved out when she turned eighteen although her dad tells people he kicked her out. She knows the truth. She left on her own free will.

“Happy birthday, dad,” Gina says as she crosses the parking lot and hands her dad a present. Her dad, a heavyset man with a permanent growl on his face, looks at Gina as if she’s intruding on their evening.

“Hello, Brian,” her dad says as he hesitantly takes the present from Gina’s hands and looks her up and down. “You look…interesting as always. Hope we don’t see anyone we know here tonight.” He turns and hands the present to Gina’s mom as he heads towards the entrance. Gina’s mom smiles politely at Gina and then turns to follow her dad’s lead.

“New highlights?” Rosemary asks as she walks next to Gina into the restaurant. Gina reaches her hands up to touch her hair, almost forgetting she dyed her once brown hair to a more summer blonde.

“Yea, felt like going with something a little lighter,” Gina says as she holds the door open for Rosemary.

“Looks nice,” Rosemary says politely as she steps inside. Gina can feel eyes turn to her as she follows her family to the table. She senses people whispering, looking her up and down. Or maybe they aren’t looking at her at all. Maybe it’s in her imagination. It usually is her imagination. She sits down next to Rosemary, facing her dad.

“So, dad. Did you do anything nice for your birthday yet?” Gina asks as she opens the menu and scans the drinks. Maybe she’ll get a vodka soda instead of a margarita. Or maybe a red wine.

“Fixed the lawn mower. That thing has been acting up,” her dad responds as he opens up his napkin and places it on his lap.

“Oh, that’s great,” Gina says, trying to be respectful. She sees a young waitress approach their table. She looks to be younger than Rosemary.

“Hello, and welcome to Applebee’s. My name is Amanda, and I will be serving you today. Can I get you all some drinks while you look over the menu?” the waitress asks as she pulls a pad of paper and pen from her apron.

“Budweiser for the birthday boy,” Gina’s dad says right away before anyone can speak.

“Happy birthday, sir,” Amanda says and scribbles his order down.

“I’ll have a strawberry daquiri; extra whipped cream,” her mom orders with a sneer. “It’s a special occasion so I’ll indulge myself!”

“I’ll have a rum and coke,” Rosemary orders.

“Vodka soda,” Gina blurts out. She needs some alcohol and quick.

“Okay so that’s a Budweiser, strawberry daquiri, rum and coke, and vodka soda?” Amanda asks. “And sorry to ask this, but I have to ask anyone who looks under the age of 30 for IDs.” She turns and looks at Gina and Rosemary. Gina can’t tell if this is the truth, or if Amanda is snooping and wants to investigate her more. As she takes out her ID, she feels pride and shame all mixed into one. Amanda takes Rosemary’s ID first from the table, eyes it quickly, and hands it back to her. She then grabs Gina’s ID, inspects it, looks up at Gina, inspects it more, looks up at Gina, and inspects it more. Gina now knows Amanda isn’t just looking at it for her age.

“Is there a problem?” Gina asks, shifting uncomfortably in her chair. “I’m clearly older than she is, and you just handed her ID back right away,” she gestures towards Rosemary sitting next to her.

“No problem,” Amanda says handing the ID back to her. “Sorry about that Ms. Fortier.” Amanda turns and heads to the computer station to punch in their drinks. Flushed with anger, Gina takes the ID back and places it in her wallet wishing she had said no to the invitation for this dinner. She sees her parents on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays and that’s it. Why does she do this to herself? Why does she bother spending time with them when she’s never felt one ounce of confidence or happiness in their presence?

“Did she say Fortier?” her mother asks, looking at Gina with a confused appearance on her face.

Gina fumbles putting her wallet back into her purse. How can she feel so empowered and strong one minute and the next minute feel two feet tall? “She did say Fortier,” Gina responds, sitting up a little taller in her seat.

“Why would she say that, Brian?” her dad asks, sliding a toothpick from his pocket and putting it in his mouth.

“Because that’s my last name,” Gina replies. “And my first name is Gina. Not Brian. I had it changed legally. So, I would appreciate it if you would all remember to call me by my correct name.”

“You changed it legally? But what if you decide to go back to Brian Whitehead” her mom asks as Amanda comes back with a tray of drinks.

“Mom, I’ve never been Brian Whitehead,” Gina says as she begins to scoot out of the booth and look for the bathroom. She needs a break. “I need to use the restroom,” she murmurs before she’s embarrassed anymore in front of the waitress. Gina spies the bathroom across the bar and walks past a couple tables of men eyeing her up. She wonders if they are eyeing her up in a good way or bad way. Why does she care either way? She would never date a man who chose to eat in Applebee’s in the first place. She heads towards the lady’s room and opens the door right as a woman with short blonde hair is leaving.

“Excuse me,” Gina says as she holds the door open for the woman. The woman, who seems to be in her mid-fifties and is about a foot shorter than Gina, looks up at her in surprise.

“Excuse me,” she says, eyeing Gina up and down before scurrying away. Did Gina scare her? For the most part, Gina looks like a woman. The breasts, the clothes, the hair. Even the hormones make her voice more feminine. But her height. Her feet. No money in the world can change those things. So, it’s harder for her to blend in. All she wants is to blend in.

As Gina finishes up in the bathroom, she inspects her face in the mirror and applies more mascara to her faux eyelashes. She makes sure not to buy lashes that are too long. She isn’t trying to look like a drag queen. She isn’t a drag queen. She’s a woman. A woman whose name means strong queen. Gina zippers up her purse and as she begins to walk out of the bathroom, the door opens and a large man in a Harley leather jacket walks in, eyes wild.

“I think you have the wrong bathroom, sir,” Gina says in astonishment. “This is the ladies room.”

The man looks directly at Gina, and she sees rage burning behind his eyes. Her knees begin to buckle. “No, I think YOU have the wrong bathroom SIR,” he says as he walks closer to her. “You nearly scared the life out of my wife walking in here you circus freak!” he begins to grab at Gina, reaching for her. She screams and fumbles in her purse for her ID.

“What do you got under there, huh?” the man says as he begins to grab at her dress and lift it up. “You like to pretend to be a woman just so you can peek on them in the bathroom you sick pervert?” Before Gina’s hand grabs her license, the man slaps her hard against the cheek and she feels blood trickle down her cheek.

“Stop it!” she screams, scrambling around in her purse. “I’m a woman! My name is Gina Fortier and I’m a woman! I have a license here to prove it” she realizes her voice has deepened in her panic. It sounds like a man’s voice now. Sounding this way is almost worse than feeling the pain running through her cheek. She gives up on the ID and knees the man as hard as she can in the groin, making him drop to the floor. She pushes the door open and runs into the restaurant realizing all eyes are on her. Why do all eyes always have to be on her all of the time? What must she look like to them? Her dress is hiked up. She has tears streaming down her face. She has blood running down her cheek. She sees her parents look at her from across the restaurant. They look embarrassed. She turns towards the exit and hurries to her car as fast as she can before anyone else comes after her. Why did she come here? She pulls out of the parking lot hastily and speeds down 190 to a rest stop, wiping mascara filled tears from her face.

Pulling a tissue from her glove compartment, she dabs lightly at the blood on her lip. She opens her clutch and takes out her wallet. She takes out her license and reads. New York State. Gina Fortier. Sex: F. “I’m a woman. My name is Gina Fortier and I’m a woman. I have a license here to prove it,” she whispers to herself as she stares at her treasure. She starts the car back up and heads towards Virginia’s house, holding the ID tightly in her fist. 

January 22, 2022 20:52

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54 comments

Mister X
16:34 Jan 31, 2022

I think you missed an opportunity here. Your story was two dimensional. It drew definitive lines between the right side and the wrong side. Life is not that easy. Most of it is lived somewhere in the gray. It can feel good to try to tell the story of the oppressed but a really good story goes deeper. Superficial is safe, digging deep, however is where the reward is.

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Kathleen Fine
14:56 Feb 01, 2022

Thanks for your feedback! Any feedback is always appreciated and I am always striving to better my writing!

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Craig Westmore
22:38 Feb 01, 2022

Mister X, I hope you don't mind, but could you explain what you mean by going deeper? I don't want to start a debate. I just want to learn.

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Mister X
14:10 Feb 05, 2022

Sorry I just saw this. I call the story two dimensional because it reads like a formulaic modern tv drama. Kid who struggled all their life with their identity. Backwards parents and Neanderthal community. It's the same story everyone writes to explain the horrors of growing up different. Most parents are confused and scared and sad and mad and a hundred other emotions. Their emotions and reactions are almost never so superficial. There is depth there that was missed. You should read "Another Form of Water" by Deidra Lovegren. She is...

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Kathleen Fine
18:45 Feb 05, 2022

Thanks I just read it-it was a good read!

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M. M.
11:04 May 04, 2022

I enjoyed reading this and getting to know Gina who was an amazingly well written character. My only qualm was the biker scene, I would have liked to feel how overbearing and frightening he was to her, show not tell, not so convincing that there was no-one around to help, this taking place at a family restaurant? Had it been a bar at night would have made it more believable although this could have really happened I am not one to judge. It terrifies me that anyone gets treated this way at all. Raw and riveting, nice dialogue. Happy wri...

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Kathleen Fine
23:06 May 22, 2022

Thanks MM!

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18:58 Mar 12, 2022

Welp. There's tears. I'm transmasc so this hits home. Good job writing this.

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Kathleen Fine
23:06 May 22, 2022

Thank you!

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Susannah Meghans
16:12 Feb 26, 2022

The shaky confidence you instilled in her character shows how she is proud to be Who she is regardless of what her family thinks of her.

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Kathleen Fine
23:06 May 22, 2022

Thanks Susannah!

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John Del Rio
21:26 Feb 13, 2022

well done. reading other comments i can't help but think that sometimes it's ok to be 2 dimensional. black and white, good and evil, what not. i am glad that Gina is being herself and sad, not that she had to change to be herself, but sad that others can't let her be herself. i am rooting for Gina all the way.

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Kathleen Fine
12:58 Feb 14, 2022

Thank you John!

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John Del Rio
13:57 Feb 14, 2022

I look forward to reading more of your work.

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Paul Brown
21:52 Feb 10, 2022

I think life is hard for a great many people as they struggle to find a place within a confusing changing world. Lets hope her story finds a happy future, a place that embraces her with warmth and love. Its all anyone can ask. To be accepted, and to actually feel accepted. Liked the story very much. :) Great job Kathleen.

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Kathleen Fine
01:09 Feb 11, 2022

Thanks Paul!

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21:46 Feb 08, 2022

Excellent story Kathleen. I really felt for Gina and was devastated by the incident in the bathroom. I think you captured her confusion, her sadness, her self-doubt, her self-confidence, her anger, her hope and joy very well. This story encompassed a lot of emotion and feeling. I’m rooting for Gina! Nice work.

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Kathleen Fine
23:06 May 22, 2022

Thanks Heather!

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Isabel Ng
06:01 Feb 07, 2022

Really enjoyed reading this and liked the way you wrapped it up!

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Kathleen Fine
23:07 May 22, 2022

Thanks Isabel!

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T.M. Kehoe
20:17 Feb 02, 2022

You swept me up in your story. Doing that, in such few words, is an amazing demonstration of the craft of writing!! I did notice one sentence that brought me out of the story, though: "She left on her own free will." The usual phrase is "of her own free will," but what I thought fit better in the story was "She left on her own terms." Regardless. This was a beautiful story. Please keep writing them.

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Kathleen Fine
21:36 Feb 02, 2022

Thanks TM- and thank you for catching that!

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Michelle Cook
15:39 Feb 02, 2022

Fab story. I’m still worrying about Gina after the story is over, which is a sure sign you created a great character.

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Kathleen Fine
21:36 Feb 02, 2022

Thanks Michelle!

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Craig Westmore
22:34 Feb 01, 2022

Very well written story, Kathleen! You made me feel what Gina was going through. And I confess I might be a little uncomfortable if I had met her in person. That was the true point of your story for me - breaking down barriers and opening up to people who are different than us (on the outside). I would love to read more and see how (or if) her family grows to accept her, as well as her struggles from the past.

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Kathleen Fine
23:07 May 22, 2022

Thanks Craig!

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Craig Westmore
11:27 May 24, 2022

I think your story helps breakdown stereotypes. The other day after dropping my son off from school, I drove by three prostitutes standing on a corner (my son's school is downtown). One of them was a trans person. I thought of your story. There was no way I would get out of the car and spark up a conversation to get to know them. Your story provides access to how a trans person is feeling and shows this person to be living a life I'm familiar with. Which breaks down the idea that trans people are on the fringe of society. Thank you for your...

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Chloe Longstreet
10:10 Jan 30, 2022

This reminds me so much of my Aunt and her situation. She has been a woman for over 20 years, and back then it was a lot harder to transition than it is now. Not that it is easy now, but she went through hell. Even today, over two decades later, she has family members who refuse to call her by the proper pronouns and names, including her son from her first marriage. I wish we didn't live in the world where people would sit idly by while a woman was assaulted in a restaurant because she was trans. Sadly we do, but I think stories like this c...

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Kathleen Fine
14:56 Feb 01, 2022

Thanks for sharing your Aunt's story, Chloe. She must be a very strong woman to have endured all that she has!

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Chloe Longstreet
18:40 Feb 01, 2022

She is. I love her very much.

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Susannah Meghans
16:15 Feb 26, 2022

I agree with Chloe. You bring a great topic to light.

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Anna Nonymous
23:44 Jan 29, 2022

Kathleen this was a tough read. Not the writing - the writing was great! But it was topically tough and just hurt my heart. I cannot tell you how much I wanted to hug Gina at every turn of this story. I wanted to give her a congratulatory hug when she first got her license, I wanted to give her a sympathetic hug when her mom said "...whatever you call yourself these days," and I wanted to give her a "you don't need them anyway" hug when she registered embarrassment on her parents' faces after being assaulted. This was a really moving story. ...

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Kathleen Fine
14:55 Feb 01, 2022

Thank you Hannah!

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Barbara Burgess
18:44 Jan 29, 2022

I really enjoyed your story. In a way I would have like Gina to be rescued by her parents or the waitress. But a really good story and I felt for Gina too.

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Kathleen Fine
14:57 Feb 01, 2022

Thanks for your feedback, Barbara. Those are good suggestions!

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Delia Tomkus
21:38 Jan 28, 2022

Ugh I hate people! You did such a good job on this story, it really makes me angry(in a good way, you know what I mean)

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Kathleen Fine
14:55 Feb 01, 2022

Thanks Delia!

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Annalisa D.
02:52 Jan 27, 2022

This was a really moving story. I definitely cared for Gina and hated what she had to go through. Interesting take on the prompt too. It works well.

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Kathleen Fine
01:12 Jan 28, 2022

Thanks Annalisa!

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Shaylynn Skinner
10:06 Jan 26, 2022

Will anyone Follow me and go read my first story? Warning: horror and gore. Also read my bio.

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Kathleen Fine
11:55 Jan 26, 2022

I did!

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Shaylynn Skinner
12:12 Jan 26, 2022

Thanks, I did the same. What did you think of it?

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Kathleen Fine
01:13 Jan 28, 2022

It was great!

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Shaylynn Skinner
04:36 Jan 28, 2022

tysm

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Russell Norman
10:04 Jan 26, 2022

Sad but powerful story well told.

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Kathleen Fine
11:57 Jan 26, 2022

Thanks Russell!

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00:38 Jan 26, 2022

Very intense story. The real world is not a very kind place. I don't go to Applebee's anymore. The food is fair at best. I used to love it. When I worked at a library there was several issues with the bathroom. There would be homeless people using heroin, people trying to take baths in the sink, you name it, we had the cops deal with it. Thank goodness that the children's bathroom was upstairs. I always go at home before I go anywhere. Gina is a person. It is her choice what she wants to be in her life. She should not be branded by society t...

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Kathleen Fine
11:56 Jan 26, 2022

Thanks for your insight Kathryn!

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Coffee Mc Cann
16:50 Jan 24, 2022

Great story. I wish it wasn’t this way in the real world. I appreciate how you portrayed Gina as a person first, and not “a trans.” Thank you! -Coffee

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Kathleen Fine
23:15 Jan 24, 2022

Thanks Coffee!

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