Nineteen Years Ago — October 1997
Just like John had said, I found myself attending school for the first time in a few months. The island’s only school was Havenport High, which despite the name served all students of the island K-12.
Thankfully John had somehow strong armed the school into admitting me as Ian Coleman and also sign me down as a guy; including using the men’s bathroom and locker room. Some people seemed a bit off put, asking some questions as I didn’t really pass for male, but I just brushed them off. Although it could get hard dealing with it, I tried to stay positive: It was just temporary, soon I’d be able to fix my stupid body…
Although Michael attended the same school as I did, he was a few grades higher than me so we shared no classes and had different lunch periods. The only time we crossed each other were when we came in and left. after our initial introduction I didn’t want to be his friend and he didn’t seem to want me to. But at least just went along calling me Ian, even if he slipped up a few times on my new pronouns.
After my first week was over, John took me back to New York. This time however we barely stayed within the city, heading straight for the Legion headquarter and then into the basement. I was about to ask where we were going when we stepped into a room with a giant shimmering vortex suspended within a frame made of technological components.
“Teleporter. Fastest way to travel.”
“We’re not going to be like blown to atoms and reassembled right?”
“No, it’s more of a wormhole really. It folds space on itself to connect two points together. No disassembly or anything, we come in and out in one piece.”
He stepped toward the rift and I half-heartedly followed him into it. I expected something; a buzzing, a chill, anything really but nothing came. We just stepped through and walked into another room. It was similar enough but different enough that I knew we’d gotten someplace else.
I took a few steps off the platform and saw massive windows. What I saw beyond them, I wasn’t ready. There was earth, floating in space. I turned to the other side and another window showed me the moon.
“Wait, we’re in space?” I exclaimed.
“That we are. Welcome to Gateway kiddo.” John said. “The true headquarter of the legion.”
“How is there even gravity?” I asked, jumping up. I went higher than I would have on earth but I still reconnected with the ground.
“Gateway is actually a torus, which means it’s shaped like a donut.” A guy said. I turned around and saw him. The guy who’d just spoken was a Filipino guy in his late teens. He wore a red simple jumpsuit with the word ‘FORGE’ branded across his chest.“The station rotates on itself and the centrifugal force cause us to be lightly pressed against the outer hull which serves as the deck of the station. What we see as above us is actually the center of the station. If you run straight ahead, you’ll come back to this spot eventually.”
“Woah.” The idea of being on a space station blew my mind. At the moment, I had nothing left in it except how cool it was and how much I wanted to see more of it.
“Well, we better get going so you can see the doc.” John said, bringing me back to reality.
“Oh sorry, I get excited when people ask questions about my magnum opus.”
“You built this?”
“Yes I did. I’ve been working on these kinds of things since I was twelve. It’s the benefit of being an inventor-type mutant. Oh but where are my manners, I’m Forge, but you can call me Alejandro.”
“Oh you’re John’s newest bird, eh?”
“Come on birdy.” John yelled from the other side of the room. In the seconds I’d taken to speak to Alejandro, he’d moved all the way across the room.
“Coming!” I ran to catch up to him.
Although it wasn’t quite the tour I was craving, the walk to the doctor carried us through a series of living quarters and other accommodations including a large cafeteria and a rec room. We stopped in front of a door with a red cross painted on it along with another symbol I didn’t recognize and John pressed the bell.
A moment later, the door opened and a blue lizard-like alien came out. Although I’d heard plenty about Venusians, it’d been a decade or so since they’d first been discovered, it was my first time seeing one in the flesh.
“Hello!” It said in a jovial tone. “You must be Ian. I’m doctor Sij. I’m female in case you were wondering.”
“You’re the doctor?” I asked, surprised.
“I am. Although I’m new here, I’ve been practicing medicine on Earth bet for nearly fifty two years now. I’m a pediatrician, obstetrician-gynecologist, endocrinology, psychiatrist, surgeon, general practitioner and also a specialist in infectious diseases.”
“For real.” She confirmed. “Unlike humans we venusians need only about two to three hours of rest per day and I enjoy my job so I don’t typically require much time off, so in addition to my practice I’ve been keeping studying full time. But enough about me, let’s talk about you. If you would please sit down.”
She guided me to a set of chairs and we both sat down. She took a note pad and pen out before facing me.
“Mr. Coleman told me you were seeking assistance for gender transition from female to male. I’d like your input on that.”
“It’s just that I’ve never felt like a girl…” I said, muttering the answers. The four eyed-gaze of the doctor felt heavy, like I was being judged. “I’ve always wanted to be a boy, like that was my biggest dream… And I think hormones would help me be more comfortable in my body, because right now it just grosses me out…” As I spoke, the doctor took some notes on her pad in some strange squiggly alphabet. “So yeah… I really need your help.”
“Alright.” She said before spinning her chair around and opening a drawer and taking a stack of papers. “I have here a document I’d like you to read and sign, it explains the changes that would accompany hormonal transition as well as some of the risks. Of course I’d like to point out that many of the risk highlighted here are perfectly standard and are the same cisgender males experience.”
I took the papers and gave them a look over. They went through a lot of what I was expecting; deeper voice, stronger hair growth, increased growth, increase in energy and sex drive and etc. It also highlighted a bunch of risks, ranging from male pattern baldness to potential increase in cardiovascular risks, but I didn’t worry too much. Once I was done reading I took a pen that Doctor Sij handed me and signed the paper. She took it, looked it over and then took out a small pad and began writing something down.
“What are you doing?” I asked, leaning forward to see.
“Writing you a prescription for injectable testosterone. I could prescribe you pills if you are truly uncomfortable with needles but I have to warn you that they may be slower to take effect, may not stop your menstrual cycle and there is a risk that they may negatively impact renal and liver function.”
“Wait, so you’re not like going to ask me a whole lot of questions and stuff or make me see a shrink?”
“I believe that you are old enough to understand the risk and benefits of hormone therapy and that you know what is best for your own physical and mental well being and that you aren’t doing this on a whim. Of course if you’d like to talk about your feelings or about transitioning, I’d be happy to.”
“Oh wow… Thank you.”
“You’re very welcome. Although if you don’t mind I’d like to ask you a few questions about your mental well being. Would you be okay with that?”
“Sure I guess…” I answered with a shrug.
So like that she questioned me on a bunch of things; if I ever experience hallucinations, ever had delusions, if I ever happened to lose control and be within a dream-like state, as if someone else was in control of my body. Then came more mundane questions; my relationship with food, the stability of my mood, whether I was lacking energy, motivation or focus. For the most part, everything was fine. The only thing that caused me any emotional distress really was my body and people’s reaction to being trans…
“Well, I think have everything I need to be a hundred percent confident in ethically prescribing you hormones replacement therapy.” She said, giving me a smile. “The injections are scheduled to be performed once a month for now, on the upper thigh or buttock, it will most likely cause the area to be raised and sore for as few days. Mr. Coleman is trained in first aid and should be able to help you with your injections, although I’m always happy to assist if you would prefer I do it myself.”
“Alright… So is that all?”
“Well, if you’d allow it, I could administer your first dose. I keep some testosterone on hand for reasons I cannot disclose. Although I’d prefer if I could first perform a comprehensive check up as to establish a baseline for your health.”
“That would be perfect.”
Although I didn’t really know how to read Venusian emotions, I had a feeling that the idea of giving me a checkup and a shot made her really kind of happy. Although I normally dreaded doctors and examinations, the idea of getting my first shot kept all my doubts and anxiety at bay as she proceeded with everything.
Within a half hour, I found myself with my first shot done and being given a cherry lollipop courtesy of the doctor which I couldn’t resist and was dismissed although with a strong suggestion to come back for regular physical and mental examination, just to be safe. Just like she said, the place where she’d injected me remained sore as hell for a few days, but damn it, it was worth any amount of pain.