After a day of being bullied and misgendered, Ash and Emery leave the school and head home.
“So how was it?” Emery asked, looking over at Ash.
“It was okay. Some people were okay with calling me Ash, but there were some teachers that insisted on calling me by my birth name. Oh, and don’t even get me started on pronouns!” Ash says, rolling their eyes. As they arrive at Ash’s house, Emery quickly says goodbye and continues walking home. Ash opens the front door, only to find their dad on the phone, almost as if he was waiting for them to return.
“Ashlynne, why are people at school calling you ‘Ash?’” He says as he hangs up the phone.
“It’s just a stupid nickname that just kinda stuck with me, that’s all…” Ash says as they look down at the floor.
“Well, it needs to stop. We didn’t name you Ash, we named you Ashlynne. Ash is a boy’s name. Last time I checked you were our daughter, and that’s how it is,” he sternly said as he turned and walked toward the stairs. Ash, on the verge of tears, looks over at their mom in the living room. Ash and their mom make eye contact, and it was too much. They both began to cry silently, internally. Ash’s mom had always suspected something with Ash, and she knew that what their father said had hurt them. She walked over to Ash, kissed them on the forehead, and went up the stairs.
“That sounds rough, I hope things get better for you at home,” Emery says as they walk to school with Ash the next day.
“Thanks. I have this weird feeling, though…” Ash said, unintentionally making a slightly puzzled expression.
“A weird feeling? About what?” Emery asked, completely lost.
“I don’t know… it’s about my mom. I uh… I feel like she might know… about me,” Ash says nervously.
“Maybe you’re just paranoid? You’ve been stressin’ pretty hard about this stuff recently,” Emery said, once again trying to lift the mood of the conversation. The rest of the walk to school was painfully silent. When they enter the school building, Ash and Emery notice a new poster on the “Club Bulletin.” They begin reading it, and their expressions brighten.
“They’re forming a Gay-Straight Alliance? This is awesome! I’ve always wanted to be in a GSA!” Ash shouted, pointing at the poster covered in rainbows and pride flags.
“Now you show your true colors,” Emery jokingly said. Ash hadn’t shown this much energy in public since they were in elementary school. Ash quickly looked around at the other students and instantly went quiet. Ash quickly wrote the club’s details in a notebook and then rushed to class to avoid being late. Emery sighs and walks to class.
“Did you talk to the president of the GSA?” Emery asked Ash as they walk home.
“Yeah, the first meeting is tomorrow. You don’t have to register in advance, so you can come with me if you want,” Ash said in a cheerful tone.
“That’d be rad,” Emery replies as they continue walking.