Felix is a 14-year-old boy. He loves musicals, especially Les Mis and Assassins, bands such as Mayday Parade, Panic! At The Disco, and Fall Out Boy. He is an avid reader, and he read the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo in 8 days (“It was the Julie Rose translation,” adds Felix). His favorite author is Elliott DeLine, and Felix recently got to meet DeLine and get his book signed by DeLine at a poetry slam/book reading. He recently “stage crewed” for his school play, Honk!, and had fun doing it.
I met Felix a couple of years ago on the bus to sleepaway camp. I was immediately intrigued by him because he was wearing a smiley-face tie and reading a book with a shiny cover (the book was Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan). I didn’t know anyone else on the bus, so I asked him if I could take the empty seat next to him.
“Sure,” the boy said.
“I’m Maisie. What’s your name?” I asked.
“I’m Margalit. My life goals are to grow a mustache and to wear an orange tuxedo at my wedding.”
Felix wasn’t actually born male. At birth, he was assigned female. This means that he is transgender. I sat down with him recently to ask him questions, partly because we are friends and he was at my house for dinner.
Have you ever felt like you were a girl?
What is a girl supposed to feel like? I mean, I used to like fairies and princesses and the color pink, but that was because pink was totally a punk rock color at the time, especially hot pink. That’s resorting to stereotypes, though, and I don’t want to do that.
Okay, let me rephrase the question. Have you ever physically felt like a girl/expected to go through puberty and become a woman?
Uh, no. These are awkward questions. No offense.
None taken. Do your friends and classmates see you as a boy or a girl?
My friends see me as a boy. I don’t know what my classmates see me as, although the fact that you assume there’s only two ways of seeing me is making unjust assumptions.
Moving on from the awkward questions, what do you want to do when you grow up?
I intend to have a mohawk, and date many people, and be an activist for various causes, including feminism, LGBT/queer rights, and anti-racism, although I’m white, so I’ll have to make sure to let the non-white people take the lead. At some point, I intend to overthrow the government and write a book. Also, I’m gonna be an artist. And, at one point in my life, although maybe not when I’m “grown up,” I am going to be The Balladeer in a performance of Assassins.
What kind of artist do you want to be?
A radical one. Maybe a photographer, maybe a painter, maybe as “The Guy Who Writes Slogans on T-Shirts.” Just, I wanna do something good for the world, and I want to do something I love, and I want to make money for it, possibly, because it would be good for my life. Money would also be good if I ever go to college, because debt. Though in Canada, I won’t have that problem.
So you’re moving to Canada?
I’m getting dual citizenship. My dad was born there. And they have free healthcare. So SURGERY!
Speaking of your dad, how are your parents taking the whole transgender thing?
Um, they, uh, they take it. At the beginning, they really wanted me to be a girl and not to tell people because, “You know, you might change your mind. You don’t want to make life more difficult for yourself.” It was especially hard for my dad, but now, he is strangely better with the pronouns and stuff than my mom. So, people change their minds! Just not me on this one.
Do you think you will ever change your mind?
Well, my life goals might get more practical, but on the gender thing, not particularly. I mean, I might grow up to be a drag queen, because, quite frankly, some of the stuff about femininity is awesome, like eyeliner. Heck, even as a guy, I’m gonna be wearing eyeliner, even though I never did as a girl. But I never was really “a girl.” I was just the default option. I mean, I was a kid, and I liked the stuff I liked, and people assumed I was a girl, so I just went along with it. I knew nothing else.
When did you come to the realization that you are a boy?
The summer before 7th grade, which was also the summer I came out of my depression. Sixth grade was horrible because, just, I had friendship problems, and guilt problems, and PUBERTY. It just, I had horrible coping skills. And then, I realized one of the reasons why I was so depressed was because I hated my body. Which was weird because, I was never the type to be insecure. And then, when people started seeing me as a boy, I was actually happy.
Were you comfortable with who you were after you started being seen as a boy?
Well, it wasn’t “right away”, quite frankly, and since I was at camp, it was only strangers trying to kick me off of the girls’ side, so it wasn’t really a comfortable situation. And then, I wasn’t really seen as a boy when I got back home. And that was just horrible. But when I did start being seen as a boy at home, and I did my research on being transgender and started coming out, and reading Elliott DeLine books, I was comfortable with myself. Oh yeah, and I was very awkward during the entire thing.
Why are you friends with me?
Because you like cupcakes, and I like cupcakes, and you let me read your Harry Potter books and borrow your Harry Potter costumes. And you’re nice, I guess. I didn’t mean that to seem offensive. I mean, you are nice, and that’s one of the best things for someone to be. Also, you let me watch your movies, and I never get to watch movies anywhere else.
Do you do any sports?
I go to the gym, does that count? I mean, I take rock-climbing lessons, but I usually have to skip them to go to rehearsal. I’m an artsy kid. I’m trying to figure out the art of the push-up.
Thanks for letting me interview you for my blog! I’m honored to be your friend.
Why thanks, it is quite an honor being my friend. I am very high-maintenance.