A Melbourne teen has found itself in a situation that no man, woman or other could ever have predicted.
Martlyn, born Martin and assigned male at birth, was midway on the journey to its new gender when its insurance company – who we cannot identify under threat of legal retaliation – abruptly refused to continue paying for its hormone replacement therapy. Martlyn’s ultimate aspiration is to become “Marilyn”, an aspiration it is now forced to put on hold indefinitely, roaming our streets in mid-transition in the interim, which looks every bit as bizarre as it sounds.
Martlyn’s refusal to identify with its oppressive birth name and simultaneous refusal to sully its intended name Marilyn with its present abominable state struck our editors as particularly brave, even courageous.
“The process of transitioning is an exceptionally difficult experience for a teenager, or anyone, by itself,” said Martlyn, in a strained and pressured drawl that could not be called masculine, yet was certainly not feminine, try as Martlyn might by forcing upward inflections and vocal fry haphazardly into its speech. “For one, I am often called names at school. Sometimes, I have to deal with bureaucratic paperwork that is really, well, impersonal, only giving me a choice between male and female. It feels cold. These aren’t things that normal children will ever have to deal with, being othered by paperwork.”
To make matters worse, Martlyn has been told by its school principal that it is not male enough to use the male toilets, and not female enough to use the female toilets. Martlyn has instead been directed to use a specific nature strip behind the school’s sporting ground, a move that was protested by other students, on behalf of the local Indian community, as cultural appropriation.
“It’s degrading,” said Martlyn, in its characteristically unnerving hiss. “I am dignified, I deserve respect. It is degrading to have to toilet in the open like some kind of freak.” A nearby possum hissed back, having apparently interpreted Martlyn’s speech as a mating call.
Unfortunately, there appears to be no resolution in sight. Martlyn, a teenager, does not have the legal resources to force its insurance company to continue paying for its treatment. Martlyn’s school refuses to allow it to use either toilet, citing safety concerns.
A meeting with the school’s guidance counsellor proved just as unhelpful, as Martlyn relates.
“He told me it’s like getting a facial tattoo, what I’ve done. He said I would never be employable, and I might as well not waste my time finishing high school.”
Martlyn’s school could not be reached for comment.
Submitted by Jack Jackson