Humans is powered by Vocal creators. You support Lillian Payne by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Humans is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

A Short Story

On Being Me

Lilli at Wildflower, Taken by Jeanne Woodbury

I haven't always known I was gay or gender non-conforming. I used to be cishet. But the first time I remember my gayness coming out is when I was a young child.

I had been watching the live-action Scooby-Doo movie by myself, because my mom was out and my dad was in the computer room playing WoW. After my movie ended, another show came on with a graphic sex scene. It excited me in a strange way, an experience I was not familiar with. As I got older, I realized I was turned on by the girl, and paid little to no attention to the guy. At the time, I didn't think anything of it. I just thought that's how people experienced looking at sex.

In middle school, I got sexually excited looking at gay sex, and so did some of my friends. I think. It seemed like more of a joke to them. I went along with it, as kids do, but I didn't feel like I wasn't "supposed" to feel the same as they did. It was just good fun. 

Then I got my first girlfriend. I'd had boyfriends before then, and I enjoyed it, but this was different. I played my first game of spin the bottle in eighth grade (all girls) at a friend's birthday sleepover. Well, all girls at the time, since I didn't start questioning my gender identity until high school. It was new and exciting—I had never kissed a girl before, and the taboo nature of it was what excited me. It was then that I had decided I was bisexual. 

The night progressed into us kids being kids, as we put a condom filled with the water from the top of a plastic sour cream jar into the room where the birthday girl's brother and his friends were sleeping off their drinks. He then woke up later that night and came into our room to yell at us, and I was a little scared, but most of us thought it was dumb and funny. 

She was the first person to give me an orgasm.

Flash forward to high school, where I'd had about three girlfriends and three boyfriends (I've been involved with way too many people). And in the midst of all that, around my sophomore and junior year, I started to question my gender. I bound my chest with scarves and had a name picked out for myself: Lyle. Lyle Alexander. I even accentuated the hair on my face. I had days where I'd want to be called Lyle and days where I was fine being called Lilli. I called what I was experiencing 'gender fluid.' Some people were fine with it, and some were not, of course. Especially the boy I was I love with at the time. The bastard. Now that I think about it, it was him and subsequent boyfriends/partners that made me feel like I needed to suppress the exploratory journey of my gender. So I was back to being cishet and then bisexual for about a year afterward. 

It was only after I got together with my current girlfriend that I felt allowed to explore my gender again. I was walking down the street by my college when a lady was cautioning her daughter not to run into me. While I applaud her for looking out for her child's safety, she said something that upset me: "Don't run into that girl." I did not like it one bit. "Girl". How did she know? What made her assume I was a girl? Was it my face? My hair? The way I walk? Within my own perception of myself, none of it would make sense. Although I will probably never see that woman again, I would have to assume her assumption was based on some combination of the three aspects of myself mentioned above. 

I experienced dysphoria the other day without totally knowing that's what it was. I knew I felt like my boobs weren't supposed to be on my body and it stressed me out, but I had to look it up to be sure. But, with little success; most of the results were about body dysmorphia or gender dysphoria. Once I expressed it to my girlfriend, she confirmed my suspicions. It's all very new to me still. And I kind of like it when she calls me Lyle.

She bought me a sports bra to hold me over until I can get a binder. It's been delivered to her parents' house, and another friend of mine has one they're willing to give to me. My identity feels more real now.

My Girlfriend, Jeanne Woodbury

Read next: Coffee
Lillian Payne
Lillian Payne

I am a non-binary trans, polysexual artist. They/them pronouns. I take photographs, sing, draw, and paint, but photography is what I love the most. I cannot imagine myself being anything other than an artist.

Now Reading
A Short Story
Read Next
Coffee