California, USA - Green, Markowitz and Smith Psychiatric Services
The case of Leslie Smythe.
*Note that all information unless specified is from Leslie him/herself or his/her immediate family whom I have interviewed and recorded for this process. Please refer to the ‘Smythe, Leslie T’ case file on site which contains the legal release and documentation for the publication of this case, in the hopes that it will help find out what has happened to their child.
Leslie Smythe, nee Black, was initially referred from a
local California PFLAG institution. Leslie was born with a penis and testes and
assigned male at birth. By his thirteenth birthday s/he came to the realization
that s/he considered him/herself a gender fluid individual. S/he had endured
some initial hardship from his/her biological father which Miranda (Leslie's
mother) described as 'emotional
abuse that had extended to the rest of the family’;
a situation that had resulted in a divorce. Elder brother Michael and later new
step father Daniel supported Leslie and both willingly joined the PFLAG
organization on what they describe as their own suggestion. This appears to be
the truth as it inspired this group to expand the scope of their support towards
other groups of Queer identifying teenagers. Leslie attended a support group
twice a week with his/her parents or brother and had chosen to keep his name for
both his male and female sides, given that it was already considered unisex.
He/She had developed groups of friends unique to both halves of his/her person.
Daniel and Miranda first observed the symptoms shortly
after their child's sixteenth birthday. Leslie's male friends had never been the
problem however, the group of girls that Leslie had started attending
highschool as a female were all
‘straight-A students with perfect records, working towards
good colleges and with a variety of social clubs and activities’ (according to
mother M, step father D nods in reply).
However, suddenly whenever Leslie was presenting as a male, he was unable to
remember what had happened with his female friends, nor could his female friends
identify him on the street as a male.
Initially the support group tried to help with this,
reporting them discussing the issues that many other transgender and genderfluid
people may experience. They suggested that the conversations were designed to
highlight validity, self worth and the types of friendships that may not be
worth pursuing. attempting to put the situation into context with peer pressure
and other forms of bullying that may be experienced by hetero and homosexual
teenagers. They suggested that Leslie's friends may not understand his/her
situation and to bring them to a meeting if they could.
The girls appeared quite understanding and one intern suggested 'rather bewildered', though they seemed warm to Leslie in his female presentation in the future in and around school however continued to appear ignorant to his presence in their number as a female. One of these girls, agreed to contribute to this case report saying “I really don’t ever remember going to the movies with him. Her.. I don’t know but I don’t want him to kill himself or anything, Oh my god is that what this is about?” (Name is withheld on request.) No bullying was reported or observed by the school staff and the issue had to eventually be dropped.
Shortly thereafter, Leslie’s parents admitted him to our
ward when Leslie expressed an inability to remember his/her nightly activities,
but only during times when s/he chose to present as female. After two months the
pattern was confirmed; there was no such memory trouble while Leslie was
expressing himself as a male.
S/He was admitted to the institution and tested for drugs within the 24 hours after the last incident of reported memory loss. Nothing was present in their system and s/he did insist repeatedly that he was male during this time. He was kept under observation for a full 365 days, during which he completed satisfactory if not slightly advanced for his age schoolwork to advance to the next grade, developed friendships with other young interred and agreed to having internet privileges where his browsing history was monitored. He appeared to use it for Netflix. The only unusual behaviour that was exhibited was the fact that over the entire year he remained insistent that he was a male and expressed no further desire to pursue his earlier insistence that he be a transgender or genderfluid individual. The vehemence on this point remained and continues to be monitored.
Our follow-up reports indicate that he is now functioning
as a male presenting, assigned male at birth individual, with no traces of his
former gender fluidity.
His parents have reported this to be the case however he
apparently cleaned his room of all things he had purchased for female-presenting
Leslie. He had expressed a particular desire to get rid of any jewelry he owned,
however I feel this is an expression meant to emphasize his decision to keep in
line with present-day perceptions of male gender roles.
We feel Leslie Smythe should be monitored for another six months at the end of which he will be considered a legal adult. We will request at this time that he report on his status every six months for three years.
We feel that the analysis of Leslie’s case will be beneficial to recognizing patterns of trauma and prevent similar situations from arising for other gender fluid and transgendered teenagers.
“Hadiyaah!” The rapid crunch of gravel grew nearer and
“Don’t worry Sab, but yes, she saw everything. And, yes I
took care of everything.” Frank continued the explanation, a fact for which
Hadiyaah was grateful. She looked up at the short white girl, focussing intently
on the bridge of her nose until her eyes crossed and everything around her was a
With the world confined to a double-vision pale peach
smudge, a few of the details of the world around her began to come into much
sharper focus. “Wait a minute. Did you just say that awful thing was a small
one? A baby!?”
If Frank was aware that the space between her eyes was now
the target of someone’s mounting hysteria, she chose not to show it. “Yeah.
They’re called Ideas. I’m sure you want to talk to your sister about it later,
but we’re both here now and can get the ball rolling. You chased after me
because you overheard our conversation and were worried I was influencing your
sister in a negative way right?”
Hadiyaah swallowed and looked down. She could have sworn she was staring at her shoes before she realized she’d caught the much shorter Frank’s eye and reluctantly nodded, redoubling her efforts to not look over at Sabaahat. “Yeah, kinda...heard you.” she muttered, trying to look away again, but the seemingly innocuous girl held her gaze fast until she felt like a deer in the headlights.
“Kid of politicians, survivor of a bad disease. I’m pretty good at reading people’s intentions.” Frank casually sized the bewildered girl up, but much to Hadiyaah’s relief didn’t see fit to dwell or gloat over it. “Anyway, think of it this way, you will eventually. Let’s assume for a moment I had come out here to meet a dealer for drugs or buy alcohol underage or if I was trying to negatively influence your sister’s beliefs in your religion. Don’t bother looking embarrassed over whether or not I'm right. Just tell me straight: What would you have done?”
The Muslim girl found her voice. “I’d have stopped it. I
would have talked to Sabaahat or my parents. Maybe told the police.”
“Right. Because you know that would be a bad idea. A big
ugly idea is a big ugly idea. It’s the small, attractive looking ones that are
Haadiyah blinked and realized immediately that she had not
done so in a few moments. She rubbed her palms into her eyes and considered the
information, not entirely sure she understood it yet, but nodding with the
beginnings of acceptance. “So can my sister summon animals too?”
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Sabaahat’s ankles
shift uncomfortably. At some point she was going to have to look at her, but she
still felt betrayed by her keeping the enormous secret.
“Nope. She’s the team Medic. By team I mean it’s us...and
as a matter of fact, it’s not summoning animals as it is so much as raising dead
ones. When we are contacted and we decide to…”
There was a vigerous rustle of fabric. “Fine, I’ll let you
cover that Sab.”
Haadiyah looked up quickly and then back down. Just to let
her sister see how hurt she was. She wished she could tell if the guilt trip had
landed on its mark, but she had no desire to stop the exposition process right
when they were willing to babble on.
“So where was I? All of us get a power, weapon and some element control. Weirdly I get fire, which you would think kind of clashes with my raising the dead thing. Sab here, power is healing, element is ice and she has a cool decorative sword thing I don’t know the name to.”
“Scimitar.” Sabaahat put in. Haadiyah got the impression
that Frank was enjoying talking and wasn’t stopping her, probably because she
felt guilty. She also wasn’t stopping the other girl from dishing up the
“Now I oops. Listen, there’s a ton of stories out there
about girls. I looked up this guy at your school who runs a sci-fi club? Jorge
someone? There’s so many Japanese cartoons, Comics like Wonder Woman and
Supergirl, all sorts of TV shows. Some of it’s relevant.”
Haadiyah finally looked at her sister. Jorge Cruz? He’s in
my class! Is he one of these superhero people too?”
It was still Frank shook her head and answered. “Nope.
It’s girls only. I do know of one person with guy junk, but not a boy. She’s
Sabaahat blinked, seeming just as relieved that Frank seemed to be commandeering the conversation. “Who is that?!”
“Oh one of the messageboarders. You guys should get your parents to relax the internet laws a little. It’s pretty informative. There’s some girl from Korea who speaks pretty good English and is really great at art, so she does mug shots of some of the nastier looking Ideas - you should see them” She turned back to Hadiyaah. “Anyway I gave your sister the relevant ones that kid - Jorge - gave me so she could give them back when she was done. You should watch them too. Or, if you want you can stop by and watch big screen stuff.”
“Thanks, Frank. I think though that I want a moment with my sister.”
Frank nodded. “Think about it though, okay?” She headed
back in the direction of the construction site, a small black rabbit darted out
of the surrounding bushes to hop after her. A rabbit that no one else would ever
Haadiyah watched the conversation buffer disappear into
the horizon, swallowing and now very aware of her sister’s presence. Slowly she
raised her eyes upward, a thousand things flying through her mind. What should
she say? What would Sabaahat say?
They’d always been so close. She thought she knew everything about her sister. Even as slow as she went it felt as though she had a million years to stew over what else might she not know about her flesh and blood and forever best friend worked its way into her mind.
When she finally met the older girl’s eyes, she didn’t
need to analyze her like Frank had for her to know that Sabaahat was feeling
guilty. Her expression told everything, even before she spoke
“I’m really sorry.”
The dam broke and she simply hugged her sister. “I’m
really proud of you. I just wish that you’d told me. I want to know everything
okay? I wish I’d seen you fight the way that Frank girl did!”
Sabaahat hugged her back, her arms curling tight around her sister. “Yes, yes of course!” her embrace tightened to breath stealing levels with her obvious relief.
After dinner that night, Haadiyah headed up to her room to do her homework. She shifted around restlessly at her desk until she flipped to the back and twenty minutes later she’d copied out every last line from the answer key at the back of her French and pre-Calculus textbooks, She’d never been good at either subject but she’d also never cheated on her homework even once and her sister fighting giant monsters was way more important. Her teachers would believe she’d gotten everything right the one time.
Picking up her notebook and textbook in case she ran into mum or dad on the pretext on needing some help, she put on her house slippers and tried not to look overeager to get to her sister’s room and knock on the door.
“Come in Haadiyah.”
Caught by surprise, the younger sister let herself in the
door. “How on earth did you know it was me? Is it one of your...” she lowered
her voice “...is it a power?”
Sabaahat pressed the save button on what appeared to be an
essay mid-paragraph. “No, I was pretty well just sitting here waiting for you to
show up. I was going to go see you, but I still need to finish my history essay
on the Cold War. Actually, what I really wanted to say is sorry and…”
“Are you kidding me? My sister is a superhero!” Haadiyah was relieved to find that her response had none of the avoidance or hesitation from earlier and she bounced eagerly onto her sister’s bottom bunk bed. It felt easy to forget about how frightening the moment had actually been now that she was sitting at home. “So you lied, so what? I’d have done the same.”
Sabahaat blinked. “Look I saw how upset you were.”
“Yes, I was at first, but I saw how good that Frank girl
was so you must be amazing!”
Sabahaat finally gave her sister a real smile and a warm
hug and with it cleared the last of the doubts from Haadiyah’s mind “Is all
your homework done?”\
“Well I was thinking maybe you might like to come with
“Yes please! I havent’ seen you yet!”
Sabaahat winked. “Follow my lead. Bring your bag okay?”
“Is there anything I should put in it?”
“Your copy of
Haadiyah felt that her tennis racquet might have been a
better choice, but she did as she was told, practically bouncing down the steps.
Sabaahat nearly closelined her shy of the living room and put a finger to her
“Dad, Mum I’m going to Francine DeMarchant’s for English tutoring. Hadiyaah wanted to come too.”
Hadiyaah tried not to look like this was a surprise and nodded when her dad’s eyes were on her, holding her breath for a moment before she tried to let it out slowly and inconspicuously.
“That sounds good. Miss DeMarchant has improved your
English grades by a lot, Sabahaat. You should listen to whatever she has to say
“Yes, I will.” Haadiyah nodded as seriously as possible,
even though her stomach was filled with butterflies. She waited until her father
was preoccupied with fiddling with the television channels and her mother was
exasperatedly thumbing through the TV guide and focussing on what channel the
documentary she wanted to see was on versus when the Blue Jays were playing
baseball. She lowered her head on the pretense of lacing up her shoe. “Are you
guys going to be fighting another idea?”
“Yes.” Sabahaat hissed back. “We’ll be back by 10:30.”
“Hadiyaah’s bedtime is ten.” Dad shot back.
This time Hadiyaah waited until they were two doors down.
“Will it really be gone by ten?”
“Maybe if it’s an easier one.” Sabaahat replied as they reached the end of the walk, but instead of turning towards the enormous DeMarchant mansion, she led them right and into the park. This late at night, the street lamps were on, but they cast eerie shadows over the ground. An unease began to rise in Hadiyaah’s chest and the memories of the ugly idea began to overshadow its sound defeat at the hands of the mourning garbed Frank.
It was a relief when they came off the path and into the
clearing by a wooden fence that was well lit from behind and she realized that
they were at the back entrance to the very familiar public pool. It certainly
helped that Frank was poking her head out of the unlatched wooden gate, waving
As they drew closer, Hadiyaah could make out the other
girl’s dubious expression at the sight of her and the wordless exchange with her
“She wants to see, Frank.”
“Fine. If she sees you’ll have to deal with the
“What consequences? Hadiyaah’s not going to tell anyone
even if she agrees with me that we probably should…”
“I’m not talking about the earlier stuff. Seriously, this isn’t exactly 2001 here. Get your parents to relax the internet paranoia, I found out SO much.”
Sabahaat declined to reply or press Frank further but she did transform, wearing a beatiful pink silk that stood out vividly next to the shorter girl’s black. Transformations were almost instant, just an almost seamless blink of the eye, a flare of a skirt that hadn't been there before, a sudden fall of fabric. Why they had to dress so fancy to fight was beyond Hadiyaah but apparently it was part and parcel with the process.
“I’ve measured the trajectory to here.”
The three girls walked over and Hadiyaah’s stomach tightened as the weird amber haze coiled around her ankles.
“We see it...kid sister of my Medic.”
“Sorry. Hadiyaah. The haze is the time before the bad idea can affect the world. Our job is to take it out before hand. I know it’s spooky but we want yellow haze. The more haze, the more time, the….”
An enormous splash from the once still waters of the public swimming pool announced the arrival of the Idea. Hadiyaah pressed herself back against the fence as the thing dragged itself from the chlorine disinfected waters. On the one side it looked like a young woman, no taller or bigger than Frank, but distinctly more blonde and attractive. On the other side, it was a mass blob of what looked to be a combination of melted plastic fused into exposed human organs, none of which appeared to be in the correct places. It dragged itself with a painstaking zombie lurch on its barbie doll heel and its gooey plastic next to the radiator mess.
Both the other girls appeared perfectly calm. Sabaahat
took a dainty step backwards, but this was evidently out of cordiality not
cowardice. “You go ahead Francine.”
Frank’s grin threatened to split her face and she and raced towards the pool. The water stirred again and a hail of brown leaves and buzzing insects swarmed the zombie-girl Idea head on.
The leaves left cuts on the girl side but fizzled and fell as they struck the primordial ooze side.
“Couldn’t have made it easy huh?” Frank sighed. “Okay Sab.
Let’s do this the hard way.”
“Please. We have a curfew.”
Frank rubbed her hands together and stretched her neck.
Obviously whatever she was about to attempt was deeply unpleasant.
Without so much as a yell, Frank dashed toward the Idea,
head on. Hadiyaah couldn’t even bring herself to scream as it sliced clean
through her eyes and hid her face.
There was no scream of pain, no anguish or remorse from
her sister who was….glowing pink.
Hadiyaah couldn’t take her eyes off of Frank grappling
with the Idea, her wounds healing as quickly as she could take them. Things that
should have been fatal were gone in the blink of an eye.
“Sabahaat...you’re doing that?”
“Yes. That is my power. With me as her Medic Francine cannot die unless her heart is pierced. Otherwise she can fight forever.”
Hadiyaah watched as Frank managed to grab hold of the
Idea’s girl-side hand and suddenly she remembered earlier when the shrouded girl
had mentioned her element being fire. Up went the Idea and the whole melted mess
blazed like a bonfire for awhile until it burned away entirely into a pile of
ash that was swept away with the wind and a yellow mist that could easily have
been mistaken for a wave of pollen from the nearby apple trees just beginning to
“Please Sab fix this?” Frank jerked her head in the direction of her right arm which was dangling by a thread of skin. And to Hadiyaah’s further amazement Sabahaat held her hands over the broken extremity and it healed as though the wound had never been. It had been impressive during the flurry and confusion of battle, but getting a chance to observe it uninterrupted it was incredible.
“Thanks….so um Sabs you want me to look over your English homework now?”
Hadiyaah almost squeaked indignantly. “Are you serious? You’re not going to tell me even anything about your secret superhero life? You’re going to do ENGLISH?”
“She’ll be contacted soon I think.” Frank said. “We should tell her everything. And, I suppose I should tell you what I’ve found out while we have the chance. Screw English.”
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