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LEFT: A friend helps Chloe Clark, left, jump down from a ledge as they explore the neighborhood near her St. Louis school after classes in March 2020. RIGHT: Chloe Clark poses for a photo for a friend near her school.
What Chloe really wanted, she thought, was to go back to seeing her friends and classmates in person, to feel like they could see her as who she was, and not just what she sounded like on Discord or in virtual classes. I Love It When She Bends Over Love Fishing Shirt, hoodie
She wished she could take her next step in her transition: breast augmentation surgery, a procedure that would make her feel more comfortable in her own body. But her parents insisted she needed to wait until she was 18, as is generally recommended for transgender young people considering surgery.
Three more years felt so far away to Chloe. She worried about what could happen during that time. Would lawmakers take away her access to her medications? She had managed to get an implant for her puberty blockers, which would cover her for at least two years, but she continued to take estrogen pills. If Missouri passed its bills criminalizing trans health care for minors, would Chloe lose access to this treatment?
She didn’t know what would happen. But she knew she didn’t feel like talking about it, or thinking about the homework she’d have to do later that night.
The teenager yawned, placing her chin in her hands.
“Are you okay?” her mother asked. “What’s going on?”
“I honestly don’t know,” Chloe said.
‘You’re drifting away’
While Chloe finished up her virtual classes for the day, Bruce was getting ready to drive to Jefferson City for her first shot of the coronavirus vaccine.
Her mother had decided that Chloe needed to go back to school in person, even if it meant putting their family at risk.
“I feel like you’re drifting away,” Bruce told her.
She feared that the pressures around Chloe, and her reluctance to leave the apartment, were making it easier for her daughter to hide.