Thanks to the wonders of text messaging Cory did not have to wait to return to school to hear about what kids were saying.
Firstly there were those in his electives with little to no history with Anneke who were shocked to learn she was even nattally female. "that's a girl?!? I thought he was a guy." Well then you can just keep thinking that. Long live the blockers that have kept female puberty at bay.
Next were that friends that already knew. "yup. We know." no shock here.
The hockey academy was a different kettle if fish. After all, the girls were being told they had been dressing (and undressing) with a guy in the room basically, and the guys were going to have another guy join them in their locker room whom they had always known to be female.
As 14 year old boys are prone to do, jokes were made about this. Jokes to no doubt guise their insecurity and discomfort.
"what's he gonna do, wear a strap-on in the locker room?"
Now most parents have envisioned and somewhat prepared for the birds and bees/where do babies come from talk.
Needeless to say I was somewhat underprepared when Cory looked up from his phone and said "mom, what's a strap-on?" Trying to be much more nonchalant than I felt I described the device until he embarrassedly stopped me by saying "I get it mom, you can stop talking now."
Luckily Cory has several close friends who tried their best to shut down teasing.
Ms. L. later told me that several if the hockey academy guys did approach her privately and express concerns. She did her best to explain that Cory has the "brain of the boy, and a body of a girl." One leader within the academy was one such boy. According to Ms. L. he contemplated this slowly and thoughtfully. "I get it...I think" he said.
A friend and I deliberated that if someone respected and liked supported Cory it would go a long way to preventing teasing and bullying.
The other thing that ms. L. pointed out was the fact that Cory was such a great, well liked kid, it would be extremely hard to be mean to him. People were motivated to understand because they liked him so much. She was genuinely impressed at what a wonderful, brave, mature kid I had. The timing couldn't have been better. I needed to be reminded that no matter what Cory walked into the next day, he had the tools to deal with it. And the love and support of many people.
The next day Cory returned to school. I waited until lunch to text him to find out how things were going. This required great restraint on my part I might add.
Getting information out if a 14 year old boy is hard at the best of times
"how's it going?"
"are people being cool?"
"anything bad happen?"
"I love you"
That's all I could get out of him until he got home.
Apparently at an anti-bullying assembly the day before a bunch of the hockey academy guys sat in the back and sang the "transformers" theme song, but changed the lyrics to say "transgender". Cory heard about this and, unfamiliar with the song, asked what the lyrics were. Three guys looked at him like deer in the headlights, two scuttled away leaving one to defend himself.
"uh, I don't really remember" he said. "I'm not mad. I just want to know what the song said"
At that moment the hottest girl in the hockey academy walked up to the group and draped leaned on the poor guy stammering, his friends still lurking to see what he would finally say. Cory continued to ask about the seemingly creative teasing. A. (the gorgeous girl) catches on to the tension and moves to stand next to Cory.
"Do we have a problem here?"
"I just...I ..." he stammered
"I said, do we have a problem here?!"she raised her voice a got in his face a bit clearly suggesting that it you mess with Cory you mess with her.
Well that shut things down pretty completely. The girl every guy is dying to talk to, is Cory's most emphatic defender. This was the leader my friend and I were hoping would appear. Who knew she would be a blonde?