The Dark Room
There’s not much longer now. The Guards have bought me into a chamber to wait. There are curtains on the wall to create the illusion of windows, but I checked and there is nothing behind them. I think they’re keeping it deliberately dark in here to keep me calm. I think I’m meant to just sit here and consider what I’ve done, like a naughty child. I suppose I feel like a naughty child, in a way. I told them what I wanted to do, and when they wouldn’t let me, I went and did it anyway.
And now I am being punished.
I keep trying to think back to when this all started. I know the judge blamed it on the old books I found; pictures and stories from hundreds of years ago, saying they corrupted me. It was one of the saddest moments of my life when they burned those books. And really all for nothing, because I’m sure I knew what I was before I ever saw those images.
My name is Beatrice and I am a woman.
Of course, I came out of the birth-pod in just the same Neutral state as everybody else. My ident was Echo-UK-412. I was a good pupil and kept myself to myself, but I always felt that I was different, that something wasn’t quite right. It was seeing the front cover of that book that made me realise what it was. There were two people in the picture and they were smiling and holding hands. One of them had a lantern jaw, and the other one had all these curves. Then I remembered my biology lessons, about humankind before the Evolution. Our teacher had told us that we were split into different sexes and mated like beasts. Teacher sounded disgusted and made it seem as though humankind back then were little more than monkeys. But if that were true, how could this book have been produced, and why did that couple in the picture look so happy?
I started to dig. I realised what was obvious, that it was a society with two genders that had invented the technology to create life in the Artificial Womb and to eliminate gender difference. I wonder what the scientist who made such an important breakthrough would have thought if they had known that the Government would rise, and that they would spend hundreds of years supressing human nature to make us little more than genderless drones?
Now, it’s thoughts like those that got me into this predicament in the first place. Feeling passionately about anything is not encouraged in this world.
I do just wish they’d turn on some lights. I wonder if they’re trying to depress me? Stop me making a scene? Oh, just you wait.
I found other people who felt the same way that I did. We felt that our bodies did not reflect the truth of our being. I am meant to be a woman, and amongst this underground set were people who could make that feeling a reality. They could take my neutral body and turn me into the woman I already knew I was. It involved surgery, exercises to build up the correct muscles, but none of that worried me. The only thing that upset me deeply was having to cut myself off from my friends. I couldn’t risk including them in this illegal enterprise, and although I had tentatively broached the subject of my gender identity with a few of them, I doubted whether any of them would really understand.
I am so proud of what I have done. It doesn’t matter that the underground surgery was raided while I was still in recovery. All that matters was that at my trial I could stand there proudly and identify myself not by the ident the Government gave me, but by the name that I found in that book so long ago.
My name is Beatrice and I am a woman.
I think I can hear the Guards outside my room. They will be coming for me soon, throwing open the door to this dingy place. I suppose the light pouring in will hurt my eyes, confuse my senses. I finally understand. They’ve kept me in this dark room to make it easier for them to drag me away to my execution. They are expecting me to fight. I suppose they were also taught that gendered people are like animals. I have been found guilty of Crimes Against the Body, both physical and politic. Who knows what else I am capable of?
Well, they don’t need to worry about me being violent. I will go with them. I am not ashamed of what I have done. I didn’t just gain breasts and labia in that operation. I gained an identity, and perhaps more importantly at this exact moment, I was fitted with a recording device. Those doctors are so clever. My execution will be recorded and broadcast over the internet. It will be seen across the globe. All those people who have never questioned their neutrality will witness a peaceful woman being murdered by the Government. The survivors of the raid on the surgery will broadcast the trial, show copies of the pictures that awoke my womanhood, and maybe one day an army of sisters and brothers will wipe this repressive regime away.
Humanity isn’t what it once was, but maybe soon, it will be.