Creative Writing by Gray Hawes

“This writing is powerful, beautiful and human. When reading such stories, people in mental distress may feel the need to reach out for support. If so, I recommend seeking out a trusted friend or whānau member, or call a helpline like 1737 to speak with a trained counsellor. If you know someone who has been struggling, don’t hold back from offering your support.”
– Nicola Searle, Counsellor MNZAC


“You don’t know how forgotten it feels to be grouped with the gender you once mistakenly identified with-the one you tend to remember first.

You remember my mistake and not yours regarding pronouns.

You show me photos of a person who I am not.

You speak of longer hair length like fond memories.

You say you want a boy friend, but don’t specify if there is a space between the words.

You don’t know how I want to claw at my chest and remove the lumps of depression but can’t due to the pain of acknowledging their existence.

You don’t know the conflict of being understanding towards someone’s mistake, but feeling mad and unimportant when they say it’s because they’ve forgotten.

You don’t realise how stupid it is to have ‘gender’ on a form if you aren’t allowed to put anything but your biological sex.

You don’t know how it feels to be called disgusting by people who don’t know you.

You can’t understand what it’s like to use your sex’s bathroom with hairy legs, have them look at you and determine if you belong there or not.

You wouldn’t know the conflict inside from them deciding that you belong, relief because you feel safer with women than with men. Horrid because that bathroom is not assigned to you.

You don’t know the emptiness from your self obligation of leaving the lights on whilst showering, your fear of the dark and terror of what’s beyond the mirrors forces you to see the skin you’re confined in.

You don’t know how your dysphoria overpowers your immense fear of surgery, only to bring the fear of being buried this way.”

The best friend clears his throat and folds the loose piece of paper, the creases worn. He wipes the tears from his face and looks to the nearest pews of the neglectful family, “And now we will never get to know anything else.” He steps down from the podium, the paper rattling in his hands with the ghost of his best friend living through his biology vicariously.

He passes the open coffin, his friend in soul dressed in hideous pink and frills- the denying family maintaining their image of their ‘little girl’. His eyes dart away out of respect for him, angered by the false image.

He walks quietly back to his pew and sits. He places his thumb on the face of the folded paper, its surface covered in one repeated phrase.

‘I am Nicholas.’


If you are feeling anxious or concerned, here are other helplines you may contact now:

  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354
  • Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email [email protected]
  • Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)
    What’s Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787
  • children’s helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)
  • Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
  • Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

Gray is a trans guy who loves writing, the MCU, biology, music, puns and only wearing one hoodie.