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Short Stories 365/288 | N.S. Beranek

“Powers Make You Free” by Caroline Houghton from Wilde Magazine: A Magazine of Art and Literature with a Queer Edge Issue One, Winter 2012. Edited by Lucia Guatney.

I loved this brief, richly descriptive glimpse into the life of a Latino transgender teenager who’s struggling just to survive the hostile environment of her childhood. Almost nowhere is safe. At school she’s bullied; likewise in her neighborhood. At home her father beats her with a belt and his fists, and says this is love, that he is doing it because he doesn’t want his son to turn out to be effeminate. The only safe place she’s found is at her Aunt Dolly’s. There she enjoys a brief respite while caring for the dying woman. She feeds her, drinks a little whisky and smokes cigarettes with her, and after Aunt Dolly drifts off, dresses in her clothes. The reader fears what will happen after Aunt Dolly is gone, and the story ends on a strikingly ironic note.