- Title: A Slippery Slope in Amish Life
- Subtitle: Forbidden Desires
- Author: Yulia Yu. Sakurazawa
- Transgender category: both MTF and FTM
I am Laila, the narrator of the story. I am a research scholar affiliated with JNU University and writing a thesis on the Amish Community. I am tall, dusky, muscular for a woman, have straight jet black hair and intense coal black eyes. When I was alone in an Amish house on Sunday I met Amos, a beautiful young Amish man and fell in love at first sight. I couldn’t resist the urge to persuade him to dress in female clothes. However, the Amish family came home and found Amos dressing in drag. Then they excommunicated Amos from the Amish community. I considered it as my responsibility and took him to New Delhi on a student visa. I helped Amos enroll into a foreign language course in JNU University and helped him transform into a woman, gradually. During the course of Amos’s treatment, I met Dr. Gracie Holmes who told me that I myself was suffering from GID.
A Slippery Slope in Amish Life
Subtitle: Forbidden Desires
Chapter 1 – The Comely Amos
I feel like I am in a dream. The weather is partly cloudy, but sunshine spears its way through a cloud. Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, where I currently am, is so different from India: the country I am from. Before I go any further, let me introduce myself: I am Laila Sethi, a 27 year old woman pursuing her PhD from the renowned JNU University in New Delhi. Since my dissertation is on the Amish way of life, I am here in Lancaster Country where most from the Amish usually reside. I am here to study their system of beliefs, their way of life and the general workings of their society. From the plenteous things that I have learnt so far, the devout Amish people staunchly adhere to the Biblical command of detachment from the world. To do so, they segregate themselves from the rest of the world, avoid using technology and dress in certain types of clothes only.
At the moment, my eyes are riveted on a young man wielding a harrow. It is fascinating to watch the continual rhythmic motion of breaking up and smoothening of the surface of the soil. I, personally, am equally bewitched by the young man as I am by the agriculture. His name is Amos Fisher and he is 24 years old. Amos has marble white skin, flaming red hair and the expression of a saint. In the manner of most Amish men, he is wearing a pistachio colored shirt, dark brown suit, straight black coat without lapels, and trousers that are flared at the bottom. Amos’s shoes are black and so are his socks. His large straw-brimmed hat protects him from the scorching sun.
Like the women of the Old Order Amish, I am wearing a long navy blue dress with full-sleeves which covers me from head to toe. My attire is covered with a cape and apron which are fastened with straight pins. The norm usually says that Amish women never cut their hair, but from my childhood, I have sported hair cropped short like a boy’s. According to the Amish ethos, single women are supposed to cover their heads with a black cap and this is what I have done.
As I gaze at Amos Fisher, a strange thought crosses my mind. I question my sanity. I imagine the young man in my feminine navy blue dress and, conversely, myself in his shirt, coat, trousers and suspenders. And what’s most zapping is that the gender swap doesn’t seem, in any way, strange at all.
Yes, Amos Fisher is what I would call a feminine man.
Since today is Sunday, the whole of the Amish community has gone to the church to attend the mass. The Amish are a community largely dependent on religion; they believe that all men are born sinners and that the only way to attain personal salvation is through unremitting obedience to God. Since I am not religious in any sense of the term (I am not even a practicing Hindu: the religion of my birth), I decide to sit indoors and enjoy a rarely found privacy for a while. The Amish way of life places a great deal of emphasis on community living. While I think this is an ideal way of living, I am yet to get used to it completely. In spite of the acceptance I find here, I find myself desperately craving for some “Me Time”.
I went into a typical two-storied unadorned Amish house which was painted blue: a color symbolic of the sky. The houses all around were painted green, white and brown or other colors which are symbolic of nature. Everything in the house was simple and functional. Curtains, shades and quilts contain typical motifs which tend to involve depictions of nature such as doves, roses and trees. The Amish houses are marked by the absence of modern gadgets and other signs of technology. Instead, the refrigerators and stoves were powered by natural propane, bottled gas or kerosene.
My mouth craved a cup of strong tea. Since people in Lancaster County were basically coffee drinkers, the tea served there was rather weak. Kicking myself for not getting a packet of Masala Chai (Tea laced with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves etc which is considered a specialty in India) from Delhi, I made my way into the kitchen. Finally, I was alone! A minute or two later, I became sentient of the presence of another entity in my room. Years of meditation has made me sensitive to aura: I was 100% certain that the person in the room was a female. The sensual organic scent of her skin, the faint herbal fragrance of her hair and the unseen shock of menstrual blood that was no doubt discarded from her vital outlet every month, pointed to an entity who was unremittingly, irrevocably feminine. As an instinctive reaction to the presence of a female, seemingly in estrus, in the room, I started sweating with excitement. Before I could make sense of what was happening inside my body, I felt my heart rate shoot up and my hypothetical penis stand erect!
What in the world was happening to me?? I was a woman, not a man! I was a lean, dusky, sinuous, dark-haired woman with breasts! As far as I knew, I was a heterosexual. The one or two physical relationships I had previously had had been with men. So, where in the world did the hypothetical penis come from? And why in the world was I getting aroused by sensing the presence of a female ostensibly in estrus?
Heavens knows. It was all very confusing and disturbing.
The fact that made my heart stop midway was the fact that the so-called ovulating female I was instinctively getting prepared to “enter” was 24 year old Amos Fisher. He was dunking cobs of corn in vinegar, and was planning, I surmised, to ferment it for a few days to make it into pickle. I was struck by the unconventionality of two aspects here. For one, while I was familiar with cucumbers being pickled, this was the first time I had actually seen anyone pickling corn cobs. Secondly, in the Amish community which thrived on the strict demarcation of roles, the men were assigned farming, building houses etc, while the women were supposed to devote themselves to domestic roles like cooking, cleaning and maintaining the house. Given such a situation, it surprised me greatly to see Amos embroiled in a task which was uncompromisingly the forte of the female.
But then, why was I so flabbergasted? There had always been something undeniably girlish about Amos. My mind went into the retrospective mode and recalled all the mannerisms Amos engaged in. Amos often went into a helpless spasm of giggles whenever one of the men cracked a joke. Then there were other things that were a definite indication of his femininity. For instance, Amos titled his pretty head to a side when he talked. He sipped his drink daintily with a straw. Amos’s hand flit like slender restless butterflies when he communicated. He was particularly obsessed about personal hygiene, kept himself impeccably groomed and walked with unrivalled grace in every step. All this struck me only in retrospect.
“Aren’t you supposed to be pickling cucumbers instead of corncobs?” I asked a politically correct question rather than the one that was on my mind.
“According to convention, yes” replied Amos placidly “but I believe in doing whatever floats my boat”. The reply was made unselfconsciously enough, but I couldn’t help noticing the subliminal meaning beneath the sentence. Amos’s tip-tilted eyes bore into my soul, as if they had realized that I had read the meaning underlying his words. I felt a shiver pass down my body, which had, for some reason, often been described as feline and predatory.
“Hmmm…” I said, wondering how to express my thoughts without offending Amos “I think you are rather too different for a man….”.
“Different? How?” Amos asked genuinely stupefied.
“Well” I began trying to find a way of putting my point across without offending him “You’re gentle…and sensitive”.
“Gracias” said Amos smiling an angelic smile that made the fine hairs on my body rise. Then sensing that I probably had more to say to him, he said “I surmise you have much more to say to me, Laila”.
“You sensed that I wanted to say something” I said “So I guess that makes you intuitive….”.
“And?” Amos’s sinuous body was poised towards me in attention. The saintly smile on his pale pink lips made me melt. It was proven beyond doubt that I was attracted to Amos. Yet there was something offbeat about the way in which I was drawn to him. It wasn’t the usual, cliché attraction a woman feels towards a man. My fascination for Amos transcended that. However, at this point, I found it difficult to put a finger on how my attraction to him was different.
“And compassionate, sympathetic, tender, understanding, warm, yielding, soft, nurturing and graceful” I said all in one breath. Without being wholly aware of what I was doing, I had inched so close to Amos that our noses literally touched. As the rosy fragrance of Amos’s skin reached my nostrils, I shivered.
Amos was trembling too. “Look at you” he whispered from in between his coral, kissable lips “you’re as tall as me: a man. I like that quality in you. I must confess, though, that I wish I was a little shorter than 5’9”.
“My height!” I said in mock exasperation “is that all you could think of to laud? Don’t I possess any other qualities worthy of admiration?”
Amos hesitated a bit. “Well, I’d say you’re strong….very strong” he said.
“Pray, continue” I goaded, probably grinning in the impish way my friends said I always did.
“You’re courageous, assertive, independent and outspoken” said Amos with an iota of hesitation “I’d also say you’re competitive, ambitious and…dominant”. Amos’s tip-tilted green eyes dropped as he made the following statement. His thick eyelashes fluttered.
“Do you mean to say I am bossy?!” I nearly yelled.
“No, no, of course not” Amos hastened to correct himself “I meant what I said in a positive way. You are the stuff…..homebuilders are made of”.
I smiled. “And you are the stuff homemakers are made of” I said.
A pensive frown passed Amos’s face. “Laila, do you I am trapped in the wrong body?”.
“There is just one way to find out” I said.
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