[M]y estrangement from the world around me [as transgender] drove me to the Torah. There, I found someone I recognized as the direct ancestor of my own unbearable tangle of love and lies. In a passage I read over and over, Jacob serves his blind, aged father Isaac his favorite dinner as a prelude to receiving his blessing. There’s only one problem with this scene of filial devotion: Jacob is impersonating his twin brother Esau, who older by a moment, is his father’s heir. Esau, a vigorous, hairy, hyper-masculine hunter, is his father’s favorite…
Like Jacob, I wasn’t the boy my parents meant to bless with food, shelter, clothing, love. Under the skins of masculinity — the pants and shirts I hated, the roles and games I forced myself to play — was something too smooth, too soft, too feminine to be loved like the male “twin” I pretended to be. Like Jacob, I found deception heartbreakingly easy. As long as I kept my hair short and wore pants and shirts, no one could see the girl cowering beneath.
But Jacob had something going for him that I didn’t have: a mother, Rebekah, who knew him for who he truly was.
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