Like any solid tribe, close nit communities believe that, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Two African American siblings Ralph and Jay grew up only eleven months apart in a solid village (neighborhood). But at a very young age older brother Ralph knew that something was very different about his little brother Jay. He wouldn’t take baths with him anymore and would pull at his private parts and say that he wanted to take them off. Things that a child should have no knowledge of. In the years to come Ralph begins to realize that Jay doesn’t feel like he is a little boy but rather a little girl. So, like any good big brother he supports him in wanted to change. He plays as look out so that Jay can play dress up the way he wants to, in his mother’s closet. Jay is now Jasmine and hiding who she is because she knows her parents would not support her. Her village will not welcome her in with open arms, but her big brother Ralph already has. As the story continues Ralph shares the evolution of Jasmine and how he supports her every step of the way all the way to her reveal. Standing at the top of the stairs, Jasmine dressed in a beautiful summer dress, is ready to show her village who she is. She takes Ralph’s hand and makes her way downstairs. It is in the next five minutes that she was yelled at by her father, the house cleared of all of the neighbors and Jasmine is told she can either be a boy and get “fixed” of this phase in her life, or she has to leave. That night Jasmine decided to leave…and Ralph packs his bag and leaves with her. This story is one of love and acceptance with the realization that we all have a village of love and support, we just have to find them.
***Performer needs to be African American but could be any gender, the writer gives permission to adjust as needed.
Be Your Own Village
Dolls and military men. Trucks and Barbie’s pink convertible. Dresses and suits with vests, suspenders and patent leather shoes. Love story movies and war movies. These are the things that made me and my little brother Jay different. It’ll all make sense just give me some time to get there but I promise I’ll get there I just- it’s a hard story to tell. Or maybe it’s that it’s a hard story to relive as I’m telling it but when something sits on your heart and has for years you can’t just shout it out, not all the time, and not this, not me, not a black boy in a black community where acceptance isn’t…accepted.