I hate July. I hate the heat. For one, the sunburn, for two, the inability to bind. Sweat desperately clings to me. I want out of this skin. I am always keenly aware of my trans status, but worse so in the summer. I dream of sitting topless on a beach somewhere, a smoothie in my hand, enjoying the sunshine, being able to run free through the water. For now that’s another far off dream.

But I brave the heat and walk to Walgreens. I am in the new house. It amazes me still that I live here now. That I’m mostly out of that apartment with the horrible memories. The Walgreens is a block from the house. I buy a couple of groceries and a pack of smokes for my roommates. I hand the woman my ID and smile. I’m hoping that she won’t notice the F on my drivers license. She does. But she smiles. She pulls out her wallet and shows me that her license lists her as male. We laugh. I take my things. She tells me to have a nice day.

As I leave Walgreens, I walk a little lighter in my skin. It was one more moment I could share with someone. Someone who understands how much it sucks when it is 90 outside. When you have to do every day tasks with an ID that outs you every single time.

The roommates and I decide to go to the Mall of America and walk around. We play Pokemon. We are leaving the restroom, the same restroom that I was assaulted in in February.

I notice everything. I am always aware of exactly how much space my body is taking up. I walk into the men’s room. There is a line. I watch the stalls, waiting with growing anxiety for one to open up. I notice the man staring at my chest. He doesn’t think I notice. A stall door opens and I all but run inside. I stay there until one of my roommates texts me to tell me he is standing right there.

That same day, a woman laughs with me about our IDs, a few hours later, I am hoping that I won’t be assaulted for trying to use the bathroom.

These are the moments I think about risking heat stroke to wear my binder. There is something seriously wrong with that.