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The screeching of the heavy metal gates greeted her as she walked into school, the sound ringing in her ears as it did every morning, but this time it echoed in her head, playing over and over again, blocking out all other sounds. The voices of the people around her melted into a cacophony of sounds, and the colours of their clothing swirled together like in a kaleidoscope. She took no notice of her surroundings, her feet carrying her forward on instinct, barely registering the substitute teacher as she sat down at her desk. T

he voice of the substitute teacher was mere background noise, the names he called flying by over her head as all she could see was the red, blue, and yellow lines in front of her, and the shiny blue ink of the completed list. That was until the sound of a name rung out in the classroom, bouncing from wall to wall like a ball, disappearing into thin air as it fell to rest on the floor. It was a name no one had spoken in years, a name no one had heard for a very long time.

"Franco Burgundy." The substitute repeated the name, and still no one answered. It seemed like there was no air in the room, none of the students daring to breathe. They were suffocating in silence, their lungs screaming for air, until a shaky voice rose above the deafening silence.

"It's Leah Burgundy now." Leah's hands were trembling, her shoulders stiff as she quietly corrected the teacher.

"Then why does it say Franco on the list?" He said, taking off his glasses. His grey eyes bored into Leah's, trapping her.

"My name isn't officially changed yet, so the school records still show the name I was enrolled under when I started here. But I'd appreciate it if you called me Leah." Leah said, her cheeks tinting red and her eyes glazing over with water.

"But Franco is the name your parents gave you, right?" The teacher said, leaning his hip against his desk. 

"Yes, but I'm not him any more, I never was." Her voice was barely a whisper, and the red, blue and yellow lines disappeared from Adelaide's mind as she watched her best friend nervously bite her lip.

"But your name is still technically Franco, and seeing as you're still technically a male, I will treat you as one, and use the name your parents were so kind as to give you when you were born." He put his glasses on again, the eyes behind them as dead and as grey as cold, hard rock. As she watched him turn around, pick up a piece of chalk and start marking the blackboard with white lines that were nothing but mockery of words, Adelaide felt a fire rage in her heart. It burned so strongly, so fiercely nothing could stop it, everything it touched would be burned, every leaf, every tree, even the mountains would tremble as it felt her heat lick at its back, turning into lava under her gaze.

"Excuse me," She said, "But my friend kindly asked you to call her Leah, and you refusing to do that shows a complete lack of respect for her." Her voice shot through the classroom like a burning arrow, its flames licking up the shaft as it stuck the teacher in the back.

"Excuse me, but him not using the name he was given at birth shows a complete lack of respect for his parents." He said, his grey eyes refusing to melt in the heat."Her name was never Franco, her name has always been Leah. She is, and has always been, a female." She spat the words at him, every syllable dripping with venom.

"He is still technically a boy, and his name is still technically Franco. Until he changes those, I will treat him as what he truly is; a male." He could feel the flames licking his face, but he still stood his ground.

"SHE! Not. He." She screamed, her right hand falling to the desk in front of her with a force that made the whole class jump, and pain shot up her arm. "What my friend has between her legs is none of your  business, because what everyone needs to learn is that not everyone with an XY chromosome is a boy, and not everyone with an XX chromosome is a girl. What you all need to learn in that sex is not the same as gender!" She was standing now, every fibre of her body trembling in the inferno raging inside of her. 

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