top of page
< Back

In the shadow of Q-Anons. One trans* boy’s story.

Ayman Eckford

By Ayman Eckford

Instagram: @ayman_eckford

[Content note: depiction of childhood & fascism - hate groups - discussion of transphobia, ableism, genocide, guns, racism, islamophobia, antisemitism - murder, gore - use of the word p*d****ile.]

No one knew for sure who the first Q-anon was. I studied Q-anons. Read books about them, listened to podcasts. I tried to imagine who they were. And what it means to live with them. 

My mind made it darker than I thought.

So if you don’t want to, or couldn’t, hear about tortures, domestic violence, transphobia, cults, Trump, genocide, please, stop here. It’s the right thing to do.

But if you can…  ‘welcome to the rabbit hole’.

In the shadow of Q-Anons. One trans* boy’s story.

“I must be gone and live or stay and die.”

- Shakespeare, Act 3, scene 5; Romeo and Juliet.

Even in Shakespeare’s time they were killing us with their rules. The adults. 

I bet people did it even in caves. They used to kill the ‘wrong kids’. This habit is as old as humankind.  

And it is possible I will be the next ‘wrong kid’ to go. Tonight I may finally die. 

But it's OK because I have never actually lived.

I’m suffocating, listening to the sounds of the cat scratching at the first floor, or the car rushing outside of our farm’s window, and I feel like I can’t move. Because it could be him. Daddy. I often freeze when it’s about Daddy. 

Daddy pays Hate groups - groups whose goal is to eliminate people like me - to prevent us from being born. 

It sounds horrible to you, I know, but only until you find out that I am an Autistic trans* boy. Then you stop caring. Most people do. 

No one really cares about kids. You read those books, no one really cares about kids here! My inner voice says. But now you should run.

He’s right. I have to go, I have to run and fight for my freedom. So why am I checking those books over and over again..? I was obsessed with them for nearly a week, reading them all night every night. Hiding them from Daddy.

Because if Daddy found them in my room, he would decide that Jews, Satanists, Reptilians - or, worse, the Democrats - have their claws in me. And he would kill me, or worse. There are no limits when for them you are pure evil, the agent of cabal. They. The adults with power. 

Amin knows. They did it to him. They did it to everyone who’s different from them. 

How many Muslim kids are tortured, how many Black kids are shot, how many Autistic kids are killed by their parents? 

How many trans* kids sent to the ‘therapy’ where their brains will be torn apart and re-written? 

And this is just the case you read about, what is done just by Americans! Most of the kids just disappear!

My inner voice sounds like Amin’s voice now. I’ve found a way to secretly chat with Amin when I can’t find a safe place to call him or message him online. 

My heart is pumping. My hands are flapping.

I can move again. Good. Flapping hands are good. They mean I’m able to feel. 

After the 6th of January, I’ve wanted to go to the FBI…

As if the FBI would ever listen to a fourteen year old boy! 

They wouldn’t even see you as a boy!

But I wanted to tell them that my Daddy stormed the Capital, that he got a five-foot precision rifle and tried to break into the tunnels… one of my brothers sold me out. 

Daddy calls me a traitor.

Daddy said to me that traitors get shot.

“It’s all for the greater good, isn’t it? They said that they are protecting children. The Q-Anons. One more dead kid rotting somewhere after the ‘accident’ to save millions - who cares?” Amin’s voice says sarcastically. 

I’m living in the shadow of Q. My father is a Q-Anon. No, not ‘a Q-Anon’, he is ‘The Q-Anon’ The guy who started it all on 4Chan many years ago. Who made the first message, pretending to be a high-ranking government official. He named himself ‘Q clearance patriot’. He was the one who promised The Storm. The one who lit the fire. 

Oh, you are interested in my name now? I wouldn’t give it to you. You could misgender me like everyone else, see if I care! You can call me Merry or Nancy or Cassy. It doesn’t matter, what matters is that if you are reading this, you wouldn't be able to track me if I survive.

It is dangerous for them when the ‘wrong’ kids survive.

I’m imagining you picking up the book and reading this note. Maybe a dead boy’s note… The dead boy who will be buried as a girl (I am scared of this much more than I am scared of death)…

Because even if I leave my Daddy’s farm, and reach the library to leave this book - with this note in one of them - it won’t mean for sure that I have run away successfully.

Any stop is a risk. But I couldn’t just leave books on Daddy’s farm. Now I control the information, not him! And I want to send you a letter. 

It’s all Amin’s fault.

Amin. It’s not his real name, I wouldn’t tell you his real name, of course not! It is not even the name he used in America. And the name he had in Chechnya… no one knows it now. 

Amin is a Chechen, he survived the second Russian-Chechen war. He was ten years old when Russian soldiers came to his house. Ethnic clearing. They just take folks who were Chechens to make colonization easier. They wanted to break the resistance by terrorizing the local population.

War on Terror. They called it the War on Terror

Russian-influenced adults used the language American-influenced adults. The Republicans, used in the name of liberty (for the ones who are 21+, White Christian American, of course).

You should’ve trusted adults!

You are a terrorist for them. 

Just like me.

[Content note: gore starts here]

Amin was the first ‘resistance fighter’ in his family. Not in the beginning, no. 

They beat Amin with electrical wire. Those Russians hung his mother from the horizontal bar in front of him until her bones came out of its joints.

He begged them to stop, in Russian, in Chechen. He cried.

No one cares when ‘wrong’ children are crying. ‘Wrong’ children should obey, not demand…

They burned out the cavity of his Mum’s mouth with a soldering iron… And then Amin made himself heard in the only language those bastards understood. He killed them. He snatched weapons somewhere and shot all of them. 

[Content note: gore ends here]

Then he ran away. He never told me how, it was almost impossible to get free from one of those secret prisons. But he ran away. And he hid in a forest and fought, becoming what the Russians were so scared of after they decided to burn to the ground Chechen cities and villages to the ground. Amin became part of the resistance. The continuing of four-hundred years of struggle. 

It is dangerous for them when ‘wrong’ kids survive, because ‘wrong kids’ know what they did. Because ‘wrong kids’ could fight back. 

Amin had to leave his homeland.

How did he reach America, in Daddy’s Messiah's Era, in Trump’s era? How did he find new documents? Who knows (again)?

I feel a headache coming on. 

It’s better if I don’t ask this stuff until I am safe.

Amin knew how to survive hell. He gave me instructions on how to use a burner phone. He said that I need to buy tickets beforehand, not just run at night like I planned. 

That is why I came to a neighboring town last Sunday, to buy a ticket for today. But I first came to the library. I couldn’t stop myself.

I am mesmerized by libraries, since some jerks are trying to ban some books for teenagers in the name of our protection.

They are just protecting themselves. They don’t want kids to be able to think, search for information, or have their own opinion.

I pat the covers of the books about Q-Anons all around me. The books like Storm Upon Us by Mike Rothchild (no, not one of the Rothchilds). Or Trust the Plan by Mick Summer (yes, I was doing this, like, forever: trusting The Plan), or Inside the Mind of QAnon by Mia Something (she has got to be kiddin’ me - let her try to get inside Daddy’s mind, she would definitely get lost there).

I laughed and cried when I saw those books. I couldn’t imagine there were so many books about my Daddy and his cult!

I snatched the library ID from your pocket to take those books home.

You are Mia May, aren’t you? The person whose ID I took. The person to whom they would give a letter when they would find it in one of the books. Or not.

I just want you to know I didn’t mean any harm, all I have ever wanted is the rights you have for granted - to be myself, to study stuff that I am interested in. To be alive.

Why does no one believe that the kids want that as well? Why did no one take this into consideration when they wrote ‘save the children’?

Unfortunately, the books were mostly garbage, at least for me. I don’t know why I am so obsessed with them. Why I studied them at night, hiding under my blanket, risking being severely beaten. Maybe just because it was mad. It was illegal. It was a resistance.

Looking for facts is resistance in a land of conspiracy.

In books, I leave a bookmark every time someone names Donald Trump a ‘Messiah’.

Because this is the fucking truth - for Q-Anons he really is.

And I left a bookmark every time when someone writes their guess who The Q, the first one, could be. Because they are all wrong.

And I left a bookmark when someone compared Q to Manson’s family, or called it ‘worse than Branch Davidians’s church’. Because they didn’t even try to see it. You don’t see it.

Do you know what happened to the Manson family’s kids? Where are they now? Or maybe you know how Davidians’ church members burned themselves and their loved ones alive, refusing to surrender when the Feds came!

You know, the authors of those books are asking the wrong questions. For now, it’s not about living in ‘Q-Anon America’. They better ask what it means to live in a Q-Anon household. Because Q cults do not run the country yet. But Q-guys are ruining families.

This is why I leave bookmarks for you. It’s my work on their mistakes. It’s my legacy in case I will die, because the story about Q is the story about me.

Nothing about us without us’ is not for you, when you are a kid. 

We are not people until we turn 18 or 21, some of us do not become people even then. We are just objects for you to control. 

The reason to push your own agenda, to restrict Queer rights, to restrict immigration law, to start a riot in Washington.

My inner voice - Amin’s voice - doesn’t trust you. 

Maybe he’s right.

Maybe you are one of the Q freaks as well, and believe that I should be ‘saved’ from Satanic Pedophiles.

Maybe you are just one of those people who think that I can’t know that I am not a girl.

Or that I shouldn’t have free access to the internet, that I shouldn’t meet people like Amin online, that I shouldn’t have friends. Because all the friends I have, I have on the internet.

How scary is it, when your only friends are the ones who you meet on the Internet? The only people close to you are the one you find online?

“They are not real!” my father’s voice says inside my head. So many people say that internet life is not real. 

NO! The new kids, the ‘wrong kids’ need their own way of communication” Amin argues.

And how ‘not real’ life could start a riot like on 6th of January? The adults’ logic is weird.

I didn’t care. Because now I am leaving the home where I was raised. 

I finally did it! I closed the door, without waking people up. I am finishing this letter in a local McDonald’s.

You know, maybe you should be scared of me. I would take a gun if I could, but I fought this urge. 

Yes, I am a Autistic queer boy who likes guns, be scared of me! 

I need to tell someone about it. That I am finally free. That I am going to Amin’s place.

Even he doesn’t know about it yet. I am not very good at asking permission, you see.

I think he thought that I am going to Shanny’s place, to my Black non-binary friend from San Francisco. They are a super-progressive leftist anti-climate change activist, and they have their own sex-blog, and help to organize the local pride. They are the parent of a tiny adopted trans* daughter, and her Jewish partner Sarah says she loves me. Except for Amin, those families are the only people whom I could call my friends. (Well, called by fake names again but you get the point.)

We know each other only by the internet - but I am absolutely sure that they will accept me without questions. They would never misgender me. They will fight for my case so Daddy can’t take me back…

I also know that I would never be able to live among them. I am not this kind of queer kid who has bright hair, hundreds of rainbow badges, or goes to any progressive event wrapped in a huge trans* flag. Maybe I will one day, but more likely not. I could never find myself in stories about other trans* people.

I am just a gloomy, awkward boy who likes weapons, argues with leftist friends about Hayek and classical liberals, is obsessed with violent stories and makes dark jokes about conspiracies he studied too deep for being normal. I think, in some way, I will always be a little bit of a redneck.

It’s difficult with Sarah and Shaini. They both had a more ‘normal’ childhood, and they’ve been part of a community for so long. They’re both horrified by my experiences - but at the same time, they’re waiting for me to be part of an agenda, as if I were buying all my different views in one trans* kid™ set.

With them I feel like an intruder in dirty boots that came into their clean house. They are too ‘normal’, too prosperous, too pure. 

Amin, on the other hand… he is not queer, but for him I have never been first and foremost queer. For him I have always been me first. The kid I am. His ‘little bro’, who, yeah, happened to be queer. Not part of an agenda, but me.

I run. It takes the air from my lungs, but I run.

And run, and run, repeating that Amin would understand. That he wouldn’t be disappointed in me. That he wouldn’t turn me away. He should know, doesn’t he? 

I’ve never been friends with ‘normal’, ‘successful’ folks. But I think Amin is somehow like me. Autistic or other neurodivergent, not just traumatized, even if he doesn’t know it yet. 

My parents pay to diagnose me to show how broken I am, but in post-USSR, Autistic folks more often don’t have a diagnosis. Or have the wrong ones. They just don’t know. Amin is more likely Autistic. It’s dangerous to say things like that, to think things like that, because he killed people and the world likes to portray us, Autistic folks, as violent. 

But he wasn’t violent. He wasn’t like them. He was provoked.

Wasn’t he?

Not that it matters to them.

They called everyone ‘violent’, everyone they didn’t like. They are scared of us not because we are ‘perverts’ or ‘dangerous’, they call us ‘perverts’ or ‘dangerous’ because they don’t like us.

Not that it matters. Not for ‘wrong kids’.

Amin says.

He knows what it means to live in shadow.

I lived in the shadow of Q, anonymously and silently, for two long, but I refused to be a shadow. I refused to be a slave to their whims. I might be so much like Daddy in many ways, but unlike him, when I will become older I will never forget.

I know why they are scared of kids so much. Because if all kids would stand up, their world would crumble. Maybe we are not better, but we would make it different.

It’s cold on the street.

So, here is the library. I’m leaving these books on the porch before continuing my journey. You could have them now. Those books tell us one thing. For ‘bad Americans’, the Q-Anons, we are the kids of a Satan. For ‘good American folks’, we are treats for American freedom because of our parents.

What if we would remember not just what our parents did wrong, but what freedom actually means?

But what if all adults would remember what it means to have zero freedom as ‘younger than 21’? Then the existing way of having a family, the old way of being a child would be abolished.

There wouldn’t be any ‘wrong’ and ‘nice’ kids, just people. 

No-one would have to live in the shadows anymore. 


© 2023 Ayman Eckford 

Instagram: @ayman_eckford

bottom of page