Back in 2002 I wrote a story about an upper-middle-class young man who got arrested in Louisiana because his physical appearance contradicted his sex genotype: he looked male, but his genotype was XX. He ended up in a jail cell with several transwomen, some drag queens, a lesbian, and a woman who was his opposite: she appeared female but had an XY sex genotype.
This story was set in 2023.
I believed in this story, so I sent it out to every magazine and anthology I could think of. Nobody wanted it. I don’t know why they didn’t like it, but perhaps it was because it seemed too unlikely at the time. Or maybe I was just ahead of the curve in gender stories.
Fast forward to the actual 2023, where Tennessee just adopted a law restricting drag shows and many other states are in the process of following suit. My made-up Louisiana law prohibiting people from dressing or appearing in a way that contradicts their sex genotype no longer looks like science fiction.
It’s almost enough to make me send the story out again, except that these days I bet magazines would turn it down because it’s too much like the real world of today.
Thinking about it reminded me of another story of mine, one I wrote back in the 1990s. It turned on whether clones were people or property under the U.S. Constitution.
That one, called “Passing,” did get published. In fact, it won a contest sponsored by the National Law Journal. Continue reading “Who Counts as a Person?”…
Reading Lyz Lenz’s latest newsletter (“Thank You, Dads of YouTube” ) brought me to the edge of tears.
It wasn’t her success at fixing her washer that got me. It was the fact that a woman much younger than I am still grew up surrounded by the belief that there were things women couldn’t do.
As someone old enough to remember how important this issue was in second wave feminism 50 years ago, it breaks my heart to know that so many people are still growing up with these stunted beliefs.
I don’t doubt that it’s true. It’s why I hope to teach some more self defense classes if we ever get enough of a handle on the pandemic for me to feel comfortable in a room full of people learning to yell “No.” Way too many women still believe that the fact that the average man is a little stronger than the average woman means they can’t protect themselves.
Spending half my life in the martial arts watching small people kick the asses of big people did that one in for me. I want to make sure other people know it, too.
We did make legal progress in the second wave, though the recent outrageous action of the partisan hacks on the US Supreme Court in nullifying the right to abortion by allowing a clearly unconstitutional Texas law to take effect is damaging legal rights as well.
(I was in law school when Roe v. Wade was decided. That was also a Texas case and I have met the lawyer who brought it — she was also my state representative back in the day.)
The same hacks also dismantled voting rights laws. It is not just women under attack in our society.
The extremist attacks make me angry, but the fact that so many women are still buying into the myths we fought to overcome in the 1970s is what breaks my heart. Continue reading “What We Can Do”…