A glossary - Page 2


There are lots of people born with a condition referred to as pseudohermaphroditism, but really, these ought not to concern you. The important thing to know is that there are kids born with ambiguous genitalia and others born with outward and inward sex parts that don't match. The default medical response was and mostly still is surgery, but the foundation on which that treatment was built — basically, that you can raise anybody as any gender by strictly enforcing "appropriate" pronouns, toys, outfits, and love objects — has crumbled in recent years. We hardly know anything, but we do know that most people are born with sense of their own gender; and while you can beat almost anyone into admitting anything, telling a little boy he's a little girl, no matter how insistently, will not make him a girl — it will just make him angry and possibly crazy. We are learning, finally, to take people's word for it: I'm a girl, even in combat boots, and you are whatever it is you say you are.

Hope this helps.



Andrea is home with the kids and going stir-crazy. Write her a letter! Ask her a question! Send her your tedious e-mail forwards! On second thought, don't do that. Just ask her a question.

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