Self-Parody in the Key of G(ender)

In the room next to mine a child was born intersexed, that is, with genitalia of both sex and neither. I knew, because when you are just born you are intimately aware of everything around you, and because I could hear the cries of her parents through the wall. Her parents or his.

My own delivery was uneventful, beyond a certain jaundiced tint to my eyes. I was cleaned and swaddled and left on the table while the nurses attended to my mother. This gave me leisure enough to listen to the distress in the other room. My sister was born when I was, we entered the world together. The consensus of the wall was that she was a girl, albeit one with certain (to my mind) convenient aspects of the male anatomy.

“What will she be?” said her mother, and “What should we do?” said her father.

“Have patience,” said the wall, “and time will tell.”

The nurses returned to me and covered my eyes with large pads of gauze and took me down to the jaundice-room and I heard nothing more. Under the hot lamps we fussed and fretted like rising dough, like so many browning cakes.