“Most of you already know Jeffrey Sergeyev,” Ms. Turner said in a loud voice. “She will be using the girls' facilities from now on, as I explained Friday. Please be courteous to her.”
“Ignore the bit where she called me ‘she’ and ‘her’,” I said to the girls nearest me.
“Sir,” I said, trying to stay calm and respectful, “could you please ask Ms. Turner not to refer to me with female pronouns?”
“Well,” he said, “we have to use some pronoun or other. Perhaps one of the English teachers can recommend a good gender-neutral pronoun.”
“I know there would be problems with you using the girls’ bathrooms or showers,” Dad said, “but — after today, there might be just as bad problems showering with the other boys.”
“I can’t,” Arnie said. “Keith and Tara Saunders invited me to a party at their house. I asked if you could come, but they said it’s centaurs only,” he went on, looking vaguely embarrassed.
“Have fun,” I said. I felt weird about that, and wondered if things like that were going to happen often, and if so, if this was the beginning of the end of our friendship.
The Valentine Divergence
Updated 2012/7/12 re: very small and very large neospecies
Before I start talking about the world in which my stories “Butterflies are the Gentlest” and “A House Divided” are set (warning: this will contain spoilers for those stories), let me clear up a couple of possible misunderstandings. This isn’t exactly a “story bible” like the writers of Star Trek episodes or tie-in books have to religiously adhere to, or a set of “rules” like those that ElrodW wrote for his MAU setting.
“I don’t like this,” Mom said. “I don’t see how you can keep it up, and the longer you manage to pretend, the more people are going to be hurt and offended when they find out you lied to them.”
I was starting to worry that she might be right, but I wasn’t going to back out unless she and Dad forced my hand by telling people.
Dad snuggled in next to Mom on the sofa; she put aside the skirt she was working on and they hugged and kissed, but I thought I saw a little bit of hesitation, and it hurt. I knew too many kids at school whose parents were divorced, or looked like they might get a divorce any time now, and I was happy to think that my parents looked like the sticking-together kind. But when I saw her hesitate a little before letting him hug her and kiss her, it worried me. Could they still stay together after changing in such drastic and different ways? And if not, what would happen to me?
We used the men’s room — I felt vaguely guilty about that, but I was too embarrassed to use the ladies' room, and we both still looked male, as long as we had clothes on.
A House Divided
This short novel (43,800 words) is in the same setting as my earlier novelette “Butterflies are the Gentlest.” They take place simultaneously, but there are no characters in common; I reckon you could read them in either order. I’m calling the setting itself “the Valentine Divergence”; if anyone else wants to write stories in this setting, feel free.
Butterflies are the Gentlest
by Trismegistus Shandy
The wedding was almost over when it happened. Whatever 'it' is; we're starting to figure out what but we still don't know how or why.
(Fixed a formatting problem, 2011/2/1 8:15 EST.)