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Saturday, February 11, 2017


When I was about seven or eight my mother brought home a young boy to live with us. She didn't say why, just that he would have to share our space in the small bedroom occupied by my younger brother and myself. He was one year younger than I.

George was a quiet person who didn't say much, but otherwise he was pleasant enough. One day only he and I were in the bedroom and I started with, "bet you mine's bigger than yours! Show me yours and I will show you mine." George was having none of it, and the more determined he was not to play this game the more I harassed him. Finally, he dropped his pants and exposed himself. I was reasonably impressed, being that we were about equal. But then, he removed his hand and said, I also have one of these, whereupon revealing his vagina. He was a person who possessed both sexual organs. In fact, George is a hermaphrodite, or a Third Gender.

I almost screamed in horror and surprise. I broke out crying and became very angry with him. He did not need to remove his hand and show me that. He should have kept that as his secret. At my tender age what I said next was a very mature thing. I said to him that he must never ever tell another soul what he just told me. I would not speak about it, and neither must he because people will not understand. Heaven knew, I did not understand.

That was seventy years ago and this is the first time I have spoken about it, and George isn't even his name. I bring it up because a few nights ago I accidentally found myself watching a program hosted by American journalist, Katy Couric dealing with Third Genders. I found the program to be absolutely riveting, but after watching for an hour I was left still as confused as when I started.

Thinking back to George, fortunately for him he appeared to be a male with not even a slight hint of being effeminate, and his voice was about the right male pitch for a young boy. I lived in horror that it would come out one day and that I would be drawn in as we shared a bedroom. I think it never did but it was always the elephant in the room with us. He remained in school till he passed out at 11plus, and then he followed a lot of young men by going to work. After all, we had been given a maximum life expectancy of not more than age 47. (We are all given a maximum life expectancy at birth.) That meant that we had to work fast to get our basic education out of the way and start our working life and our families if we wanted to ever meet our first grandchild.

To be best of my knowledge and belief George never married, nor did he take a lover, neither male nor female. (As far as I know) However, I did lose track of him eventually and I don't even know whether he's still alive or not.

You may be a bit surprised to hear me speak of such things as a Third Gender, but not only do they exist but they go back into the fullness of time and within their own cultures they are understood and highly respected.

I was thinking of including some examples of people who are Transgendered, Intersexed,  Neutered or unsexed/ungendered, such as eunuchs, but it's not as simple as sexual preference, and every time I think I have the philosophy nailed down it slips away to leave me even more stunned. Most people content themselves with the heteronormative ideal of a male (a man)  and a female (a woman). but there is a rising tide of opinion and lifestyle that holds that a community of people around the world hold themselves to be neither man nor woman. They are winning the right to complete important documents to show that they have no gender irrespective of what genitals they were born with. This is causing a great deal of stress in the West where such people insist on the right to use either/any bathroom. The French have long practised this relaxed form of public WC use.

I have only raised the top to Pandora's Box just a little to peek inside to what could become the greatest debate of all time in the West. Meanwhile, a number of countries and their societies came to grips with this thorny subject many years ago and they seem to live in relative contentment.

You may prefer not to bother looking into this any more than you have to, but just as I unwittingly came face to face with the problem at an early age, it is becoming more likely our modern world will have to face it sooner, rather than later.

In the sunset of my mother's life I was having a conversation with her when I asked her what was that all about when George came to live with us? Why did she bring him home to live with us? She replied that his own parents didn't want him. They were making his life miserable and they wanted to get rid of him.

"Oh," said I, and left it at that.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael