A Proper Young Lady
Publication date: December 18th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
A woman with the complete form of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome might never discover that she has testes in her abdomen rather than ovaries and uterus. Danièle knows, and she grieves that she can never have her own children. She has a partial form of AIS that left her with ambiguous genitals,
a steady stream of doctors and psychologists, and parents determined to see her happy as a girl.
After Danièle’s best friend and childhood crush agrees to have a baby for her, Danièle learns that the clinic can extract sperm from her own gonadal biopsies, and she becomes the father of Melanie’s baby herself.
Ethan adores the graceful young woman named Danièle, while Melanie imagines a life with the father of her child. Danièle? She’s happy with her intersex body—somewhere between princess and little boy. But in a black and white world, she must choose—once and for all—who she will be. And whom she will love.
Puffy white clouds drag their sorry reflections across the garden pond. Once in a while, some fish gobbles a bug stupid enough to fall into the water. On an old tree trunk that stretches out from the bank, a family of painted turtles enjoys the last of the evening’s rays.
From the bay window, I watch the sun set. When blue sky turns red and purple, I punch in my sister’s number. If my mother’s sick, I don’t wanna know. But I gotta find out.
Beatrice picks up. “Melanie?”
“Yeah. Mom there?”
A minute passes as a couple of chipmunks gather some of the fallen acorns in the fading light. My imagination keeps wandering out into the garden, expecting to see the father of my child come walking up the path. Ethan—the dude had better be some kinda special.
“Are you settled in?” My mother’s voice sounds chipper, like maybe she’s okay after all.
“Hi, Mom. Yeah, I’m unpacked. You sure about this check?”
“Would I have given you your inheritance if I didn’t trust you?”
“No. Guess not.”
“Well then. Ask Danièle to help you invest the money. All right?”
“Yeah. Sure. You okay, Mom?”
“I’m fine, honey.” One of my sister’s kids squalls in the background. “I’d better go. I promised Beatrice I’d entertain the boys.”
“I love you, Mom.”
I toss the phone on the bed and lean back against the window frame. My life’s here now. With Dani. The image of us standing in front of my mother’s grave sends a creepy chill down my back. Yeah. Maybe forever. Might as well be married.
I brush a hand across my abdomen. Not much there yet. Did I really go through IVF and get myself pregnant for the girl?
Well, yeah. I promised to have a baby when we were old enough.
Not for Dani, though. Not her.
As a kid, I wanted my own little one so bad that my best forever friend pretended to be a boy so she could be the father. When the doctors told Dani she couldn’t bear children, I promised to have one.
For Daniel. His baby.
Well, it made sense at the time.
I shake my head and force my gaze back out the window. Moonlight has turned the garden into a wonderland of silver and midnight blue. A breeze sends ripples across the pond’s reflected stars. Jet black trees sway to some silent beat, waving their arms above it all.
Sometime later, a fat drop of water spatters against the window and down the pane. Others join in, till a steady chorus patters syncopation on the metal roof, till my eyelids succumb to the reassuring music.
Guest Post by the Author: Intersex and Erasure
We met last night, you and I. In the checkout line at Publix, I think.
You liked my hat–the blue felt one with a silver kilt pin. I smiled, nodded, and thanked you for the compliment.
I must have seemed a middle-aged woman of Scottish descent–a grandmother, perhaps, with gray beginning to streak my ginger hair. And the elfin face of my childhood subdued now.
You assumed me female. Most do. And I am–at least in your binary world.
But I’m not XX. And I don’t have a womb. So, no, I don’t have grandchildren.
And before you mention Caitlyn Jenner, I’m not XY either. Not male. Not in your binary world.
Oh, I lived as a boy for a time. Till the world made it clear I belonged with the girls. In your binary world.
With my dolls and tea sets and Easy-Bake Oven. Cooking, sewing, and babysitting.
Feminine of face and demeanor, I fit better there. In your binary world.
With my ovaries part testis–or testes part ovary?–hermaphrodite’s the word for that. For me.
All that ran through my head again as I smiled and nodded. But I didn’t tell you, did I? Discretion’s the better part of valor, they say.
Anyway, I tried that once. It exploded their head. Being in a room with a hermaphrodite, that is. An alien. Other. Perhaps a crazy person. (All the best ones are!)
My doctors don’t use words like hermaphrodite, you know. Or intersex.
Gonadal Dysgenesis. Turner Syndrome. Genetic mosaicism. But nothing at all that mentions my being born outside their binary. Nothing. Like that part of me never was.
Because their job is to erase ambiguity. To make the gray black. Or white.
To fix what they consider wrong with our bodies. To cut off a clitoris too large or a penis too small.
To make vaginal intercourse possible–as a male. Or a female. I’m incomplete without that. In need of counseling if I don’t enjoy it. Lectured if I don’t dilate enough.
All so I’m normal in their eyes.
Binary. My shades of gray gone.
Find Confessions by Lianne Simon here!
Lianne Simon’s father was a dairy farmer and an engineer, her mother a nurse. She grew up in a home filled with love and good books.
Tiny and frail, Lianne struggled physically, but excelled at her studies. In 1970, she was awarded a scholarship to the University of Miami, from which she graduated in 1973. Fond memories of her time there remain with her.
Some years later, after living in several states, and spending time abroad, Lianne settled in to the suburbs north of Atlanta, where she now lives with her husband and their cat.
While seeking answers to her own genetic anomalies, Lianne met a family whose daughter was born with one testis and one ovary. As a result of that encounter, she spent more than a decade answering inquiries on behalf of a support group for the parents of such children.
Lianne hopes that writing this book will, in some small way, contribute to the welfare of children born between the sexes.
a Rafflecopter giveaway