Explaining This Culture to Boomers: Gender

This is a one-act play inspired by two actual conversations.

SETTING: A coffee shop in Los Angeles. One forty-something female, KJ, and her adopted family of older folks are seated at a large table.


DOYENNE: KJ, you know about all the new fangled stuff. Have you heard of this gender fluid?

RETIRED COP: Gender what now?

BUSINESS GRANDMA: We don’t discuss that in mixed company.

Me: It’s not fluids. Stop looking at me like that.

DOYENNE: (super loudly) It’s when a boy thinks he’s a girl today, but he could be a boy again tomorrow, and this is normal now. At least that’s what I heard on the radio.

GENTLE GRANDMA: Wait, how is he a girl today?

RETIRED COP: Sounds like he’s a girl every damn day.

KJ: Gender fluidity isn’t physical, unless there’s a neurochemical component, but so far I don’t think one has been discovered. It’s how someone feels.

RETIRED COP: I feel like a sandwich. Does that make me a sandwich?

KJ: You are a lot of things, but a sandwich isn’t one of them.

GENTLE GRANDMA: Wait. Is this the bathroom thing?

BUSINESS GRANDMA: The bathroom thing scares me.

DOYENNE: What’s the bathroom thing?

RETIRED COP: It’s when some pervert who says he’s a woman goes into the bathroom at a department store to ogle your granddaughter and you have to think it’s okay or you’ll offend someone.

KJ: The ridiculous part is that we’ve all been using bathrooms with transgendered people for decades, but they had all transitioned surgically and nobody took any notice. Now people who identify as gender fluid want to be able to choose at will, which no one would probably notice either — if they distinctly represented the gender they felt that day.


BUSINESS GRANDMA: But they expect us to be okay with it just because they say that’s what they are.


KJ: And, like, I’ve always wondered if it’s hard for people who’ve always kind of not seemed “typical” of their gender to use bathrooms. Like, in college there was this girl who everyone called the Burly Girl, and nobody wanted to use the showers when she did, so we all just waited until she was out. But also she took really long, fragrant dumps. It was a whole thing.

DOYENNE: Heavens!


BUSINESS GRANDMA: What did she eat?

KJ: She ate two Big Macs and large fries every day. We’d see her walk back from Mickey D’s and know to just stay out of the bathroom.

RETIRED COP: Sounds like my kinda girl!

BUSINESS GRANDMA: But I also read that there are more than two genders now?

DOYENNE: Preposterous!

GENTLE GRANDMA: What is the third gender? How did that happen?

KJ: Well, that’s the catchy part. There are apparently lots of genders, and they’re separate from sex, and are not necessarily about sexuality. It is really confusing.

DOYENNE: Well, that’s nonsense.

RETIRED COP: The only thing they’re confused about is reality.


BUSINESS GRANDMA: I guarantee a doctor’s office is not marking down any extra genders in your chart!

GENTLE GRANDMA: Why would someone want to be something that isn’t something?

KJ: That’s the sixty-four thousand dollar question, GG. Why do people want to be otherkin or furries? Why do people want to be anything?

DOYENNE: What’s an otterkin fury?

BUSINESS GRANDMA: She said furry, I think.

RETIRED COP: (turning to KJ) Do you see what you’ve done? And why is it always you that knows this stuff?

And scene.



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