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Just my rambling thoughts about being gay and Mormon

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Middlesex





I just finished reading a book that I really liked called "Middlesex" by Jeffery Eugenities.  It's been out for a while (published in 2002).  In 2003, it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.  
The novel is a family history of Greek immigrants who settle in Detroit after fleeing war and the great fire of Smyrna.  The history extends to several generations of descendants of these immigrants. It is a wonderful read full of the tragedy and comedy of life for this family. 

The story is told by Cal, the grandson of the immigrants. Cal is born with 5-alpha-reductase deficiency, a recessive condition, that causes him to be born with female characteristics. Cal is a hermaphrodite man. However, because he appears to be female, he is raised as a girl, Calliope, until he is diagnosed when he enters puberty. He knows he is different from other girls and when he learns his true identity he embraces it and begins to live as a man. The change is difficult for both him and his family. The book is charming, poignant, and insightful.  Eugenities successfully presents the struggles of both Cal and his family to come to terms with who he really is.  Along the way, we learn the fascinating tale of the immigrant family, their traditions, and adapting to and becoming successful in America.

The photos above are of Andrej Pejic, a male model who fits perfectly the description in "Middlesex" of Cal.  Pejic has been wildly popular as a model because of his androgynous nature.  He has modeled both as a female and as a male and refuses to be tied to a single gender (when he met the Queen of England, he dressed as a women wearing a Versace skirt).

The book "Middlesex", while a novel, sensitively portrays the real life situation of those born into the intersex world.  I recommend it!



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