It’s always really interesting to read short stories from the 1960s that deal with gender identity. Take Day Million, by Frederik Pohl, for instance—one of the characters is Dora, a trans woman. From the text (excuse some cissexist aspects of it; this was the 1960s and he’s writing for a largely cis audience who just doesn’t “get” this kinda stuff):
About this business of her being a boy. It didn’t matter to her audiences that genetically she was male. It wouldn’t matter to you, if you were among them, because you wouldn’t know it—not unless you took a biopsy cutting of her flesh and put it under an electron microscope to find the XY chromosomes—and it didn’t matter to them because they didn’t care. Though techniques which are not only complex but haven’t yet been discovered, these people were able to determine a great deal about the aptitudes and easements of babies quite a long time before they were born—at about the second horizon of cell-division, to be exact, when the segmenting egg is becoming a free blastocyst—and then they naturally helped those aptitudes along. Wouldn’t we? If we find a child with an aptitude for music we give him a scholarship to Juilliard. If they found a child whose aptitudes were for being a woman, they made him one. As sex had long been dissociated from reproduction this was relatively easy to do and caused no trouble and no, or at least very little, comment.
How much is “very little”? Oh, about as much as would be caused by our own tampering with Divine Will by filling a tooth. Less than would be caused by wearing a hearing aid. Does it still sound awful? Then look closely at the next busty babe you meet and reflect that she may be a Dora, for adults who are genetically male but somatically female are far from unknown even in our own time.
This brings up some interesting ideas. With the studies of genetics becoming more and more exact, it might be possible to determine whether or not a person will be transgender from a very early stage. Hopefully, then, parents and doctors will be able to assist the child with their transition, which would spare the child from a lot of pain.
It’s also interesting in that transitioning in Pohl’s world is treated with the same attitude as a tooth being filled. There’s nothing taboo about it, and clearly people have realized that it’s a medical necessity.
Anyway, I thought I’d share that. You can read the full text here if you so desire.