Behind Every Man...

By Radioactive Loner

You know, things could have been a hell of a lot worse: I always remained

Oh, that's a bit of a misnomer. If you were to look around at the patrons
of the Blind Pig Gin Mill, one of my favorite hangouts, you would see
humans, all of them. The fact that some have scales, and some have fur, and
some have horns, and some happen to be animate pencils [audience laughter]
-- no, I'm serious, people. Inanimorphs can end up as many unusual forms,
and, man, it's a tough life. Imagine every single sense you have being
different ... seeing, smelling, touching, hearing ... it's all out of whack.
An entirely new sensorium. But they're all still human. Most people just
don't seem to get that.

But it's a lot harder to pick out (and thus exude prejudice against) those
of us to whom the Flu left only the ability to flip genders. And I'm glad
that I'm not that easy to pick out. Hell, I'm still victim to prejudices
when people find *out* I'm a gendermorph, but you can't tell on first look,
really, unlike so many of my friends. I hate the prejudice directed against
my friends, and I fight against it ... but, at the very bottom of my heart,
I'm glad that I'm not victim to the worst of it.

Now, up until recently, I didn't really have the ability to morph back and
forth between genders. I was stuck as a woman. But a trip out to the
mountains, where I visited a neohippie commune, ended up leading to a rather
traumatic event ... an event that helped get me 'unstuck,' so to speak.
(The medical term for being stuck in one form is 'morphlock.' Dr. Stein,
the very man who is the 'S' in SCABS, one evening amusedly commented to all
of us in the bar that medical dictionaries had practically tripled in weight
after the advent of the Martian Flu, thanks to all the new medical terms and
conditions introduced.)

And so, now, here I remain: first, Paul. Then, Tara. And now, both.

I think I'll stay as Tara for a little bit. Unusual to watch, isn't it?
The first time I saw myself do that in the mirror, it really had me shaking
for a while. Interestingly enough, I didn't do that until recently, because
of that morphlock. I didn't watch myself become a woman the very first time
I became Tara; I got sick with what I thought was just a really bad case of
the normal flu, and woke up the next morning as a woman. And I was stuck
that way for several months.

It's an odd phenomenon, SCABS, and the entire idea of morphing -- doing what
you just saw -- basically threw pretty much the entire scientific community
into one big, fat, confused tizzy. Now that I *can* change once more, I
investigated the scientific theories out there, and basically, most people
have thrown their hands up in confused despair. After all, for example,
when I am a man, I am heavy. But when I am a woman, I am thin. So where do
the extra pounds of weight go? Do they just disappear? That can't happen
... at least in the old school of science. Does it go into a tesseract?
Just magically disappear? Do I convert mass from surrounding air?
Scientists are still very confused.

And it's not only the scientific community, it's society at large, too. I
mean, think about it. Prior to the Martian Flu, prior to this "flip," you
basically had two major preferences: heterosexuality ("hetero" being Greek
for "other, different") and homosexuality ("homo" being Greek for "same,
like"). Yes, this discounts many other sexualities, but those two comprised
the majority of 'mainstream' American culture prior to the Flu epidemic.

Then, boom, you got the Martian Flu, and you have gendermorphs. Suddenly
... assuming your taste in gender remains the same ... when you're in one
form, you're a heterosexual, while you're in the other, you're a homosexual.
You see, as Tara, I like women, so in this form, you'd call me a lesbian.
Now ... as Paul, in this form, I like women, so you'd call me a

But it's still the same preference for the intellect, what makes me me, and
now we have two different labels for it. In one form, I'm gay; in the
other, I'm straight. Now, if I switched back and forth, liking men as a
woman and liking women as a man, would I, who is both Tara *and* Paul, be
bisexual? As you can see, our old labels for sexual orientation begin to
grow hazy and vague, proving themselves insufficient to the task.

Biology can be odd, too. As a woman, I'm subject to menstrual cycles. As a
man, I am not. Now, many of the girls in the audience may be thinking,
Great, when the time of the month hits, just pop on over to Guyville and
stay there for a bit. Nope. Doesn't seem to work that way. I've not
really yet worked out exactly how everything corresponds to everything, yet,
but if I pop over to Guyville in the midst of a period, I just resume it
whenever I pop back.

Paul and Tara have very different metabolisms. Paul's more the frathouse
metabolism: he can eat an entire pizza in one sitting. Tara's more the
supermodel metabolism: a good salad can fill her up. So when Paul eats a
pizza, does it end up on Tara's thighs and butt? No. It seems to
correspond with what fills each other up. As Paul, I'm on an exercise
program, trying to shed the weight, get back to a fit male body. Does this
mean Tara will accordingly lose the same weight, waste away to a bare
skeleton? As far as I've been able to tell, no; exercise done with Tara's
body improves that form, but doesn't improve my male form, and vice versa.

What I'm trying to say is that there seems to be a separation, a uniqueness,
as if each body has its own life. Again, something I note only from
observation, and not from surefire scientific knowledge. SCABS has left the
scientific community gasping in the dust, trying to catch up with all its
various oddities, and I am by no means a scientist. I am, in fact, an

Yes, folks, an actor, the very scourge of your teachers ... the
oh-so-unserious, impractical career choice that has led many a starry-eyed
teenager to major cities across our country, trying to eke out a living on
the stage. Gendermorphs have opportunities for some really unique roles.
Shakespeare offers many moments where women dress as men, such as in
"Twelfth Night" -- and gendermorphs bring a whole new dimension to that.
And the advent of gendermorphs made possible stage productions of old
transgender films such as "Switch" or "Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde" -- the
PG-rated version, thank you very much. I hear that giggling in the back!

In any case, it also opens up a world of opportunities, in that now I can
audition for women's roles as well as men's roles. That's a unique
advantage to this career, wherein what could be a liability in other careers
proves to actually be an asset.

I'll now take some questions from the audience. Since you're without mikes,
I'll repeat the question to you all before I answer it.

Will I change back and forth for you naked? [audience laughter] No, I
really don't think that's going to happen, buddy. Hey, go easy on the guy,
teach, I'd probably ask the same thing were the roles reversed. [audience
laughter] That guy's probably in for some detention time. Oh, well.

What's the strangest SCAB I've ever met? I'm not going to answer that
question. [pauses] Except to say that those Martian Flu victims who've had
to deal with unusual body forms are some of the more noble people I've ever
had the honor to meet. When someone endures through such a life- changing
event, the inner strength they end up displaying is nothing short of

What? No, go ahead. Don't worry about being too personal. If it's too
personal, I won't answer it. No, I would have wondered about that, too. She
asked how I handle clothing with the change. Well, when I know I'm going to
be called upon to morph, I usually wear something that can accommodate both
forms, like the sweat pants and sweat shirt I'm wearing today. Usually,
it's something that doesn't really look great on either form; what's too
baggy for Tara is a bit too tight on Paul, just as a function of height and
weight. So usually, I'll dress for one of the two bodies. This of course
ignores stage costumes, which are an entirely different matter; they're
usually sewn to accommodate the change.

How do I feel about "SCABS"? It's a very dumb television show, and I
expected more from Showtime. The CGI looks fake and the actor and actress
playing the gendermorph character look nothing alike. It comes from when
you want to use celebrities who aren't SCABS to play SCAB characters. It's
like when they made up Roma Downey to look like an African-American for
that one episode of "Touched By An Angel." Not convincing at all.

What's "Touched By An Angel"? Well, I have a certain love for television
shows from the '90s and '00s. It's old 2-D stuff, and I think the reference
would take too long to explain here. Check it out on the 'Net if you like.

Why am I touring, talking about gendermorphism? Good question. *Very* good
question. Careful, they're going to think I planted you in the audience.
[audience laughter] Well, basically, I just want to bring you my story as
an example, as perhaps part of a larger message. I want you all to realize
that it's what's in your heart that counts, not what you look like. I'm me,
whether I'm this ... or this. High school roles such as the class athlete,
the drama clubs, all the various cliques have existed for decades upon
decades, now, but try to remember that that's not just the homecoming king
there, there's a person behind there. Same with those you'd exclude because
they might be more academically minded.

Also, your high school is right here in the city. No doubt you've run into
SCABS, and maybe been afraid of them. We're human, just as you. It's not
right to fear the other, and you let yourself in for a world of
disappointment and pain when you pass up the opportunity to get to know
someone just because their form's different from that to which you're

Well, your teacher's giving me the sign that your class periods are about to
change, so I'll wrap this up. If you take just one thing away from this, I
hope you'll take a message of tolerance. I'd also like to invite any of you
to come see me as Portia in "The Merchant of Venice," which is the first
production of Shylock's Advocates, a new community theater group I've just
founded. The show begins this Saturday, and students get a discounted rate.

It's been good meeting all of you. Take care!


Copyright 2000 by Radioactive Loner. If you want to post this anywhere else, please ask the author for permission first. Thank you.

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