There is another world where men have names like Frank, Joe, and Richard and women have names like Karen, Elizabeth, and Melissa. Men and women lead lives sometimes together and sometimes separate, though ultimately intertwined by romantic love. In this other world the men do the hard, dangerous, dirty jobs–soldiers, miners, factory workers and whatnot–and also assume leadership roles, while women focus mostly on child-rearing and housework. This is a fair arrangement that plays to each gender’s strengths. Men use their natural stoicism and intellect to carve out a haven of warmth and safety from which women’s gentleness may shine forth as a beacon to all. In this way society strikes a happy, productive balance.
In this other world about half the men are biologically male and half the women are biologically female. No one takes much notice of this. Even the words “male” and “female” have an odd ring. They are like terms for genetalia: medically precise, but also faintly obscene. Now the people in this other world aren’t stupid. They understand human biology as well as you and I. They know, for instance, that some people can get pregnant and other people can’t. Physical differences may sometimes be a source of good-natured ribbing, particularly among men, but in daily life there are generally more important things to think about. Pluck some random person off the street, forbid them to talk, have them stand still, and strip them down to their underwear so that all we can see is a burly upper body, balding pate, and salt-and-pepper beard and, yes, everyone will grant you that there’s no way to tell if we are looking at a Samuel or a Samantha. But who would do such a thing?
What matters is that a man marry a woman and they have babies. In this other world that most private expression of tenderness, the family, is also the fundamental unit of public life. Theirs is a society literally built on love. Every once in a while you’ll see a marriage between a man and a woman who are both male or both female. Charming bohemians, usually, who go on to adopt. What is strictly forbidden (assuming you can stomach thinking about it at all) is for a man to fall in love with a man or a woman with a woman. This is abhorrent not just because it is unnatural, but also for the mixed messages it sends. It is everyone’s job to set an example for the young girls and boys out there. Confusion serves no one. They need to know how they fit in.