Thursday, September 10, 2020

Microstory 1449: Gender Laws

Under the Republic on Durus, women were considered untrustworthy. Later on, laws will be passed to allow a woman to earn merit points for her loyalty, and enjoy some extra freedoms, but these freedoms will never include full autonomy. They will never be able to vote, and they certainly could never be allowed to hold public office. They were allowed to work certain jobs, but only under heavy supervision, and with responsibilities that didn’t result in too much damage when they inevitably made mistakes. But what they had not considered until around 2109 was the definition of woman. As bad as the Durune Republicans were, they didn’t see themselves as sexist, homophobic, or transphobic. Their distrust of women was rooted in something completely different from the systemic sexism that pervaded Earthan history. They cited very specific examples of particular women who caused problems for society. It still wasn’t right, but it was at least based on psychology and culture, rather than physiology. At least that was how they justified their position. That led to some questions, however, that no one had had time to think about until the system was fully established. It was clear that two men were totally free to be in a relationship together, but what about two women? Well, lesbianism in itself wasn’t wrong, but now there was a lack of male influence. They definitely couldn’t raise children, because..same problem. New laws had to be passed under the third administration that covered these topics. Lesbian relationships still required male supervision, so a man had to be included to some capacity. This man was obviously not entitled to sex from either one of them, but as far as household duties and child rearing were concerned, he would be in charge. After this was settled, there were more questions on gender that needed to be answered.

Because of the prevalence of time powers—and the absence of help from Earth—technology developed on its own unique path. It was a little steampunk, and a little sword fantasy, and even a little bit space western. They still had doctors, but the medical facilities were severely underresourced. About the only thing they excelled in was the dissemination of theoretical knowledge. The library came through completely intact, which allowed anyone to learn just about anything they wanted. In fact, throughout all of history on this planet, no leader made any attempt to stifle the pursuit of an education. Not even Smith tried to stop people from getting smarter. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough, because reading about performing a complex surgery was a lot different than having the experience to do it safely. The only surgeries that were being done were the essential ones, because if something went wrong, the patient was likely going to die anyway, so at least someone tried. Sex reassignment surgery did not fall into this category. No one had the expertise required to complete a transformation, and they certainly didn’t have the experience. The few doctors with official credentials who made it through the Deathfall didn’t even know how to do it, and either way, they died decades ago. Technology was indeed progressing, but it was happening at a snail’s pace compared to where they would be if they were still on Earth. Still, as far as the Republicans were concerned, an individual had the right to identify as any gender they wanted. This didn’t mean every woman’s problems were solved. According to the Republic’s main tenets, women were not trustworthy. It didn’t matter if they were born with female parts, or not. So someone born a girl could not just claim to be a man when he got older, and suddenly his life was as easy as it was for other men. People generally agreed to use whatever pronouns he needed, but he still did not enjoy the upper class life. On the other hand, if a man decided to start identifying as a woman, she would lose all masculine advantages and entitlements, so there was very little incentive to transform in that direction. Still, it happened, when a woman-on-the-inside just couldn’t take behaving like someone she wasn’t, even though it meant losing a lot of privileges. There were more tweaks to gender laws to be ironed out over time, but this was the start.

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