An examination of Raphael Carter’s story from THE JAMES TIPTREE AWARD ANTHOLOGY 2

For, Alex Dally MacFarlane analyzes Raphael Carter’s Tiptree-award winning story “Congenital Agenesis of Gender Ideation by K.N. Sirsi and Sandra Botkin.”

At the forefront of consciously boundary-pushing work is the 1998 short story and Tiptree Award winner “Congenital Agenesis of Gender Ideation by K.N. Sirsi and Sandra Botkin” by Raphael Carter (published in Starlight 2, ed. Hayden; reprinted in The James Tiptree Award Anthology 2, ed. Fowler et al), a fictional academic article about a phenomenon observed in a small number of individuals: the apparent inability to correctly perceive gender. Instead, their inability is to discern concepts as non-specific as “male” and “female.”


As in Melissa Scott’s Shadow Man, the body binary of two is discarded—here, by the real breadth of intersex people. To talk of “male” and “female” is truly to over-simplify. The distinction between sex and gender is not so neatly distinguished in the story, but gender identity is possibly as discernable as different intersex people: “Category 6 comprised people with high scores on the Bem test of psychological androgyny.” What, though, of other measures of gender identity? What of fluidity?

Read the rest of MacFarlane’s essay at

For more info on The James Tiptree Award Anthology 2, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by John D. Berry.