Stories of transness, a proposal, family, aliens, religion, & tamales
September 13, 2020 5:03 AM   Subscribe

Four fantasy or scifi stories (funny, heartwarming, searching) about trans experiences. The funniest of them: “Further Arguments in Support of Yudah Cohen’s Proposal to Bluma Zilberman” by Rebecca Fraimow. "Now perhaps you’re thinking to yourself, 'What kind of a man is this Yudah Cohen after all, to boast of his ability to lie? Certainly he won’t make any kind of rabbi!'"

“Further Arguments in Support of Yudah Cohen’s Proposal to Bluma Zilberman” by Rebecca Fraimow (audio).
Dear Bluma,

I heard that Hershel Schmulewitz, that blockhead, has also presumed to ask for your hand in marriage, which gives you two proposals to consider. Now, you needn’t worry that this will be a sentimental or a wheedling sort of letter. You already know how I feel, and I suppose Hershel’s not so much of a blockhead that he doesn’t feel the same way. I’m simply writing to lay out the reasons, plainly and concisely, why it would certainly be more to your benefit to marry me.

1. As you know, I have so far outperformed all the others in my year on the rabbinical exams....
Fraimow's sequel: "Shaina Rubin Keeps Her Head Under Circumstances Nobody Could Have Expected" (audio and text).
It wasn’t even my idea to sneak out to the Yiddish theater, that unlucky night I’m telling you about. It was my friend Gittel who really wanted to go. She’s always saying she’s going to do something wild like run away with an actor, so in fact it was a mitzvah for me to say I would go with her and make sure she didn’t do anything foolish—but you just try explaining good sense like that to anyone in my house, especially my cousin Bluma.
"Recognizing Gabe: un cuento de hadas" by Alberto Yáñez.
When the pot is full, I lift it off the table and move it over to the stove. I'm fourteen and I'm already taller than Mom—almost as tall as Dad—and pretty strong, even if I am too skinny. Mom is always telling me to eat another tortilla. "Don't drop the hoya," she says as I shuffle over to the stove with the huge pot. Not like I would. She'd do it herself if she could—she's like that—but with her pregnant belly in the way it's hard for her to lift the big steamer. I used to help more in the kitchen when I was young, but Mom's had a tough time with me growing up, so now mostly I don't. I miss it.

"Your nina Teresa is coming tomorrow," Mom says, too casually. "She said she wants to check up on you."

I just nod. We don't really talk much about my godmother. Visits from my nina Tere are rare, and usually dramatic. At least now I know why we're making so many tamales.
"The Riverbed of the World" by B. C. Holmes, a trans author. (Published in 2003; characters in this story use the word "transsexual".)
Kolay's job required her to act like a mother figure and, true to her vocation, she took me under her wing. She invited me to stay at the temple indefinitely. I helped out with chores around the temple -- I cooked and swept and replaced countless candles. At night, I used the computers to access more and more of their research and writings about gender and neurobiology.

They really didn't know what to make of the fact that I wasn't remotely religious.
posted by brainwane (7 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
our neighbors gossip about the vilkacis, but a creature like that is not mentioned in the books of our learning and law anywhere that I’ve found

Yudah didn't have access to Google, but I do, and while werewolves are not mentioned in the Talmud, apparently the Jewish scholars of Franco-Germania ("Ashkenaz") circa 1200 CE believed in werewolves and as evidence I present a very cool bit of midrashic exegesis that has been blogged about here.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:19 AM on September 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

These are really wonderful stories. Thank you for sharing these little gifts on this Sunday morning.
posted by snowmentality at 6:16 AM on September 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

JiA the fact that google only returns 17 hits for the phrase "Werewolf, shmerewolf" is a source of deep disappointment to me.
posted by lalochezia at 6:19 AM on September 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

Lalochezia, with those two words you've basically got a story right there.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:30 AM on September 13, 2020

Delightful and inspiring stories. Thank you.
posted by Vatnesine at 7:42 AM on September 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I love the Yudah stories so freaking much. I love Yudah's voice so much. I want a third story in which we hear about the new addition to the family and how that person is doing SO BAD.

On a related note in trans science fiction, here's A Voyage to Queensthroat.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:19 PM on September 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I posted a list of all Fraimow's published stories in another thread - figured folks here would also want to see it.
posted by brainwane at 6:48 AM on September 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

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