Two Times Delia Learned About Gender

This is part of a longer piece (6 times Delia learned about gender, and one time she didn’t), but the other bits mostly kinda suck right now, so I gotta rewrite them. This does reference those a bit, but uhhh, you’re gonna have to guess from context, I guess.

CN: mention of snakes in a metaphor, gender feels, mild misgendering-ish. Yes, this is a happy piece. Reminder, Delia is Zanchese-Anitian, which is pretty much equivalent to Chinese-American, and speaks Ie, which is a conlang of mine (that I need to work on more…). Please let me know if I screwed up. Nathan is her husband.

There’s some more notes at the bottom.


“Mom, I need to tell you something.”

Her mom turned away from the sink. “What is it? You sound so serious.”

She felt like she had when she’d asked her great-aunt about the detbaw. Her chest was full of snakes.

“I’m not a girl.” Her mother froze. “I’m a bawgiu.

Her mother’s eyes widened, then she beamed. “Oh, you scared me! I was so scared! What if we’d been treating you wrong all these years?” She pulled Delia into a tight hug. “Bawgiu! My second child is a bawgiu, like her aunt. How lucky!”

“Lucky?” she said into her mother’s shoulder.

Her mom released her. “Yes. My mother told me, in Ie, they say the luckiest family is det, bawgiu, giu, detgiu, baw. That way the family is balanced.” She nodded firmly. “And your grandparents had children just like that.”

“But you’re not having any more kids.”

Her mom pursed her lips, then smiled again. “No, but it’s still lucky.”

“I with you’d told me about my aunts and uncles.”

Her mom’s face fell and she twisted her fingers together. “I’m sorry, linlin. In Anitia there’s just the two, man or woman. I didn’t want to confuse you.”

“Oh, mom.” She hugged her. “I’m sorry.” She knew her mom tried so hard.


Nathan squeezed her hand as she leaned forward to hear better. She’d thought it’d be a goofy boring show, but he’d insisted Leonard said it was good.

On the screen Lynn repeated herself firmly, “I said I’m a demi-girl, not a girl.” She had blonde hair with blue tips that brushed at her collar. She wore a blouse with a man’s tie and vest and a short skirt. Delia couldn’t look away.

Lynn’s teacher sneered. “And what’s that?”

“I’m not just a girl. I’m a boy too, and agender, and androgynous, but the part that gives me strength is that I’m a woman.”

Her professor said something dismissive, but Delia didn’t pay attention. Her skin was flushed and Nathan’s hand was cool in hers. Demi-girl. Yes yes yes. She was real, even in English. She was a bawgiu and she was a demi-girl.





  1. det, bawgiu, giu, detgiu, baw approximately equals man, demi-girl, androgyne or bigender, demi-boy, woman.
  2. Leonard is Nathan’s brother.
  3. They’re watching ‘Pink Blue Green Yellow’ a sitcom about college roommates, which was the turning point for accepting non-binary and trans people.
  4. Demi-girl definition –


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