This morning I listened to a podcast from Radiolab. This particular story is about Alex Hai, a transgender man working as a gondolier in Venice. But things are complicated.
To be a licensed gondolier one must pass certain exams. Alex failed on his first attempt, but saw sons of gondoliers passed with what looked like lower scores. Alex filed a complaint.
When the press grabbed the story it ignored the transgender aspects (appropriate for the time) and focused on him being the first female gondolier in the 900 year history of the job. Feminists latched on to the story, much to his dismay, wanting him to be their role model. His potential colleagues were annoyed because the uproar made them appear sexist.
Alex examined the laws and found he didn’t have to be licensed if hired by hotels rather than the city. So that’s what he did. But to get work he advertised himself as the first female gondolier. The novelty of it was good for business.
Things settled into a workable pattern – until menopause hit. That came with an increased desire for the body to match the gender of the mind. And being the first female gondolier was no longer a suitable marketing gimmick.