The problem, stated simply, is Gender (as a biological term) vs. Sex (as a social term differentiating between the expectations, rules, and accepted behavior of members of society, as in “the weaker sex” or “manliness”). The difficult distinction comes to fruition when a person inside a culture becomes a gendered person (that is, when the body becomes capable of reproduction.) In “nature,” this distinction is automatic and unquestioned (although Andre Gide in the nonfiction essay, Corydon, makes a strong argument for cross-gender behavior in some animals), but in the complex structure called “Society,” the opportunities for “non-gendered” behavior are not only plentiful but even encouraged, in the interests of equality, economic opportunity, and creativity. While the body undergoes its changes with relative ease, social adjustments to sex variations are less easily absorbed into its “rules.” In earlier times, when survival as a mammal depended on a social hierarchy of child-bearer and food-provider, sex roles and gender identification were in line, but as “Society” moved away from its biological base toward other criteria (equal opportunity, etc.), the two identifications began to conflict. Add to this the “biological clock” and religious strictures, and such “social concerns” as homosexuality, “singles mothers,” abortions, maternity leaves, and a host of other sociological concerns clutter the simple gendering of the physiological body, and at a time in a young person’s life when many other social complications demand their attention—education, career, leaving the family home, and the like, and you can understand Ms. Martin’s essay.