And now my story...
In 2004 I happened upon a snippet of an article which spoke of ekthesis, the word for infant exposure in Greek antiquity. I was dumbfounded to learn that girls were still being left in the elements to die, just because they were female. Today we use the term gendercide.
Having learned of the modern practice, my rage looked for a place to turn. The release came through my writing craft. What if I could create a fictional story illustrating a society practicing gendercide? What if that story could raise awareness and sympathy, and ultimately action against the atrocity? About that time, my youngest daughter came home from her college cultural anthropology class and shared that there have been societies, with a shortage of males, who have resorted to declaring young girls male for the benefit of the group. With that information, I had the predicament for my main character. She wouldn’t be hiding her sex. Society would be devaluing her sex and suppressing it. Everyone would know she previously was female.
I created Tiadone, whose father has the choice to either leave his firstborn daughter in the wilderness to die or declare her a male. He chooses the latter to save her life. An amulet is tied to her hips, and she is destined to hold a male role in an oppressive society the rest of her life.
Tiadone matures with everyone knowing of her former sex. They believe her amulet suppresses those characteristics. Everyone knows but Tiadone. Reaching puberty, called to her initiation and service for her people, she struggles against rising feminine traits and desires within herself. Her heroine’s journey will take her to see the value and worth of a female, newborn or grown.
As Firstborn takes flight, I hope readers are outraged by gendercide. I hope they watch It’s a Girl movie, visit All Girls Allowed, and grow familiar with the Global Gendercide Advocacy and Awareness Project. As I share imagery across social media for 30 days, beginning on Valentine’s Day, I hope more hear of gendercide and experience the same rage I felt and continue to feel. As we say at readergirlz, I hope they read, reflect, and reach out—to their sisters: those carrying a female child, the unborn child herself, and the newborn daughter. May they all be allowed to live.
That is the heart of FIRSTBORN. More soon. ~Lorie Ann