In she wasn’t developing like the other girls. After

In Jeffrey Eugenides’ book, Middlesex, the story reflects our time by providing the degree in which society accepted those outside of the “norm.” The main character of the book, Calliope Stephanides, who was later named Cal, was born a hermaphrodite, but lived as a female due to a misidentification by Dr. Philobosian. Because of the doctor’s mistake, Calliope identified as female until she noticed that she wasn’t developing like the other girls. After a visit to the hospital, she founds out she was genetically a male since birth, and through hard acceptance, she changes her name to Cal and identifies as a male. This change was difficult for Cal due to the social stigma in the novel’s time era in the 1960s and 70s around LGBT rights and because he was worried for his family’s reaction. Nonetheless, Cal succeeds in changing her life around to his wishes, along with the support of his family and friends. Cal initially finds his gender transition from female to male worrisome and degrading to his self-esteem; he thinks of how his family would think of him and how it would affect his stance in society. Concerned with his condition of being a hermaphrodite, Cal  visits the Webster’s dictionary at the New York Public Library. He finds the term “hermaphrodite” synonymous with “monster.” This shocked Cal beyond belief, knowing that “the synonym was official, authoritative; it was the verdict that the culture gave on a person like her” (431). Cal took this as how, culturally, his condition was something out of the norm and something that was deemed as strange. Cal compared himself to Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster: people would photograph the two creatures for their mythical properties, just like why they would want to take  a picture of Cal’s genitals because it’s so bizarre. This incident flooded Cal’s mind that he was a monster and that, culturally, he is not welcome; he feels people will not accept for who he is and all his family’s troubles are caused by her; he realizes “her mother crying in the other room” and “the false cheer in Milton’s voice.” (431) was because of the issues they had to face regarding treating Cal’s medical treatment. Cal felt he would not be accepted by anybody, even doubting he would be able to rely on his family. This essentially concludes that Cal’s worries are fueled by society’s disapproval of people with her condition, deeming them unordinary and to an extent as freaks. Knowing in today’s society, Cal would likely fear less about himself, as the atmosphere is much more accepting now than in context with his time. Although Middlesex portrays society as generally unwelcoming to people like Cal, the book matches greater family acceptance of gender and sexuality issues with current times. Cal was stigmatized after reading the definition of his condition in library’s dictionary, even so that he doesn’t trust his parents to truly support him. But Cal is reassured that this was purely false; Milton commented to Cal that his condition is “in the grand scheme of things, no big deal” (433). Milton’s love for his son is further confirmed later on when Cal thinks how his father would’ve reacted to his gender transition, stating how “his father’s love for me was strong enough that he could have accepted me” (518). Although Tessie, Cal’s mother, wished Cal to stay as female and disliked the “criminal aspect to Cal’s appearance” (520), she embraced her son’s decision in a bittersweet embrace; Cal reassures his mother consoles his mother that his identity was the same since birth. Given that Cal’s parents had more socially conservative backgrounds, it is surprising they would support their son’s decision on his identity, but it is likely they found that the love they had for their child was far more important than whatever society hated their child for. Middlesex provides a partially accurate viewpoint of how the world views those who are part of the LGBT community. The book portrays society as something that demonizes those who are queer, but depicts family as something that embraces and welcomes it, especially those who are blood-related. Middlesex shows that, even in times where certain issues are labelled negatively, there are some who incorporate them into life as a way of acceptance, much like modern times. Surely, the context of the novel is different than the world of 2017, but it nonetheless shows social issues that are radically different today than in the past.