Somewhere in this country, a gay black woman, grateful beneficiary of past and present perceptual transformations, has said something today in all innocence that will strike her just a few years from now as unbelievably callous, cruel, and wrong. — Michael Kinsley, 2004

“You did it, Moonmist, didn’t you?”

“Yes, LaQuisha, I did,” Moonmist replied.

“So, we are going to be parents now, huh?” LaQuisha said.

“It’s the right time now. The world didn’t end last year, like that John Cusack movie said it would,” Moonmist replied.

“So, you went to a sperm bank and paid money. Why couldn’t you just ask Dontavious downstairs to fuck you until you got pregnant?” LaQuisha said.

“I wanted him to have the best genes I can find,” Moonmist replied.

“You mean white!” LaQuisha screamed indignantly.

“Well the donor is white, but that isn’t what matters. I could have easily got any white guy to fuck me until I got pregnant, too. This sperm is special,” Moonmist replied.

“Dd you go to that shifty Jewish doctor who gave you a complete rundown on who his guy is?” LaQuisha inquired.

“Yes,” Moonmist replied.

“So, do you even know his name?” LaQuisha asked.

“Bohr,” Moonmist replied.

“Not only is he white but his name is ‘bore?’ I bet the kid grows up to work in a bank and vote Republican!” LaQuisha sneered.

“LOL, it’s spelled B-O-H-R. It’s Danish. You don’t get more progressive than that!” Moonmist replied.

“It’s not just the money. I’m just uncomfortable with the idea that genes matter. It always seemed like a tool of oppression,” LaQuisha said.

“Well, I grew up on a farm and I can tell you they do, even if it’s racist hate speech to say it. We were born the way we are. We love each other because we were born that way, and no one should oppress us because of it!” Moonmist replied.

LaQuisha smiled and said, “I guess we’re gonna be mommies.”

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 17 Years Later

“Oh shit!” said a graduate student in chemistry.

“Quite literally!” said her colleague.

She had apparently stepped in a large mound of excrement from some animal.

“AAAAAHHHHHHH!” she screamed as onlookers got curious.

“Adya, calm down. We’re going to figure this out,” replied her friend.

Adya continued to scream as she ran around in circles and then darted back to her laboratory to use the safety shower.

Hermione, her friend and colleague, began to look around. She spied an Amazon delivery van with a man moving some cargo with a hand truck and taking it toward the bike rack under the supervision of a boy. Tethered to the bike rack was a Jersey cow. It didn’t take a scientist to discover the source of Adya’s mishap.

“Is that thing yours?” Hermione said to the boy as he opened the package, which contained the beast’s food.

“That thing is my partner,” the boy replied.

“Well, my friend is very upset from stepping in your partner’s waste!”

“She needs to watch where she is going,” the boy replied.

“You need to get that disgusting thing off campus!” Hermione screamed.

“Your bigotry is the most disgusting thing around. This is my partner. You sound like one of those right-wing Christian homophobes who went out killing gays back in the 80’s and 90’s because of AIDS!” the boy replied.

Hermione was aghast. The ghosts of the nightmare monsters of the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition—whose death squads killed gays like Matthew Shepherd—she had heard so much about in school and from her parents in Martha’s Vineyard could be haunting her own soul. Her instinct to attack back was temporarily suppressed for a moment because he might have a point. All she could think to say was, “I am going to get the campus police. We’ll see what they say about this!”


The faculty and student committee for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was about to convene a meeting. They had several complaints to resolve from a boy named Sunshine Andersen. He was not a professor, a postdoc, a graduate student, or even an undergraduate student. He was there on the high school Summer Research Initiative for Sexual Minorities. Committee Chairperson Marjorie Williams read the complaints of harassment by students and the campus police on account of sexual orientation and failure of the resident assistant to provide the necessary accommodations for his partner. The specifics of the case were a great source of amusement for all of the committee members, amusement they struggled to contain, as all complaints needed to be taken seriously.

“Okay, let’s send him in,” Chairperson Williams said.

In walked the most white-bread white boy she could imagine. He was skinny and wore glasses and his dress was completely nondescript. There was not a whiff of queerness about him. He could have been a younger version of those mission control guys at NASA in the 60’s with their pocket protectors who stole the credit for the achievements of African-American women like her. He was the embodiment of everything that was wrong with society; in particular, everything that was wrong with the old MIT. Williams’ amusement turned to anger as she was ready to dismiss the case at the outset.

“What seems to be the problem?” she said.

“I have been harassed by the campus police about my sexual orientation. I have had numerous assaults against me and my partner. You have failed to provide me with accommodations for her. She is staying outside; this is something no guest of anybody else at MIT is required to do. That by itself is blatant discrimination!”

“Why should we provide a high school student with accommodations for a partner, anyway? You are not even a student here, but a guest yourself.”

“Because it says in your literature you do. It makes no distinction between regular students and those on summer internships,” Sunshine replied.

“We have a 40 percent surcharge on dorm fees for any student who wants to bring a partner. You don’t have any dorm fees. You are staying for free,” the Chairperson said.

“And 40 percent of zero is still zero. I am paying exactly what your literature demands I pay to accommodate a partner. If you don’t do it for me, it’s age discrimination on top of it! My partner was not even allowed to accompany me to this meeting! Security detained her at the door.”

“Your partner is a cow,” said another committee member. “Could it even fit through the door?”

“It’s she!” Sunshine yelled back. “You’ve just misgendered her.”

Chairperson Williams said, “I am very close to the LGBTQ+ community. You are nothing like them and nothing they do involves cattle. You are a privileged white boy exploiting that community for your personal gain!”

Sunshine replied, “I am bovinosexual. That is how I identify. I am not obliged to educate you on these issues. You need to educate yourself. I identified as ‘queer’ on my application because that is the closest option. The fact you have no option for my particular orientation says more about your supposedly hallowed institution than it does me.”

“Well, it looks like your partner has had several instances of urinating and defecating on several faculty and students. In addition, her smell has caused many to avoid the bike rack to which you tied her. That is why the police got involved,” Williams said.

“Well, if she smells so bad, why do they taunt her? That’s why she gets incontinent. Neither of us has any obligation to accommodate their bovinophobia. It’s no different from you or me. What would you think about police harassing African-Americans because they ‘smelled bad’ and one of them accidentally wet her pants? Would that be acceptable?”

Chairperson Williams became visibly agitated. She was backed into a corner; there was no way out. Checkmate. She was about to start screaming and yelling when the administrative advisor to the committee, Dean Norman Schultz, intervened. “Chairperson Williams, may I have a word?”

The blood drained from her face as she called a recess and went into the dean’s office.

Sunshine turned around, and some of the committee took note of a small spot of light on the wall as he left.


“Give him what he wants,” the dean said.

“Why?” Williams replied.

“Because as you know, this institution lags behind Berkeley—as well as the entire Ivy League—in meeting our diversity goals. This will give us the early lead in this important diversity issue. More importantly, the Ninth Circuit Court ruled in 2025 that employers and educational institutions must provide reasonable accommodations for those of diverse sexual orientations, just like for the disabled. This school could be facing a real lawsuit otherwise,” Schultz said.

“I know what’s going on here. This is just one white boy looking out for another. You seemed so concerned for the diversity he can provide, but look at how few African-American women are in the administration. Why don’t we fix that first?” Williams replied.

“You know, you’re absolutely right,” the Dean said. “While I am just an advisor and I can’t make this decision for you, but if you rule in his favor, I can make sure you are rewarded for your services on this committee with an administrative position paying at least $500,000 per year.”

“That sounds great,” Williams replied.

Sunshine Andersen was given an entire hall to himself where he could keep his partner and the police had instructions not to harass her.


“Hey Sunshine,” said a non-binary born female named Twizzle also in the program. “Did you get that lecture on gyroscopic motion by that aerodynamics professor?”

“Yes, I did,” Sunshine replied. “You need to abandon what they taught you in high school physics and apply the principle of least action using the Euler-Lagrange equation, and then it’s easy. All the counterintuitive aspects, such as gyroscopic propulsion, become simple and comprehensible”

“Okay,” Twizzle said. “Can you show me?”

“I really don’t want to mansplain, but I will send you the information,” Sunshine replied.

After collecting the necessary documents into a .tar file, he sent them to Twizzle.

She looked at the equations for just a few moments and realized she was a bit out of her depth, but could not admit it because of her pride.

“I also have some models built in my dorm from equipment I purloined from the lab. I’ve got a system where projectiles are guided by gyroscopic motion, if you would like to check them out. We can compare the behavior of them with the predictions from the equations.”

“Cool. Where are they stashing you?”

“Across the street. I have a whole hall to myself,” Sunshine said.

“I guess your white male privilege comes in handy, huh?” Twizzle inquired.

“It’s for my partner.”

As they entered the floor, Twizzle was shocked to discover a cow in a pen, right next to the completed gyroscope apparatus.

“That’s your partner?” Twizzle inquired?

“Yes, I’m bovinosexual,” Sunshine replied.

“I identify as non-binary. I wanted to transition to a boy, but my hyper-religious parents would never allow it, so non-binary is the best I can do for now,” Twizzle said.

“That’s a bummer,” Sunshine replied. “I come from a progressive family that always respected my choices.”

“You’re lucky,” she said.

Twizzle was really excited to start playing with the gyroscopes. After turning on her computer and pretending to calculate the predictions using the software Sunshine gave her, she turned on one of the knobs of the Rube Goldberg apparatus, thinking it would not behave significantly differently than a simple projectile.

It did.

The object flew at an angle much lower and a speed much faster than she had anticipated. It hit the cow’s feeding trough, which fell on top of her left leg. The cow collapsed and made a noise like a screaming banshee. Her leg appeared to be broken.

“Oh! Dear me,” Sunshine said.


Dean Norman Schultz opened his email the next morning to discover an unpleasant surprise. He opened an email with the subject heading “You are hereby informed…” Its contents read:

Dear Dean Schultz:

My partner was injured in our dorm on June 18th of this year. Her leg was broken due to the unsafe conditions in the dorm, which were the result of a hasty improvisation to provide reasonable accommodations to a person of diverse sexual orientation. There is a witness who will testify to the truth about the unsafe conditions. Your negligence was ultimately the result of a discriminatory, hostile climate toward those of my specific sexual orientation. I have a recording of a meeting in which members of the very committee organized to address this type of bias made grossly discriminatory remarks on account of my orientation. You were present at this meeting. The losses and damaged I have accrued as a result of this incident continue to mount. Here is a summary of what they are:

Payment for vet…………………………………………………………………………$150,576


Loss of time in class……………………………………………………………………$2,576

Emotional damage from loss of intimacy……………………………………..$534,098

The details of how these numbers are calculated are in the documents of the .tar file enclosed. IF you would like to discuss this further, please arrange a meeting with me. My name and telephone are…

The dean began to bang his head on his desk until the receptionist knocked on the door to inquire what was the matter.


Sunshine was summoned to the dean’s office.

The dean was blunt. “Is there a point to these ridiculous shenanigans you are pulling? Is it just money you want and by chance you targeted this institution?”

“I am not ‘pulling’ anything. I need reasonable accommodations for my sexual orientation. Furthermore, I do not appreciate your bigoted remarks. As far as what I want goes, what I really want is the same thing everybody in my cohort wants. I want to go to MIT. You can make that happen. Because of the unique diversity I provide, I also think I deserve a scholarship. Don’t you?”

“You drive a hard bargain, kid, but we can arrange that.”


The next fall at MIT, there was a man named Sunshine about to embark on a promising career with the rest of his cohort. And somewhere in the world, there was a man eating a hamburger, unaware of the tragicomic backstory behind it.