Short fiction is—and has been for decades—a place for writers to experiment, express themselves, push the boundaries of genre and contemporary ideas. Not too dissimilar to novels, then. Gender has not fared poorly in this field, with short fiction examining the idea of the binary and what could lie beyond it.
At the forefront of consciously boundary-pushing work is the 1998 short story and Tiptree Award winner “Congenital Agenesis of Gender Ideation by K.N. Sirsi and Sandra Botkin” by Raphael Carter (published in Starlight 2, ed. Patrick Nielsen Hayden; reprinted in The James Tiptree Award Anthology 2, ed. Fowler et al), a fictional academic article about a phenomenon observed in a small number of individuals: the apparent inability to correctly perceive gender. Instead, their inability is to discern concepts as non-specific as “male” and “female.”