Category Archives: Science Wibbly

The queer connection: Trans identity and the Doctor.


NOTE: This is a transgender-related entry. If you are confused by any of the terms used here, check out Ronen’s Trans Glossary.

Much has been made of the radical amount of queerness (radical by television standards, anyway) displayed by the program Doctor Who and its spin-off, Torchwood. Much of it today is thanks to the man who rebooted the show itself back in 2005, Russell T. Davies. RTD, a gay man himself, thought (logically) that in the future queerness would be even more tolerated than it is today and slipped all kinds of “throw-away” lines into the episodes he wrote. Like in the episode Midnight, where a woman talking bitterly about her ex rattles off “she needed her own space” without even a whiff of taboo. Or in that same episode, where the attendant on the bus tour keeps addressing the passengers as “Ladies, gentlemen and variations thereupon.” Some folks might have heard that and thought it was a joke, but for me? It was a nod to a future where my identity isn’t just accepted, it’s taken as a matter of course.

(That episode, by the way, is one of my favorites for reasons far beyond its queeritude. It’s also creepy as hell. Watch but beware.)

Anyway, like I said, much has been made of the Whoniverse’s general queerness, even going way further back than RTD’s involvement, but I wanted to focus in on a very specific aspect: the part where the character of the Doctor himself is analogous to a trans person.

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