Monday, 8 October 2018

What the 13th Doctor means to me...

So I’ve been meaning to write a short blogpost about what it means as a trans person to see the Doctor change sex and gender. I mean it’s been on the cards for some time now with the Mistress/Master leading to the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. My first reaction upon learning this months ago was “hey the Doctor is going to go through the same thing I’m kinda going through”.

As a quick aside it’s worth noting that I am not going to say the Doctor is trans, they’re not they are cisgender. Why? Well we’re talking about aliens here and I’ve got an entire set of blogposts that I need to write about gender and sci-fi but for Timelords we have to treat the fact that a regeneration is like a rebirth (based on this talk here: So while for cisgender humans their sex assigned at birth and gender align, the equivalent for Timelords is that their sex at regeneration and their gender align. This does of course reinforce the idea that sex and gender are both binary which they’re not, for humans at least, but anyway this is the topic for another blogpost not this one, also there are probably intersex regenerations but if it’s a rate of 1% as for humans then we probably have seen enough Timelord characters to know.

a few friends used to jokingly say I did remind people of the 10th Doctor and I may be listened to them too closely, also it was a time when I was still male. But then when the 10th Doctor left it was around the time of my move to New Zealand and that’s when I really began to change and come to understand myself. This has lead me to my journey reaching a moment of me moving over to being more female. It’s a funny coincidence for me to see a character I associate with so strongly reflect my own change.

It’s worth noting that I’m a theoretical astrophysicist which is as close to being a Timelord as possible on Earth. I mean there is the understanding the Universe from one side to the other and running around showing young people the wonders it contains (i.e. lecture undergraduates and teach project students). (Un)fortunately there is a lot less running and no daleks or cybermen.

To not give away any spoilers, the Doctor is still the Doctor. There is that regeneration confusion when she’s still working out who she is but then the moment everything clicks it is as clear as day and I can’t wait to watch more. There is one quote though that I need to share when the Doctor explains her regeneration to her new companions, there are so many aspects of the description that parallel experiences of trans people:

Doctor: “You should have seen me a few hours ago. My whole body’s changed. Every cell in my body burning. Some of them are still at it now, reordering, regenerating”.

Grace: “Sounds painful love.”

Doctor: “You have no idea… there is this moment when you’re sure you’re about to die and then... you’re born, it’s terrifying. Right now I’m a stranger to myself, the’s echos of who I was, and a sort of call towards who I am and I have to hold my nerve and trust all these new instincts, shape myself towards them. I’ll be fine. In the end… hopefully… but I have to be cos you guys need help and if there’s one thing I’m certain of, when people need help I never refuse. Right! This is going to be fun.

Trans people when they transition in some ways do die, that’s why previous names are referred to as “deadnames”. We have to become reborn but then we have our previous lives still with us and we do have to move forwards and reinvent ourselves. There is so much to unlearn, so many habits we have to break that we've had to fit in and go undiscovered. To move forwards and reinvent ourselves we really have to trust instincts and thoughts that for so long we have suppressed to become the person we are.

Also personally I think the wanting to help people in trouble is what the Doctor is all about and it’s one of the things I like most.

So for me at least, and may be other transgender people seeing this change and seeing a popular character go through similar changes to us inspires us a little, who knows, to me at least it’s a big deal.
Anyway personally it’s strange to see past photos of me and remember times from so long ago. I don't hate them and there are aspects of my oldself that I hate but there is a lot I love about my oldself too. Now though I still don’t know where I’m going or who I’m going to be. I really hope it’ll be okay in the end.

Right, time to get on, think I’ll leave you with two last quotes, “Allons-y!” and I just hope my adventure is going to be “Brilliant!”
(And yes sorry this was a rush job but was just toooooooo excited).

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Just wow, my friend. Can't wait to see the new series here in the land of Aus.