Doctor Who is Trans

The Doctor is Trans.

Doctor Who is left wing- see the Evil Capitalists in Space plots, such as Oxygen, where air is discharged to preserve market value. But the first trans character was a satire. Lady Cassadra, the malevolent trampoline, had had hundreds of operations, the latest bleaching her blood so that veins did not show. I get it- lots of people find vaginoplasty or FFS repellent to imagine- but it is a vicious swipe at trans from a gay writer. And I might not have realised, until she said “When I was a little boy”.

Missy, however, explains The Master perfectly. He is trans, pre-transition. He wants to destroy things, he is so angry; he wants to control, in a horrid caricature of Manliness, and eventually he goes mad.

Then he transitions, and she is playful. This is the first time the character has shown joy. She dresses like a tranny with poor dress sense. She dresses in a particular style- cameo brooches were fashionable in 1996, wasn’t it? Those skirt suits with maxi skirts, the pussy-bows, the high collars, all very trans. I have worn suits like that. I still have a skirt like that. I like it, I wear it occasionally.

She is lonely, and wants her friend back. She despises human beings, thinking less of killing us than we would of killing a spider, but wants to be friends with the Doctor. Her first plan was to give him a present, an army of cybermen so he could “do good” all over the galaxy.

The broken, insane character transitions, and is still broken and insane, but slightly less violent. She might even become sane.

And now The Doctor will be female. This is a mature transition, the gentle, peaceful Doctor who will sacrifice self over and over again for friends, becomes a woman. She is beautiful and retains the deep sanity of the character. This is a transition for now, not the poor persecuted broken trans of the past but a trans person never broken by the world, fulfilled by transition, effortlessly herself.

Her first line when she sees her reflection is “Oh Brilliant!”

In Demons of the Punjab, she acknowledges the change. Yaz’s grandmother is going to get married, and the night before:

Umbreen: So, come on. Women with me and Mum, men over at Prem’s house.

The Doctor looks quizzically at Yaz, who nods. They get their hands henna painted.

Doctor: This is the best thing ever! Never did this when I was a man.
Yaz (warningly) Doctor. You and your jokes.
Doctor: Yes. That’s right. My references to body and gender regeneration are always in jest. Such a comedian.

Then they change the subject.

7 thoughts on “Doctor Who is Trans

    • I don’t know. We were a conservative lot in 1966. I think it changes the dynamic quite a bit even now. There is a great deal of whingeing on comment threads. And when Mr Chibnall was non-commital about whether the Doctor could be female, what he said-“Nothing is ruled out but I don’t want the casting to be a gimmick and that’s all I can say”– was interpreted as a clear no. So it’s a big thing, and all the better for that.


  1. I’m so old I watched Dr Who with the very first Doctor and in a way I’ve seen every transition mirror /us/ in some, unconscious way. Missy got us used to the idea that changing gender was possible. This is simply a reflection of our times. Or perhaps it’s a reflection of the fact that skin colour and gender are never as important as the person inside. I can hardly wait.


    • I started watching no.3 in the early 70s. Like Robin Hood and King Arthur’s knights, the Doctor is the Hero who when all seems lost swoops in from nowhere to save the day. Stephen Moffatt says he and Sherlock might be as long lived, as myths. Now, that mysterious and powerful Rescuer can be a woman. But I love the idea of them transitioning, like trans folk.


      • My favourite was Tom Baker – no. 4. 🙂
        And yes, the Doctor is an archetypal hero in some ways, and an anti-hero in others. Isn’t it already one of the longest running TV series of all time?


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