Takeover Ad
Takeover Ad
17 March 2021

In 2015, Doctor Who aired an episode penned by Mark Gatiss called 'Sleep No More', which featured the very first transgender actor in the series' long history. The character of 474 was played perfectly by the very lovely Bethany Black and marked an incredibly poignant moment in TV history. It was important not only for including a transgender woman for the first time on British TV, but for the fact the show did it in a matter-of-fact, "so what?" style.

A couple of years prior to this, a friend of mine called me to tell me that they were in fact transgender, and as a matter of openness and honesty, felt they wanted me to know. I remember thinking at the time how brave this person was to choose to tell me, and what they must have been going through, not only in their own struggle, but also in the decision to include me in their news.

In 2018, Channel 4 aired a TV drama series called 'Butterfly', which focused on 11-year-old Maxine, who realises she is a transgender girl. The three-part series was an eye-opening window on what it means to be transgender and how it not only affects the individual, but those around them too. My heart literally sank at the thought of the struggles that so many brave boys, girls, men and women must be going through the world over. It had a profound affect on me and my own understanding, and I felt helpless not knowing what I could do to make some small difference.

Collectively, these three separate moments helped me to understand a much bigger picture that not only affects society as a whole, but much closer to home in Doctor Who fandom itself.

It became apparent that Doctor Who - this TV show we all have such a wonderful connection to - can also be a platform to highlight issues, themes and causes in our real world, whilst still delivering our weekly slice of SciFi. Since Jodie's casting as The Doctor (perhaps moreso than ever), racial discrimination, LGBT+ and environmental issues have been covered, and whilst a select few (namely a small pool of middle-aged white men) took issue of climate change being "thrown down their throat", the broader messages the show is teaching our children - and indeed us older fans - is incredibly powerful.

The fact the Doctor is now a woman (after 50 years of being a man) is, in a way, the best possible way of showing the TV-watching public the power of acceptance and change. Change, after all, is at the beating hearts of the show. Now I'm not suggesting the Doctor is transgender, but I am saying that whoever they become, like all the many incarnations prior, can just be accepted - no questions asked. Isn't that such a fantastic concept? Isn't it the best lesson for us all to take stock from? Be accepting of each other - understanding of each other, and, as Doctor Who fandom can be so brilliant at; supportive of each other.

Doctor Who's fandom in 2021 is wider and more diverse now than at any point over the past 58 years it has been on our screens. As many of you reading this will know, we have an active Twitter channel with a good number of followers and over the past few years, we have watched a number of transgender fans embrace their true selves. The love and support those fans have received from the Doctor Who community has been a testament to how amazing this fandom can be.

We at DWO are by no means experts on transgender issues, but we are in full support of this wonderful section of fandom, and whilst we are still learning and educating ourselves, please know that whoever you are or whoever you want to be, we and many others like us are here for you and that this is a safe space in fandom for you.

Sebastian J. Brook; Site Editor

Below are a few organisations providing help and support for the transgender community:

+  TransUnite: https://www.transunite.co.uk
+  Mermaids UK: https://mermaidsuk.org.uk
+  Glaad (USA): https://www.glaad.org/transgender/resources
+  National Center For Transgender Equality (USA): https://transequality.org

[Source: DWO]
 

RSS Feed
News Key
News Home
General
The New Series
The Classic Series
Spinoffs
Merchandise
Site
Blog Entries
Reviews Key
Reviews Home
Books / Magazines
DVD / Blu-ray
Audio
Toys / Other
TV Episodes
Search
Retro Tees