Transgender horses, the Doctor, and real names

Moffat-era Doctor Who gets a lot wrong about gender. “Susan the horse” in “A Town Called Mercy” is a great example of how badly it’s handled as a matter of course–let’s deliberately raise the existence of trans* people so that we can make a joke about how funny it is that they exist! While also suggesting that it’s a choice! (This Tumblr post covers it much better than I ever could.)

But very rarely, it gets something right. Susan’s chosen a name for herself, and it tells you quite a bit about her (which the Doctor deliberately ignores in calling her “him.”) That becomes important in “The Name of the Doctor”: “The name I chose is the Doctor. The name you choose, it’s like, it’s like a promise you make.”

A person’s real name is always the name they choose to be known by. Just because most people default to the name their parents picked doesn’t make that their real name. Just because the government may insist they use a particular name on forms doesn’t make that their real name. A person’s real name is the one they introduce themselves with.

0 thoughts on “Transgender horses, the Doctor, and real names

  1. I don't usually respond to posts like this…but is Moffat Era Who actually worse than any other era? I just see this attributed to him a fair bit, and I can't actually bring to mind any other era of the show that handles it any more deftly.

    Other than that, I agree completely.

  2. Is it worse than any other era in an absolute sense? Probably not. Relative to the rest of society, however, it's falling behind. Society is (slowly and unevenly) improving on these issues; Who by and large is not.

    Also, Moffat-era who talks about gender more than past eras, so it stands out more how often it's wrong.

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