Doctor who and gender

thought it might be fun to talk about gender as it relates to doctor who, especially considering our protagonist can change their whole body!

i always think the doctor’s relationship to gender as someone coming from outside earth is interesting. i always figure they don’t think too hard about what gender they are and just go with whatever people assume/say about them–do you agree? other thoughts?

interested in this particularly as a gender nonconforming person myself and from a transgender perspective but of course open to discussing with anybody!

going to tag @st4rshiptr00per because your reply in my intro thread is what prompted this <3

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Well, for all the trouble with Chibnall, we got this scene:

I do like the Doctor going from come to daddy to come to mommy in an instant, and in the previous episode nonchalantly saying “Sorry, half an hour ago I was a white-haired Scotsman.”.

Over in Classic, now, we got this lovely sequence:

“You’re a beautiful woman, probably.” is a great line with all sorts of implications.

Actually, one of the big differences that does bug me about classic who vs new who is that in classic, the doctor could easily be seen as asexual, and then in new who, they started right in with a Doctor/Rose relationship…

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i think starting new who with a relationship for a previously unromantic/unsexual character is a pretty deliberate choice from rtd, who is clearly trying to shake things up a bit. but i started with s1 of new who and got attached to rose (and her relationship to the doctor) so even if i’m watching eras where the doctor doesn’t have that kind of relationship i’m always seeing them as someone who theoretically could. which i know not everyone does!

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It’s not entirely RTD, too, because the Doctor Who movie in between classic and new Who started the whole bit of having romantic relationships with companions. And the Doctor and Jo Grant is arguable.

(And I’m also liable to ship the Doctor/Roger Delgado’s Master, and the Doctor/Jamie in classic. My opinions can vary a fair amount sometimes…)

I am coming from the opposite direction on Doctor Who, though, in that I was fairly familiar with classic before I ever saw new Who, so not having that be the initial status quo for me affects things.

Could always use a bit more ace representation, too. The Owl House had some with Lilith, but didn’t actually show it on tv, but rather in a letter her actress read off from Lilith at a charity thing. I count it, but…

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ah yeah i haven’t seen the eight movie in ages, and when i did watch it i think i was taking a final at the same time (asynchronous, open book, it was spring of 2020). so i’m due a rewatch!

honestly i find that the doctor resonates really heavily with me as a lesbian (or i guess gay person more generally) so although i understand why people consider them to be asexual and don’t necessarily disagree, it’s not really the interpretation i go for. but again that’s really influenced by watching s1 and 2 of new who first!

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Admittedly, it’s been a good while since the movie for me, too, though I’ve probably seen 7 gunned down several times since then.

Given that the Doctor’s personality changes a lot between regenerations, it’s possible their sexual orientation may change as well. It’d also be reasonable to go with the Doctor being demisexual, rarely falling in love, and gender not mattering when they do…

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i am soooo obsessed with the gender stuff that the doctors have going on. as a preface: im mainly interested in the Classic doctors and i think the way gender is expressed with them is fascinating so thats mainly what im gonna be talking about lol.

each of the doctors are so into the particular aesthetic they have, and indulge in their own very particular sort of gender performance (and it is SUCH a performance) so much. in my mind they’re not exactly a man, but they clearly deeply enjoy the performance of being… a very specific type of man, a different one every lifetime. the doctor absolutely gets gender euphoria when they first find their outfit and figure out who they are after regeneration lol those scenes always hit so close to home for me…

they also tend toward pretty old-timey personas, and types of masculinity that are basically extinct in the modern day. you get all these scenes (mainly, i think, in more recent stories with the classic doctors) where contemporary-era people boggle at them or just straight up take them to be queer. and this is so neat to me cuz, like, Six for example is in fact pretty masculine, just not in a way that is recognized by modern Western standards, which tend to be very narrow and extreme. this is something that really speaks to me as a masc queer person and ime a lot of other masc queers. me and a lot of other people ive known get fixated on these extinct forms of gender norms because they let you be simultaneously inside and outside of the norm. you can be totally masc by one periods standards and totally effeminate by another and it is so much fun.

and while i feel that they enjoy the Act of Behaving As A Man, i also am absolutely obsessed with any instance of them being described as ‘looking like but not being a man’, regardless of the context. i think that sort of phrasing is usually used re: them not being human but its very particular wording regardless of intent and it delights me lol. theres something to be said for it either way… the doctor is always an outsider and it so colors their experience in the world and how much joy they get out of finding what feels like The Right Place for them, and it is so relatable. i love that freak dearly. ← paragraphs written by a guy who is falling asleep a little and didnt know how to end this

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might have more to say about this tomorrow but for now i’ll just say this checks out and i totally need to see more classic!

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deeply love this analysis, as another queer fan who is primarily into Classic shit :star_struck:

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i gotta start a thread for every instance of somebody saying something Gendery about the doctor tbh they are all so dear to me. and i feel the need to expose more people to the doctor being explicitly stated as nonbinary in some of the EDAs

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As someone who’s own gender, sexuality and romanticism are a big, nebulous, constantly changing thing, I like this think the Doctor is like that too. Especially with every regeneration being so different. I generally love having like five different mutually exclusive queer headcanons for a character, though, so the Doctor isn’t special in that regard.

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have you listened to doctor who: redacted? it’s thirteen-era but it’s genuinely good. and in the last episode of s1 the transfem protagonist meets thirteen and finds out about her past bodies and it’s a nice moment.

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Asexual doesn’t necessarily mean aromantic though

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i havent!!! i gotta check that out omggg

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it’s so good!! honestly the type of thing i wished we had gotten onscreen.

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Also for extra incentive, there’s a funky lil badge you can get for rating all of them on tardis guide!

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It’s the moments like this I LOVE. It feels like theres other quotes on the tip of my toungue but it is these short descriptions and quotes that are endlessly fascinating and say so much about the Doctor as a being.
Also loving that mini essay from @st4rshiptr00per , the Doctor foes seem to commit to various gender performances across their lives and I’d never really thought so much on it but it’ll definitely be going around my head for the next few days at least.

I would love if at somepoint we could have a more non-binary Time Lord incarnation. It’s so common for us as humans, surely there must be some Gallifreyans out there too? I don’t believe it’s really been explored in any media yet but hope I’m wrong!
2014 was long before I got to explore my own gender identity and so was more caught up in not liking Missy as a female Master, but I think its wonderful how integrated regenerating into different genders has become in the Whoniverse since then. Time Lords do seem to stick to a primary gender throughout lives, the Doctor, Master, Monk being male, Romana, the General being female ect though this is probably more just a case of how things have been cause of the real world, I imagine by a couple of decades time we will have seen much more gender balanced Time Lords out there.

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i think you’re probably right about this, but the real-world stuff definitely makes for some interesting characters and lore.

i always think it’s interesting how whatever gender the master is, they’re campy and dramatic about it–and whatever gender the doctor is, they’re also pretty consistent about how they engage with it. and that’s after being written by countless different people, too…

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yet another reason i love Missy so much. she ended up a woman and immediately went “im going to be the BEST evil woman ever”. fully committed to the opportunity she was given, and clearly enjoys every minute of it. if you’re someone who enjoys being a woman, and also being evil, it’s hard to imagine coming up with a better presentation of the two concepts than Sick And Twisted Mary Poppins.

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