In the best traditions of Star Trek, STRANGE NEW WORLDS uses metaphor to spotlight TRANSGENDER phobias and prejudices in OUR society… (editorial review)


Star Trek has never shied away from holding a mirror up to the more controversial aspects of modern (20th and 21st century) culture through the “safe lens” of viewing a future, or an alien society, with surprisingly similar challenges. In fact, this was one of the main goals that GENE RODDENBERRY had in mind when he was first pitching his “Wagon Train to the Stars” concept to the networks.

Indeed, as most of us know, the original Star Trek series tackled some of the biggest issues of the 1960s: prejudice and discrimination (“Let That Be Your Last Battlefield“), the Vietnam War (“A Private Little War“), overpopulation (“The Mark of Gideon“, women’s struggles for equality with men (“Turnabout Intruder“), and a growing paranoia that computers could replace people (“The Ultimate Computer“)…to name just a few!

In the 1980s and 1990s, Star Trek continued to advance a mostly left-leaning political message with movies and episodes spotlighting homophobia (TNG‘s “The Outcast“), environmentalism (TNG‘s “Force of Nature” and of course, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), labor rights (Voyager‘s “Workforce“), government-sponsored torture (TNG‘s “Chain of Command“), homelessness (DS9’s “Past Tense“), white supremacism (Enterprise‘s “Terra Prime“/”Demons“), and even the prophetic dangers of overreaction to a foreign terrorist attack on our own soil (DS9‘s “Homefront” and “Paradise Lost,” which eerily predicted the September 11 attacks and subsequent curtailment of freedoms half a decade before 2001!). And again, the list could go on and on.

Star Trek has also charted its course by embracing all variety of dramatic presentation: action/adventure, mystery, romance, suspense, comedy, tragedy, etc. And one of those many genres was the legal procedural, usually with the message being delivered most effectively and dramatically within some kind of courtroom. In TOS’ “Court Martial,” the message was to beware of computers presenting false-but-believable information (a concern rearing its head right now in 2023 rather than 2267!). In TNG‘s “The Drumhead,” a trial quickly turned into a witch hunt, demonstrating how paranoia could quickly spread fear in the name of righteousness. TNG‘s “The Measure of a Man” and Voyager‘s “Author, Author” deal with rights being taken away from certain individuals for very arbitrary reasons. Lest you think this applies only to androids and holograms, consider that several states permanently remove the right to vote from any convicted felon, even after they have served their time in prison. And DS9‘s “Tribunal” showed how the government can turn a trial into political theater in order to advance state propaganda.

And so we finally come to the second episode of STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS season 2: “Ad Astra per Aspera” (“To the Stars Through Hardship”), a courtroom drama with a definite message. And it’s that message that I plan to discuss in today’s blog. So if you have fear and hatred in your heart for transgender people, you probably want to stop reading now—although I really hope you won’t…

There’s no question that this was a stand-out episode in terms of acting, writing, directing, dramatic presentation, editing, music, etc., etc., etc. There’s no reason to review it for quality—if you didn’t like it or weren’t mesmerized by it, we probably weren’t watching the same episode with the same mindset. And that’s fine. But I’m not gonna waste time analyzing what was probably one of the single strongest Star Trek episodes of any series from the new CBS era.

Instead, I am going to do what episodes like this are intended to do: get people talking. After all, societal changes don’t come when everyone just stays quiet and sits on their hands. So I intend to use this episode to discuss a VERY hot-button issue at the moment that was quite obviously the true target of this episode’s metaphor. No, it was not prejudice against genetically engineered lifeforms—although as the Dr. Bashir character arc in later DS9 seasons so adequately proved (and also Dal R’El in the just-canceled STAR TREK: PRODIGY), a century passed after this episode without the Federation losing its irrational fear of any genetic modifications to anyone.

No, the issue I will be discussing is the rampant and rapidly-spreading fear and loathing of transgender and similarly gender-fluid individuals in this country. Yes, one could argue that the struggles of the Illyrians represent any number of past persecutions of marginalized minorities: the Jews in Nazi-controlled Europe, Blacks in the Jim Crow South, Native Americans forcibly relocated to reservations and made to assimilate into white culture, Japanese interred during World War II, Muslim travel bans instituted during the previous presidential administration, and even the oppression of Blacks in South Africa under Apartheid.

And sadly, all of those allegories are appropriate, as well. It’s very disturbing how often we humans fall into the same familiar patterns of bullying and persecution over and over and over again. But let’s face it, despite all of the above examples, the writers were obviously highlighting the spreading waves of transphobia sweeping across America in the last year or two. And even if this wasn’t the writers’ primary target (it was), I am still going to discuss the issue because it is so important to understand both what is going on and what is really going on.

It wasn’t too long ago that gays were the boogeymen (and boogeywomen) of conservative politicians aggressively seeking election and reelection in America. Do you remember all those impassioned pleas to save the children…since homosexuals were obviously all pedophiles, as well as being gay? Then there were the terrifying prognostications of societal breakdown that were hysterically shouted at roaring crowds as “red” states rushed to amend their constitutions to define marriage as between one man and one women. Anti-gay legislation always included words like “protection” and defense”(such as the Defense of Marriage Act)—as if homosexuality were some kind of monster to be fought or a powerful enemy threatening a full-scale invasion.

Then, on June 26, 2015 (hey, tomorrow is the 8th anniversary!), the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalized it in all fifty states, and required states to honor out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses in the case Obergefell v. Hodges. And suddenly, with gay marriage now legal, society DIDN’T collapse. No one married their dog or goat. And all of those politicians campaigning on “protecting” and “defending” the innocent now needed something (or more accurately, some group) to become the new boogeyman. Gays were now accepted—so who could become the new gays?

It took a few years for conservatives to unveil the threat of “trans” people, but seemingly overnight, they became the preeminent danger to American society—at least (once again) in “red” states. Republican-dominated legislatures and governors in states beset by poverty, failing schools, toxic pollutants running into local water supplies, insufficient access to quality healthcare and other basic services for millions of citizens, and failing electrical grids and crumbling infrastructure…these states moved at warp speed to pass laws protecting bathrooms and making sure a dozen or so trans students in their states couldn’t compete in sports. (Your tax dollars hard at work, America! Be proud.)

But it wasn’t just the ridiculous bathroom bills that were being passed. Legislatures were going further to ban gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth in their states. Perhaps appropriately, just two days before this latest episode premiered on Paramount+, one of those bans—the preposterously named “Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act” (as if trans teens are some kind of lab rat!) that recently passed in the state of Arkansas (then-governor ASA HUTCHINSON initially vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode him), was struck down by U.S. District Judge JAY MOODY. In his 80-page order, Moody acknowledged some risks in the treatment, but concluded that the evidence”…showed that the prohibited medical care improves the mental health and well-being of patients and that, by prohibiting it, the state undermined the interests it claims to be advancing.”

This is only the first anti-trans law to be challenged in court and thrown out, and of course, Arkansas will appeal to higher courts (likely all the way up to the Supreme Court). And there are similar cases currently working their way through the courts in Alabama and Tennessee. So this is far from over. Meanwhile, anti-drag show laws are also being challenged on First Amendment grounds, and some (possibly all) are likely headed for the Supreme Court, as well…just like the anti-gay laws did barely a decade ago. Same old political playbook, new boogeyman. Trans is the new gay, folks.

But are trans people really a threat?

There used to be an insane and inane claim by some anti-gay bigots that homosexuals were somehow trying to recruit others. “My son’s homosexual teacher is trying to turn my kid gay!” and nonsense like that. Today, those same arguments have resulted in the (in)famous “Don’t Say Gay” law (officially known as the Parental Rights in Education law) in Florida that bans all lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from being taught in grades K to 12. The argument made by many on the right and ultra-right is that teachers are trying to somehow “indoctrinate” children into some kind of pro-transgender mindset so that they, too, will want to transition to the gender opposite the one they were born with.

But in this, there is perhaps the greatest misunderstanding…probably because the causes of Gender Dysphoria (difficulty in identifying with one’s biological sex) are not completely clear at the moment. It used to be diagnosed as a psychiatric condition and/or mental ailment of the brain. But more recent research is leading to a very different origin…going back to fetal development in the womb itself. Imagine if discrimination against transgender people became the equivalent of discrimination against people with disabilities like blindness or deafness. But this may, in fact, be the case!

In case you weren’t aware, everyone is conceived first as a female. It’s true! Although biological males inherit an X-chromosome from their mother and a Y-chromosome from their father, while biological females have an X-chromosome from both parents (no need to discuss XXY and XYY disorders), all zygotes begin with only their X-chromosome active. It isn’t until about eight weeks into the pregnancy that the Y-chromosome, if there is one, activates and a surge of testosterone and other male hormones lead to development of male characteristics, such as testes. If there isn’t a Y-chromosome, then the two X’s just keep things developing along the female pathway with female hormones and female sex organs.

But here’s where “stuff” can happen.

Occasionally, additional female hormones can enter the womb, either naturally or because the pregnant woman is taking extra hormones during pregnancy to help with metabolic imbalances. This can have an affect on the fetus during the development of its own hormones and sex organs. A fetus on the way to becoming male might be “interrupted” and suddenly have female hormones become dominant, even after male sex organs appear.

Indeed, this happened to a friend of mine named Tom (not his real name), who was born in the early 1950s with only a single testicle. He still had a penis, so he was raised a male. But Tom never felt like a male, even though he got married to a wonderful woman in the 1970s and eventually became a very successful intellectual property attorney (even working for NASA at one point—major Trekkie, by the way!—and later in his career, actually arguing a case before the Supreme Court).

Tortured by a constant feeling of being a woman trapped inside a man’s body, Tom was officially diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria in college, although in 1972, there was no course of treatment. “I can tell you what you have,” the school psychologist informed him, “but I have no suggestions on how to deal with it.” During the 1980s, living in Redlands, CA (a pretty conservative community), Tom created a female persona named Grace (again, not her real name) and taught an aerobics class at a local gym. She’d arrive already dressed with a little bit of makeup and a wig, speak in a falsetto, and no one ever questioned her gender. The single testicle bordered a very small penis, which were both easily hidden. Tom’s wife was aware of this masquerade and, while not entirely understanding her husband’s unusual need, she was still supportive. Throughout the decade, this was Tom’s only way to experience and express his/her inner womanhood, but it wasn’t enough.

In the late 1990s, Tom met a psychologist who specialized in Gender Dysphoria and transitioning. By this point, there was indeed a course of treatment, along with proper diagnosis and counseling. Tom went through a two-year process of transitioning into a woman. It was NOT easy, nor was it cheap. Fourteen different surgeries were required, including the shaving away of the Adam’s apple and (and I could hardly believe this myself) realigning the hairline from a more squarish male to a more rounded female curve. This particular procedure required 24 staples in Tom’s scalp(!!!) for several months, during which time he was unable to sleep on his side, only on his back…as those staples hurt when pushed on even slightly.

At this point, I need to stop using Tom and “he.” An early part of the transition requires the person to live several months as the new person in the new gender. Tom became Grace, began taking testosterone blockers, grew rather decent sized breasts (Grace’s mother was an E-cup, and Grace quickly became a D, much to the frustration of Tom’s somewhat flat-chested wife!), and began wearing women’s clothing, make-up, and jewelry. She had to explain to the board of directors at the Fortune 500 company where she worked in San Francisco that she would still continue in her capacity as their general counsel, but requested that they and the employees now call her Grace and refer to her with feminine pronouns.

She was quickly pressured into resigning, and offered a generous severance package (that ended up paying for many of the surgeries) after one of the board members publicly rebuked her and called her “an abomination before God.” (Nothing like giving a lawyer an open-and-shut wrongful termination cause of action!)

Meanwhile, Grace’s conservative and religious mother back in Georgia literally disowned her (out of her will completely), and most of the siblings also cut ties. Ultimately, Grace got a divorce from her wife, even though the marriage was still considered legal. It was simply too awkward for both of them, especially the wife. They remained friends, but a 25-year marriage came to an end…along with a high-paying and prestigious job, many friendships, and family ties.

Folks, it’s not only illogical but outright RIDICULOUS to think that ANYONE would choose to endure all of this pain and misery, and spend so much money, just to win a sporting event or sneak into the women’s bathroom!!

So why did Grace go through all of this trouble and hardship? She told me shortly after she transitioned that I should imagine myself standing, constantly day and night, for 47 years…and suddenly someone comes over and says, “Here’s a chair. Would you like to sit down?” And that was how I came to understand my friend just a little better.

But here’s the real kicker that’s gonna stick with most of you more than any other part of this story…even the hard-core anti-trans people who are still reading this (yes, both of you!).

One of the final surgeries was the one that most people associate with transitioning from male to female. And when X-raying that area of the body to prepare for where to do what, the doctors made a startling discovery inside of Grace’s abdomen: an ovary! Yes, this person born with a penis and one testicle also had one ovary which, of course, no one had ever seen or even suspected until the X-ray.

Talk about a woman trapped inside a man’s body!

And after the surgery, for the first time in Grace’s 47-year life, she got her period! I kid you not!!! Ultimately, she was on a three month cycle, and probably just as sterile as when she was male (although she never tried to find out). But if you ever needed proof that Gender Dysphoria, at least in some cases, is something that happens way back in the womb and inside the person’s entire body and not just in the brain, this is it.

I’m not going to pretend this is even close to my typical Star Trek review. But as I watched the episode, I thought over and over again about how quickly trans people have been targeted by conservative politicians and religious zealots as the new object of ridicule, suspicion, and scorn…just like gays, and before them Muslims, Jews, Latinos, Blacks, Japanese, Irish, Native Americans, and the list goes back shamelessly long. It seems we always have someone to pick on, humiliate, and attack.

Hate crimes against the entire LGBTQIA+ community are rising across America at an alarming rate right now, fueled by unscrupulous hate-mongers who decided that their easiest path to power and influence is to create an enemy and make it seem terrifying, a threat that must be stopped by the righteous. And of course, there’s always a very good reason (usually to protect the children).

And the point of this hard-hitting episode of SNW was to show that even a society as noble and inspiring as the United Federation of Planets can still be wrong about something. As Una’s lawyer Neera pointed out in her opening statement, “Slavery was once legal. Apartheid was legal. Discrimination against people for how they worshipped, how they loved, their gender, color of their skin, all legal at one time or another. A law does not make something just.”

A good and effective Star Trek episode offers viewers a unique opportunity to view themselves through a mirror. But it remains simply an opportunity until we take it, as I am doing with this blog. If we choose NOT to look at ourselves, even if it is through a mirror darkly, then we completely miss that opportunity, and injustice is allowed another day to thrive and expand.

Transgender people might eventually follow the social path that gay people trod before them, ultimately being granted protections, equality, and some modicum of respect. But then those same unscrupulous people will begin searching for the next person or group to target with their rage and hatred.

Pray that it isn’t you.

16 thoughts on “In the best traditions of Star Trek, STRANGE NEW WORLDS uses metaphor to spotlight TRANSGENDER phobias and prejudices in OUR society… (editorial review)”

  1. I can see how some would choose to interpret this episode in that way. I think Number One’s testimony in ST:SNW S2E2 could as easily be interpreted as a far-future transposition of the experience of German Jews in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Even before they started being hauled off to concentration camps, life became increasingly difficult for Jews in Germany from 1933 on, even for those who had been very patriotic Germans before or who had WW1 vets in the family.

    1. True, but while there is a growing rise in antisemitic violence also going on right now, my suspicion is that the writers were not trying to make a point about Jews in Germany…especially since this was an episode about an unjust law intended to penalize a group on biological, not religious, grounds. The flurry of anti-transgender laws being rushed into the books over the past year makes me confident about what I believe the writers were trying to spotlight.

  2. I’m reading some good science fiction now (House of Suns, by Alastair Reynolds) so I haven’t taken time to watch PARA Plus in a while.
    Does SNW touch on detransitioners in this imagined future? I guess an advanced med tech could reverse surgical procedures on minors or adults relatively easily. Presumably there would still be the question of psychological care if someone, particularly a young person. later decided that they had made a mistake in their sense of themselves.
    I’m not well read on the medical science of this topic but I get the impression that reversing gender transition med treatment in the real world, i.e. now, is not easy.

    1. The episode used metaphor, C.W., so Una’s people weren’t transitioning from male to female or vice-versa. They were being genetically modified in order to survive in their environment (rather than terraforming the planet, they terraformed themselves). A first season episode of SNW dealt with some Illyrians trying to reverse their genetic modifications (in order to be accepted as Federation citizens) and, because of the procedure, inadvertently making themselves vulnerable to a fatal virus.

      In the real world, trans people CAN reverse the procedure. In fact, most trans people need to take regular hormone injections to correct their own imbalances (see the above blog). Do simply stopping those injections does a lot. Regular electrolysis is no longer needed for removing facial hair, so they can just go back to shaving (assuming they transitioned male to female.) Cosmetic changes can also be reversed by similar surgeries to what the originally had, even to the point of rebuilding the penis. (Without going into too much gory detail, the process of “removing” the sex organ isn’t a cut across but rather up and down. During the surgery, the penis gets inverted into a vaginal canal, allowing the person to maintain sexual stimulation in the area. So reversing that procedure isn’t particularly complicated…you just turn an “innie” back into an “outie.”) 🙂

      All that said, from what I am told by several of my friends in the trans community, such reversals rarely, if ever, happen. Remember that the person lives entirely as the other gender for months or even a year or more before the surgeries happen. That’s enough time to know whether this was a mistake or instead the correction of a birth defect that results in the person feeling whole for the first time. No trans friend that I know (and I have many, including my wife’s adult godson–now goddaughter–and the son–now daughter–of a couple we’ve been friends with for 20 years and whom we watched grow up) has ever regretted the transition procedure. All are much happier and feel more complete now that they have become what their minds and bodies always knew that they were.

      Talk to your own trans friends and see what they have to tell you. I’m guessing it will be similar.

      1. I think I may have briefly spoken once to a transgender person, at the takeout window of Zaxby’s in Sanford NC (polite chatter over ordering a salad and a Pepsi). Otherwise, I don’t know of a single trans person in my circle of associates from Carthage to Cameron to Sanford. Could this be more of an urban phenomenon for some reason? For sure, my lived social world is rural Red NC. Southern Pines NC (home to more urban Blue liberal “Yankees”) probably is different. But I don’t play golf and drink wine in their world and they don’t visit my farm and mow pigweeds with a tractor in mine. I guess the sum of our disparate worlds makes NC a “purple” state.

        1. Oh, NC is definitely turning purple. The industrial triangle is luring in a lot of college-educated liberals, and once you give ’em book-learnin’, watch out! They’ve been totally indoctrinated! 🙂

          But it’s true that a lot of the current anti-trans sentiment is coming from rural America…and probably because people in urban and suburban areas have the ability and opportunity to interact with a wider diversity of people. It’s harder to shun other cultures and ideologies when you have so much repeated exposure to them. It’s easier to see “they” as a scary threat when you don’t know “them” personally.

          And honestly, I don’t really know how to solve that problem other than to write a blog like this one. If you don’t know any trans people personally and I do, maybe I can help introduce them to you and explain them a little better so you can create a more informed opinion rather than simply having it fed to you by others who don’t know any trans people personally either. I’m not saying you have to embrace them all and invite them to stay in your house. But at least learn a little more about them, which you seem open to doing, C.W…and I applaud you for that.

  3. To me the story was not just about trans people but about bigotry in all its forms. Some notes:

    “There used to be an insane and inane claim by some anti-gay bigots that homosexuals were somehow trying to recruit others. ” Sadly that’s still the case and now it’s called “grooming”.

    And prejudice of all sorts is still in evidence including racism and religious bigotry. Recently in the town next to me the city council had an open phone for people to ask questions etc. Low lifes took advantage of that to spew anti-Semitic hatred.

    Sometimes the best response to this kind of sewage is to hold up a positive alternative and this episode did that in spades. The theme “Ad Astra per Aspera” has been a favorite motto of mine for a long time. The plot was, ah, very logically presented. The denouement was extremely well written and acted. And it also brought the issue of asylum, another contentious topic, to the fore as well.

    One final note about your review: Your illustration of someone who is intersex falsifies the claim that there are only males and females. But some find it convenient to ignore the truth of such people as they ignore the truth that many many species have same-sex couples from insects through mammals.

    1. The thing about gender, in my opinion, is that it’s kind of like hair color. Is someone blonde, brunette, or dirty blonde, or light brunette? To force people into conforming to only one or the other is to deny the beauty and wonder that true diversity has to offer all of us.

      Back when I was studying psychology at Cornell a million years ago, there was beginning to be a transition in the way that gender psychology was being measured. It used to be a scale of masculinity to femininity was measured, with the center being a form of androgyny. Women who were tomboys were seen as leaning more to the masculine side of the scale. Feminine and gay men more towards the female side. Very girly girls and manly men were more to the two extremes.

      One of my professors was developing and introducing, at the time, a new measurement that included two sliding scales. Instead of ultra-male to ultra female, one scale ranged from genderless to ultra-masculine, and the other from genderless to ultra-feminine, and each person was measured on BOTH scales. My girlfriend at the time actually measured very high on both femininity AND masculinity (in fact, a tick higher on the latter!). She was gorgeous (she was a nude model for drawing classes…and no, I have no idea what she was doing with me for four years!) and could wear the hell out of women’s clothing but was also very competitive and assertive. I was much lower on both scales, slightly higher on masculine but still a bit feminine, as well. I found the test and results for many of my classmates (those who chose to share) to be fascinating.

      All of which is to say that simplifying everything down to a binary choice of male or female is so limiting to everyone. But some people don’t have minds willing to do the work that’s required to accept more than just black or white, blonde or brunette, right or wrong. And I feel sorry for them.

      1. I always feel a bit uneasy when reading about “masculinity” and “feminity”, because it makes me thing about how sports, comic books, science-fiction, epic fantasy or computer games have traditionally being considered “masculine things”. Didn’t Dorothy C. Fontana had to change her screen credits to “D.C. Fontana” to avoid her stories being rejected by male producers because “women can’t write science-fiction”? Even today, there are still who think that women are inherently bad at videogames and they wouldn’t be as good as a man in a betatesting job.

        So, the concept of trying to “measure” the feminity or masculinity of a person beyond very basic biological levels like “level of aggressivity induced by testosterone” makes me unconfortable. What’s a “girly man”? A man who wears pink? In the 19th century, pink was seen as a masculine color, while girls often wore white and blue! A man who cries? In medieval Europe, crying was quite common among men and without social stigma, with bards even singing about how warriors and knights cried together in fear for their lives before battle, “The Odyssey” shows men like Achilles and Odysseus crying openly after fighting tense battles, and even in a modern epic tale like “In The Lord of the Rings” we see a lot of “manly heroes”, like Aragorn himself, crying!

        1. Keep in mind, this was 1988. Also, the elements of masculinity and femininity weren’t just the stereotypical ones. But there are certainly personality aspects that correlate strongly with a perception of maleness versus femaleness. If such things weren’t so, then my friend Grace wouldn’t have felt so different and “wrong” growing up as a boy and, later, a man. And she wouldn’t feel so much more whole being a female. It isn’t just wearing heels and make-up and a dress…any male can do that (and a whole bunch do). It’s an entire change-over of gender, including how one is perceived and how one perceives themselves.

          I’m not saying that grown men can’t cry. In fact, using those personality scales, they could do so while being quite “manly” (masculine scale) but also having a more emotionally soft component that would be measured on their feminine scale.

  4. I agree with everything but believe the thrust of the episode was just prejudice, intolerance and xenophobia period, and not an allegory for LGBTQ+ etc only. For me the point is made clearly since the case swung on the asylum issue , a far more ubiquitous theme plaguing the world as migration soars and prejudices and nationalism resurge in its wake.

    It all maps to increasingly worrying precedents in our world which we tolerate coz they are law… this is another major point. Law does not equal just! Look at the situation in Florida with all books in schools needing to be vetted by law… so if it’s the law, it must be ok?

    That was for me the most important point.

    The law can be an ass, and it takes Star Trek to remind us.

    1. As I said in the blog, even if anti-trans laws weren’t the target of this episode’s story, I was still inspired to discuss the troubling issue of rapidly-spreading fear and hatred of the transgender community.

      The fact is that prejudice and intolerance comes in many sizes, shapes, and colors. And what’s most sad, for me at least, is how many different ways in which this episode’s poignant message can be applied to all ranges of injustice in today’s world.

  5. I really wish that these laws didn’t exist and in an ideal world we could all work together to make the world a better place. I don’t know how many non binary student pilots are out there but I am one of them!

    1. My guess is there are a percentage of non-binary student pilots just as there are a percentage of non-binary doctors, tailors, chefs, and bank tellers. But I wish you all the best out there in the wild blue yonder.

      As for wishing for an ideal world, remember the title of the episode. Such grand things aren’t simply given away without being earned.

  6. Bravo! I agree. Strangely enough, this 70+ yr old from a very red rural SE Missouri happens to know 1 transitioning young person, another 3-4 who are gay and one who considers themselves bisexual. The transitioning young person started out as a miserable female teenager and is now a confident, and apparently happy young man. Of less relevance is that as the birth sex they were somewhat homely, but, having transitioned, they are now fairly handsome looking. (grin) Their family has been totally supportive, fortunately. With a bunch of transphobe state laws being passed, the family is all going to meetings of an LGBTQ+ support group and will even consider moving out of state, if necessary to protect the child. It is so obnoxious to me what hate and fear mongering power seekers are spreading.

    BTW, There are also those ridiculous “bathroom laws”. On Facebook recently a humor meme was being spread around that purported to be a letter from a young female worker who was trying to get a response from her boss to help solve a problem. Her workplace has the rule that one has to use the bathroom for one’s birth sex. Now she feels uncomfortable because there’s this person born female who now looks like a male weightlifter with a beard who winds up having to use “her” bathroom. LOL If not Karma, then an example of the law of unintended consequences.

    1. I both love and hate that last story! I love it because it’s so indicative of what is wrong with these stupid bathroom laws. But I hate that it’s a story at all!

      Two of my son’s godmothers are married to each other…not lesbians by choice, they aren’t attracted to women and never were, but they fell in love with each other, got married, and had three children. My wife’s adult godson is now her goddaughter. I have relatives who are asexual, homosexual, and bisexual. My son’s best friend has a younger sibling who was born a boy and has identified as female since she was three. She just always liked wearing pink and doing girlish things. At the age of five, the school allowed her to come to kindergarten in dresses with long hair, change her name, and asked the teachers to refer to her as “she” and as a girl. The other kids and the parents were all fine with that.

      I have countless gay friends of both genders, some who prefer to be called “they” (which, I gotta tell ya, still drives the grammarian in me crazy, but I honor their wish), and two different close friends whose children are thinking of (one is in the process of) transitioning gender.

      In other words, the genie is totally out of the bottle. Like gays did decades ago, the “invisible” people are emerging proudly from closets and dark alleyways to say, “We’re here! Get used to it!” And indeed, most young people are. They’re just waiting for the bigoted old people (not you, Tory) to die off so they can stop making such a fuss and repeal all of these stupid laws. It might take another generation (maybe two in some states), but it IS going to happen. In 1958, could anyone have predicted that we were just fifty years away from electing a black president? In 2004, when so many states amended their constitutions to define marriage as between one man and one women, could anyone have foreseen legalized gay marriage just 11 years away?

      Change is gonna come…

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