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Old November 23 2012, 08:19 PM   #1
Lieutenant Commander
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Trills and Transgenderism

I was rewatching the first couple of episodes of DS9 and, after listening to the conversation Sisko has with Dax in Quark's Bar near the beginning of the episode "A Man Alone," it dawned on me how much the Trill's experience mirrors that of transgenderism.

Obviously those who are transgender transition slowly over time, and in the Trill's case, it happens conceivably over a few hours on the operating table (although, this is 24th century medicine, so it probably happens over a few minutes--I haven't seen "The Host" in a long time). Still, the concept of switching genders and having everyone around you deal with the consequences of that is very similar.

In a quote from "A Man Alone," while Sisko and Dax are having dinner together, they have the following exchange:

SISKO: I've missed your steamed azna.

DAX: You must miss Curzon too.

SISKO: He was... you were, are...a mentor, another father to me.

DAX: This happens to trills, Benjamin. Sometimes our friendships with other species don't survive because of the change.

SISKO: It won't be that way with us. It's just a little uncomfortable right now.

DAX: I suggest that you allow yourself to feel comfortable with your discomfort. Time can do the rest.
I found this eerily similar to the experiences of transgender people. Sisko is having a hard time processing that his old male friend is now a female. He basically explains that he is adapting slowly, that it's just uncomfortable for the time being while he adjusts to the changes. Jadzia is still Dax, so to speak, just with a slightly different feminine lilt to her personality. It's still Dax on the inside, with all of the same memories and experiences.

In a similar fashion, transgender people and those around them experience a major life transition. It takes time for friends and loved ones to adjust to the changes. Some people can't adapt properly, and friendships can be broken.

Obviously, it's not a straight, 1:1 conversion between the two. It's not an exact metaphor. And, most glaringly, it likely wasn't the writers' initial intent to portray a metaphor of transgenderism, but it just struck me as fascinating how often the experiences of Trills and transgender people coincide, especially when the symbiont acquiring a new host results in a gender variance.

Has this ever occurred to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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