2:22 - Cogenitor
TV Blurb: Trip makes the mistake of applying his personal social values when he decides an alien species' third gender citizens are being mistreated. Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga. Directed by LeVar Burton.
I 've known less than 10 openly LGBT people in my life, the last was about 15 years ago. So I don't always see the parallels that are sometimes assigned to this episode, though I do understand them. Some people might consider my interpretation of the episode as missing certain themes due to that.
There are obvious allusions to alternate gender identities, but there are also elements of how minorities and women have been thought of through the centuries. Women were not allowed to vote in the United States until less than 100 years ago (the anniversary is 2020).
At one point, it's stated that cogenitors make up only 3% of the Vissian population. Obviously they must number in the millions by now, due to their level of scientific advancement. But if it takes 3 people to create a child, and there are only 3% of the population of the necessary gender, how did this species ever manage to survive? That's 300 individuals out 10,000 births. How long did it take them to discover it takes three to tango? Perhaps there's some medical way of impregnation, but it sounds like the cogenitor must be physically present. The male and female genders apparently can have safe sex whenever they want, by not temporarily adopting a cogenitor.
One problem I had was how the cogenitors were treated, but maybe it's due to my human perception. It would seem to me that if these cogenitors were so rare, they should be honored or revered or celebrated as celebrities in their society. Not educating them also seems strange, but maybe Vissian physiology is such that the offspring's genes carry some sort of intellectual memory from the parents.
Like TNG: The Outcast, Star Trek plays it safe again by casting a woman as the androgynous character, rather than a man. The whole episode might have played differently, though there's no overt romantic relationship between Trip and the cogenitor; he truly believes he's helping It.
Of course everything goes wrong despite his intentions. When T'Pol reprimands him, it plays like a mother scolding her child. Archer gets the angriest he's ever been at his best friend.
Andreas Katsulas (dang, I spelled his name right without looking it up) makes a return to Star Trek, after spending time on Babylon 5