Nerd Out With Jessie Gender : Star Trek 's Accidental Transgender Episode
Star Trek's Accidental Transgender Episode
Star Trek: The Next Generation made an incredibly relevant episode about trans issues in 1992 — and it was completely by accident.
Did you know Star Trek: The Next Generation actually had a trans-focused episode all the way back in 1992? It talked about gender identity, the distinction between gender and sex, gender roles, pronouns, and many other trans- and gender-related issues years before it became popular. And guess what: It was all by accident.
So how did the Star Trek creators end up making a transgender episode by accident? Well, it wasn’t intended to be about trans issues at all. Instead, the season 5 episode “The Outcast” was the franchise's first major attempt at discussing homosexuality. While Trek has had a long history of discussing civil rights issues, especially when it comes to race, it had never before talked about the LGBTQ community. (We can only presume it was because the show's personnel were scared that talking about being gay makes you gay. Which is true. You’re reading an article about gay stuff. You’re totally gay now.)
But seriously, the writers of The Next Generation finally decided to talk about homosexuality, in grand Trek tradition, through an alien-race allegory. In the latest Nerd Out episode above, Jessie Gender breaks down how Star Trek failed to talk about sexuality but somehow managed to create a still-relevant episode about transgender issues!