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Alternate Genders

Julian Vivian Bond

QSFer John Allenson has today’s discussion topic: “Have we ever discussed writting gender past male/female binaries? The Andorians in Star Trek have four genders. Alien Nation had three. The Left Hand of Darkness has androgens. How would we write alternate genders?”

It’s an interesting question. My first real awakening in terms of a third gender came via the film “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”. Terrence Stamp’s character struck me as someone who wasn’t trying to be a man or a woman, but was truly embodying something different, someone who rejected binary gender norms.

Justin Vivian Bond (pictured) is another well-known person who straddles the gender line, or perhaps obliterates it completely. I find myself fascinated with this photo – the beauty and strength of it.

And of course, this being QSF, we can also talk about alien races and how they might embrace non-binary genders, or about how this fits into the paranormal or fantasy genres.

So my questions to you today: How, as spec fic writers, can we embrace gender diversity? As readers, what have you read that did this well? And any ideas for spec fic stories that we could write that would deal with this issue?

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