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Freaky Friday, Gender Edition

Sir Tristan

Today’s topic comes to us from QSFer Hendrik de Jong: “How about the ability to move minds into different bodies .. and then explore a character who is male and instantly is put in a female body (or vice versa) .. and explore people who do or do not want to be in the body of the opposite sex. Allsorts comes to mind … how to deal with the sexual organs, or menstruation pains for the first time, or attraction and sex?”

There was a comic book series called Camelot 3000 a few years back, where the Knights of Camelot were re-incarnated in the year 3000 to protect the latest incarnation of King Arthur.

One of the Knights, Sir Tristan, came back in a unexpected form:

The most original treatment in the work of any of the Arthurian characters is that of the figure of Sir Tristan, who is unexpectedly reincarnated as a woman. His transformation forces him to reexamine his previous conceptions of gender roles and his own sexuality. Although his relationship with Isolde – also reincarnated as a woman – is tested by his new identity, their enduring love for one another eventually triumphs, and the two become lovers.

The gender switch could work in sci fi, paranormal, or fantasy works.

So as a writer, how would you explore the differences in gender with a mind switch? What would a character discover if he or she suddenly switched gender? And as readers, have you read anything that dealt with this issue? And what insights did the author provide?

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