Meet Bethany Black, The First Transgender Actor on Doctor Who

Illustration for article titled Meet Bethany Black, The First Transgender Actor on iDoctor Who/i

Now that shows like Sense8 have helped massively expand the presence of transgender people in science fiction and fantasy, one of the most venerable TV shows is following suit. Trans actor Bethany Black is appearing in Mark Gatiss’ upcoming “scary” episode.

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Black previously appeared in Tofu, Cucumber and Banana, the LGBT show created by former Doctor Who producer Russell T. Davies. She wrote on her Facebook page, “Now to sit back and wait until The Mail realises the BBC have cast an open trans lesbian in a family show.”

Most notably, according to The Independent, “Black’s character is not transgender, and she was considered the best actor for the role.”

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Not much is known about Gatiss’ episode yet—it also co-stars Reece Shearsmith, from Gatiss’ comedy show The League of Gentlemen. (Shearsmith also played Patrick Troughton in the Doctor Who making-of docudrama, An Adventure in Space and Time.) Shearsmith said this would be “unlike any previous episode of Doctor Who.”


Contact the author at charliejane@io9.com. Top image: Tofu, Cucumber and Banana.

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DISCUSSION

Stupid question here. I know there are a handful of transwomen actors getting more and more visibility right now. But have we seen any transmen actors in something “mainstream” yet? By that I mean something targeting a wide public, not an arthouse film made only for a reserved few connoisseurs in festivals.

I just feel that the more and more we talk about the need for transgender actors and chracters, it’s always transwomen we talk about. I’m guessing the thinking is that since transmen are men, they don’t get discriminated against nearly as much. Butnot only I have a hard time believing that, but is total invisibility really good? Isn’t it part of the problem?