Paul McGann’s Doctor.
Paul McGann’s Doctor.
Image: BBC

It’s a pretty harrowing being a trans person in the world right now, what with American policymakers taking away our rights and influential people using their platforms to decry our existence in so many terms. So any move to represent our experiences and just our sheer normalcy right now feels important. Meet Rebecca Root: a British actress, she’ll be playing Tania Bell, a new companion of the Doctor’s to be featured in an upcoming audio adventure via Big Finish. She’ll be the Doctor’s first trans companion, and the first canonically trans character in the series.

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Over at Nerdist, Root talked about her role in the upcoming audio drama, part of the “Stranded” series starring Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, and what it’s like to be the first trans woman to canonically hang out with the good ol’ Doc.

“She’s a person like all the other people I have played and hope to play in the future,” Root said of her character, Tania Bell. “She’s not perfect, but she’s not a mess, and certainly, I don’t think her gender identity has any influence on her behavior in the story.”

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It’s a strong and understated point: being trans doesn’t make you any different from, like, most other people in terms of general behavior. Properly representing us is to show us as normal people, just doing, y’know, people things, instead of constantly being preoccupied with gender and waht it means. The best kind of representational story one could tell about trans people right now might be one where being trans just isn’t that big of a deal.

That kind of representation can be a big deal, as Root explained. “It would have been amazing to see a trans person in a show like Doctor Who. In fact, to see a Trans person period would have been amazing,” she told Nerdist.

Doctor Who is a show that can do a great job of bringing inclusivity to a larger audience, and I hope that this trans representation continues. And shows up on screen sooner than later, too.

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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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