7 Gender Benders in SciFi and Gaming


There you are, at the local Con’s dance night, sitting alone at the Ramada Inn’s bar.  You’ve had one too many Cardassian Sunrises.  Out of the corner of your eye you see a cosplayer dressed as Miss Faye Valentine.  The two of you hit it off, and just as things get good you notice…an Adam’s apple on your favorite female bounty hunter.  Don’t feel too bad, champ.  Gender bending is more frequent in your favorite genre than you first thought.

J’naii, “Star Trek: TNG”, Episode “Outcast”

The planet J’naii is home to an androgynous race of people with one gender.  While at first this seems like a fluff piece for the franchise that celebrates diversity, things turn dark quick when it is revealed that those who live on the planet as a male or female are treated for insanity and brainwashed.  I guess the Enterprise can’t please all the people all the time, unless Kirk is still leading.

Flea, “Chrono Trigger”

Flea is a master at magic attacks, a powerful fiend working under Magus.  While your team mates are quick to point out that you shouldn’t allow her feminine wiles to trick you, she’s quick to point out she’s really a “he.”  At least you don’t have a whole lot of time to feel awkward about this, as s/he is quick to start attacking you and your team.  The upside?  Ayla’s flirt still works on him, giving you a pretty decent piece of armor.

Gren, “Cowboy Bebop”, Sessions 12 and 13, “Jupiter Jazz”

The aforementioned Faye Valentine has stormed off the Bebop and winds up on Jupiter’s moon Callisto, a place with no women.  While this may sound like the best Spring Break ever for her, the saxophonist she goes home with has had his gender changed accidentally from experimental medication.  While this enrages the drunken space cowgirl, he’s able to subdue her long enough to go after Vicious, the antagonist who has somehow pissed off literally everyone in the galaxy.

You really do feel sorry for the guy; he fought alongside Vicious in the war, and on top of that he (along with Spike) had a thing for Julia.  Not to mention the whole transgender thing.   It’s one thing to actively want to become a woman (or vice versa); it’s a little different when it’s an unknown side effect from medicine.  I would love to hear the announcer give that list of side effects on a television commercial.

Sheik, “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”

When people are on the run, they typically cut and/or color their hair, grow a beard, or buy a fake ID.  The lone Princess of Hyrule goes a different route.  Through some use of her magic powers, she transforms herself into a male persona: the mysterious warrior Sheik.  The graceful and elegant aristocrat is now a gruff and agile nomad, not even revealing her true identity to Link.  Sometimes a princess has to do something other than wait around to be saved.

The Dinosaurs of “Jurassic Park”

Unless you’re competing against one on Rupaul’s Drag Race, it’s not every day a tranny tries to kill you.  But when it’s a hungry T-Rex, things are a little different.  It was explained that all the dinosaurs were engineered to be female so that they could be impregnated and give birth to more dinos; however, the frogs used for DNA do have the natural ability to switch genders, which was unknowingly passed on to the residents of the worst theme park ever made.  The heart wants what the heart wants, and apparently when your raptor farm wants babies the old fashioned way, they’ll turn to Mother Nature for help.

Bender the Gender Bender, “Futurama”, Episode “Raging Bender”

Everyone’s favorite robotic jerk temporarily had a professional wrestling career with a persona similar to the Rock.  But when his merchandise sales were down, he was forced to become Bender the Gender Bender, fighting in a tutu and blonde wig.

NiGHTS, “NiGHTs into Dreams”

Technically, NiGHTS, and all other Nightmaren, is androgynous.  Created by Wizeman the Wicked, it has traits of both, but is neither (although the voice over when it is hurt is female).  Still, it leaves a bit of confusion during game play.  As a society, the game’s protagonist is almost always male, and here you are flying around in a purple body suit.  And according to the Wiki, it is referred to as “he” by a couple of characters.

NiGHTS is sort of like a Mardi Gras version of Peter Pan, only instead of abducting children, it saves them from nightmares.  And they say there are no positive role models for the LGBT community.