Yeah, you read that right. I don’t believe Data is a “boy robot.” Or rather, not in the traditional sense.
Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot to lead into this. My fault. You see, Data is the lovable android from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The character, played by Brent Spiner, replaced Spock as the character looking for what is humanity. He’s also my personal favorite of all the main characters in TNG. I think the Data-centric episode “The Measure of a Man,” where Data is officially found to be a sentient being under Starfleet law, is one of the best non-Borg TNG episodes out there. I credit this in large part to Spiner’s in-character evolution of Data.
So why am I questioning Data’s gender? The character is played by a male and is constantly referenced to as a guy. Furthermore, when I bring up this argument, someone nearly always references the Season One episode “The Naked Now,” where Data and Lt. Tasha Yar have sex. I don’t have stats, but it may be the first Robot-Humanoid sex scene in television history. And yes, that is a veiled William Shatner dig.
But there is one line that jumps out at me from this scene. Check it out and report back to me.
You catch that? Yar asks Data:
“Are you fully functional?”
“In every way, of course. I am programmed in multiple techniques. A broad variety of pleasuring.“
And then they go to have sex. The line that catches me is “programmed in multiple techniques.” Does this mean that if, say, Riker had gone a whole episode without sex, he could ask Data to create a vagina for him? Would Data acquiesce?
Data usually identifies as a male, so does that mean he’s bisexual? Or is he pansexual? If he can’t feel emotions such as love, does that mean he’s more asexual?
Or does this mean that Star Trek just wanted someone to bang the robot? Probably that, sadly. Still it opens up a wonderful world of dialogue and slash fanfic. And while I don’t dig fanfics, Data certainly could fit the mold of a perfect character for the genre.
The fact is Data seems to have both male and female anatomy pieces. He’s programmed in multiple techniques. Maybe with the emotion chip, Data could choose between being gay or straight, but until that story is written/filmed, the knowledge that Data can service both sexes is known, albeit a pointless fact in most situations.