Sexualized Saturdays: Kieren Walker—Unlabeled But Extraordinary

In The Flesh is very important to me (you can read an introductory review of Season 1 by Ace here), and Kieren Walker, in particular, is very important to me. He’s an artist. He doesn’t want to stand out but at the same time he stands up for the mistreated. He spends a lot of time wanting to run away from everything but when it counts he decides to stay. He has a history of depression. He is also a LGBTQ+ character, which is one of his defining characteristics but not the defining character feature. The way Kieren’s sexuality is portrayed on the show and talked about by the creators isn’t perfect, but it is also extraordinarily positive in quite a few ways.


Trigger warnings for brief mentions of suicide and depression below. Also mild spoilers concerning Kieren’s character development and relationships.

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Deadpool Is Pansexual, But I’m Not Excited About It

Recently Deadpool writer Gerry Duggan said this about Deadpool’s sexuality:

tumblr_inline_mx9flcNaPY1qeimwqThis was followed by:

tumblr_inline_mxaocvbhX31qeimwqAnd while I’m pleased that a character who is extremely masculine and beloved by dudebros the world over is not actually heterosexual, as a pansexual woman I’m a bit annoyed.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Non-Human Characters Outside the Gender Binary

Lal: “I am gender neuter. Inadequate.”
Data: “That is why you must choose a gender, Lal, to complete your appearance.”

the-offspringOh, Star Trek, you are one of those shows that consistently disappoints me. This conversation from Star Trek: The Next Generation perfectly illustrates how our society tends to view gender in a strict gender binary. In the episode “The Offspring”, the robot Data creates his own android progeny named Lal. He decides to create Lal gender neutral, so that Lal can choose what gender to be. It seemed like a great idea, but it quickly turned problematic when Lal declared gender neutrality “inadequate” before promptly choosing a female gender. For people who don’t fit the gender binary, this statement is wildly offensive. The message seems to be if you aren’t male or female then you are… inadequate. How fucked up is that?!

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Sexualized Saturdays: Captain Jack Harkness

Ladies and gentlefolk: Captain Jack Harkness.

Jack appears in two shows: Doctor Who and its anagrammatic spinoff Torchwood. He first appears in my favorite Nine two-parter, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, and he is probably the closest thing current television has to a pansexual character.

Let’s talk about some common responses to the revelation of a pan (or at least bi) character on Who/Torchwood.

First, we have the people who reject Jack’s pansexuality because most of his romantic entanglements onscreen are with men. I think that doesn’t necessarily negate Jack’s sexuality; it just shows that the writers tend to overcompensate by saying ‘Look at all the men he sleeps with even though he also flirts with girls! Totally subversive sexually, yes?!’ I still hold that Jack is genuinely attracted to (at least) both genders (of humans)—I don’t think he discriminates by species either (as long as they’re sentient).

Then we have the other big double-whammy with Jack: the nature of his pansexuality and its performance. First of all, the Doctor introduces him, saying to Rose that 51st century people like Jack no longer conform to the little boxes that Rose knows. This could be sort of problematic in that it implies that eventually everyone will be pansexual, which is a weird thing to think about a group that makes up a minority of the queer population, let alone all of humanity. Let’s instead interpret it as saying that the stigma on sexual expression has been greatly reduced in the 51st century.

The other problem is that Jack is, right now, basically the face of Boe of pansexuality on TV, and he’s portrayed in much the way that society stereotypes non-monosexual people: hypersexual, not picky, and always on the make. This is just another example of two-dimensionalized queer characters on TV. Jack is conventionally attractive, and because he’s a dude his constant in-your-face sexuality is easy to play for laughs.

What are your thoughts about good ol’ Cap’n Jack, folks?

Sexualized Saturdays: The Sims

I love this game. I love it so much. I don’t know why; it’s pretty much a computerized version of a dollhouse, and I haven’t touched one of those since I gave up babysitting. You get the house, and you get the personality free avatars to impose upon whatever story your little heart desires. I don’t know about the rest of you, but personally, I always tried to make my families as screwed up as possible. Husbands would cheat on their wives with their wives’ sisters and brothers, while being impregnated by aliens. Women would woo-hoo anything capable of walking. And I would occasionally create characters just to kill for the sake of a haunted house.

And for the record, it’s impossible to kill a kid, because social services will take it away. Even if you delete all the doors and windows, the worker will just teleport inside the house. And hell if your brat fails school, it gets shipped off to the military academy. But I digress.

I also spent a good so many hours trying to make a brother and sister incestuous, and after all that wasted time, I finally had to admit defeat. Brothers and sisters won’t woo-hoo each other. Second cousins will, though.

Anyway, the point of a dollhouse is to more or less play house. Two people get married, find jobs, have a kid or twelve, and they don’t need to do it in that order. But even as a young girl and playing with dolls, I always had to have a story or it wouldn’t be fun. It’s kind of hard to have a story in The Sims. It sounds childish, but you can’t really pick up the people and impose voices upon them or give them any identifying characteristics outside their clothes and hairdo. There isn’t much to do in The Sims other than click “run here” or “eat breakfast” or “stop playing on the fucking computer and go to work, you damn slacker!”

And while one doesn’t need to impose his or her own voice onto the screen when you can simply chose between telling them to make a joke or flirt or just plain talk—the Sims do have their very own Sim language that no one can understand, so it’s like playing charades—you can’t control how they’ll react. If you could, my brother and sister characters wouldn’t be freaking out whenever I make them tell each other something dirty.

Of course, it’s probably better this way. I don’t know about the rest of you, but you know that somewhere out there someone talks into his or her computer screen to make the story more realistic.

But by the very nature of the game, outside family members, it’s possible to hook anyone up with anyone. Anyone. There’s always something about games like this that rubs me the wrong way. Especially because I very rarely ever make a normal gay couple as opposed to trying to see what I can and cannot get the characters to do. I only ever make straight pairings when I want to produce a baby at some point. I never play The Sims to play house. I play it to ruin people’s lives.

However, it doesn’t surprise me that all the characters are bisexual, since I very much doubt that sometime soon we will see an option to choose a character’s sexuality. And even if that happens, the options would probably be only straight, gay, or bi. Sexuality is much too complicated to easily be used correctly in a game like this—then again, so is life. If they ever did that, they would then be obligated later on to make a transsexual option, or an asexual one, and you know that somewhere out there someone would be upset that they didn’t have a homoromantic heterosexual option. And I don’t know about you, but that last one I would still only use to see what I can and cannot make the characters do.

I shouldn’t really compare The Sims to a dollhouse, because it’s designed to be much more realistic than that, but for me realism dies when it comes to the sexuality. I have no problem with gay characters, and as it’s my own neighborhood, it’s my own fault for screwing up everyone and having an unrealistic ratio of gay to straight people. It’s more the fact that I can do that with no trouble at all that bothers me.

But even calling all the Sims bisexual doesn’t sit well. Earlier today, I thought about calling them pansexual, and between the two terms, I’m not sure which one fits best. You see, despite no lack of trying, the amount of non-personality that all the characters have means that everyone is exactly the same. The only thing that separates a character from another character is physicality. You have a man, well, he’s going to be wearing man clothes, but you can make him do whatever the hell you want him to do. Yeah, a man can’t dress like a woman, but you can make him as feminine as fucking possible when you try to give him a personality, which is mostly determined by how much he likes to clean or something similar. Because there’s no identity, there’s also no gender identity. That fact that it’s damn near impossible to have any kind of gender-identity makes me hesitant to call any of the Sims pansexual. But even if there was, it wouldn’t matter because they’d still woo-hoo anyone, which makes me hesitant to call any of the Sims bisexual.

It’s not a world where any sexuality exists, because even if you design a man and woman to be together, both of them would be more than willing to get with someone of the same gender. This is a world where only bisexuals exist. And while I know why game makers do this, I don’t really understand why they feel the need to. Because it’s not there to help show equality between the sexualities; it’s there so you can pimp out anyone to anyone as you play through trying to figure out what’s possible and what’s not.