Rebecca Root Talks Being the First Transgender Companion in Doctor Who

Rebecca Root Talks Being the First Transgender Companion in Doctor Who
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 Big Finish. She’ll be the Doctor’s first trans companion, and the first canonically trans character in the series.

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 behaviour in the story.”

It’s a strong and understated point: being trans doesn’t make you any different from, like, most other people in terms of general behaviour. 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.

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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.