In a lot of ways, this doesn’t matter in the least. The Doctor is from Gallifrey and our silly gender constructs are meaningless, even if they still call themselves Time Lords. But on the other hand, it’s suddenly cannon that the Doctor really is a pansexual alien from another planet. And that does matter.
Who Is The Doctor?
The Doctor has been 12 other people, 12 men, plus a ‘War Doctor’ (also a man). The Doctor was born on Gallifrey, stole a time machine, and went on adventure. The Doctor has been a father, multiple times, a grandfather, a friend, and a lover. The Doctor saves the universe. Over and over and over again. The Doctor ran away for fun and never looked back.
The Doctor, Who is a Woman…
The Doctor has loved many people, men and women. Since the beginning of the show, they’ve been eccentric and goofy. They run around naked, they make jokes and tell everyone to behave, stop being pudding brains, and save the universe.
But the Doctor also married River Song, who herself was married 428 times (one for each gender). And River clearly was married to each of the three incarnations of the Doctor whom we’ve met. Which means she’s married to the thirteenth Doctor as well.
Who Cares About Gender?
The Doctor doesn’t.
We are the most civilised civilisation in the universe, we’re billions of years beyond your petty human obsession with gender and its associated stereotypes.
That is Doctor Who in a nutshell, though. They just don’t care. They’re going to have fun and tell a story, and the Doctor is a man, now he’s a new man, and now he’s a woman.
So alright. If none of this matters, why does it matter? If the Doctor doesn’t care, and the writers don’t, then why do we? For the same reason this site exists.
Seeing yourself reflected in the eye on the media matters, and seeing the Doctor as someone you can imagine yourself to be matters.
Not that it stopped me from pretending to be Han Solo or the Doctor or Batman as a child, but it’s a little easier and more accessible now. People don’t make fun of a girl who wants to be Wonder Woman quite as much as the girl who wants to be James Bond. It’s stupid, I know, but taking the wall down, just a little, to say “Girls, you can be the Doctor too” matters.
Who Can Do More…
But this is an easy step. The doctor went from being a white man to a white woman, and that’s great, but it’s a small step. We need to go further, until people stop being idiots like Roger Moore saying Idris Elba isn’t British enough to be James Bond. We need to move beyond people getting upset that a black man plays Spiderman. We need to move further, push harder, and do more.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about this, and I really want River Song to come back with her “Hello, sweetie!” and for Bill Potts to be all “Blimey, you’re a … you now?”
But I also would like to see Bill as the Doctor. You know. Just once.