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Author Topic: EP615: Lonely Robot on a Rocket Ship in Space  (Read 2254 times)
eytanz
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« on: February 20, 2018, 07:34:28 AM »

Escape Pod 615: Lonely Robot on a Rocket Ship in Space

AUTHOR : A. Merc Rustad
NARRATOR : Christopher Cornell
HOST: Mur Lafferty

---

Byron scribbled crib notes on his wrist the night before he planned to come out to his dads.

He’d told all his friends he was sick so he would have an excuse to stay home Friday night. It wasn’t like he was lying. His stomach was so knotted he thought he’d puke. But he couldn’t sleep, either. The words burned like he’d used acid instead of a Sharpie.


I’m not scared or confused. It’s who I am.

In the tiniest he could write legibly, he added, Please don’t be mad.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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rendall
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2018, 12:49:47 PM »

This is the first Escape Pod episode I have listened to in a long, long time, and I found it quite disappointing, sadly.

First, a synopsis: Byron, a teenager, identifies so strongly with being a robot that he feels body dysmorphia and wants robot transition surgery. He is afraid of his parents' reaction, especially since his father Carlos was dismissive of robots; but he is encouraged by his best friend, Allosaur. When he comes out to his parents as a robot, his father Carlos is bemused and skeptical; and while his other father Akhil is open to talking, Byron feels this is too unsupportive and runs away. He creates artwork to express how he feels. He gains confidence from the social media reaction to his art, including acknowledgement from the only other person in the world to become a robot. He has another meeting with his parents, where they agree unconditionally to support his transition to being a robot, although he has to wait until 18 because of 'reqs'. He is happy. The end. The moral is extremely clear: unconditionally support your friends and family who want permanent surgery to transition to what they feel themselves to be, even if that is a robot.

Let's just go ahead and acknowledge that 'robot' here is a direct and unsubtle metaphor for gender reassignment surgery, and the story is about a person coming out to their parents as transgender. And as such it is pretty much a 1 to 1 mapping: swap out every mention of 'robot' for 'transgender' and without much other adjustment necessary at all, it becomes a contemporary non-science-fiction coming-out story. Which is to say, it was not a science-fiction story at all.

It also reads like a "message" story: explicitly written to impart moral instruction to the listener. Thus it might in this light be instructive to understand the story and its moral from the lens of a kind of "user manual" or script, on how we in the audience should behave when a 16 year old in our lives wants robot / gender reassignment surgery:

First, this story (considered as a manual) encourages the person contemplating transition, and their friends & family, to treat the topic rather casually, as if life-changing body surgery has no more consequence or import than wanting to "go goth" or to bring a controversial date to the prom: Carlos and Akhil never raise a sincere or reasonable concern about their son's desires, nor does Allosaur. Therapy is never mentioned, as if doing so would be horrendously gauche.

Second, it treats awkward confusion or ignorance as lack of support. Carlos, the least "supportive" of the two parents, seems less opposed to the idea than simply baffled by the concept. Akhil, for his part, is fully empathetic; not educated about it, but still open. Nevertheless, Byron runs away. The lesson here, to a teenager who might identify with Byron, seems to be: if your parents are ignorant of the topic, or have any concerns at all, they are not supportive. The answer is to run away until they agree without reservation. Only unconditional, unreserved cheerleading is support; anything less is not support.

It would have been interesting, valuable, supportive and *responsible* of the story to raise and address the very evident concerns and issues involved with Byron's becoming a robot; and the parents would have been the perfect vehicle by which to do that, given that this is their job. It is not only *not* *un*supportive to ask questions, even of a teenager who is certain they want to transition; it is unloving and irresponsible *not* to.

Shouldn't you ask, of someone you love and literally care for, of someone contemplating "robot transition", at least one of the following questions: "Is it possible that you are mistaken?", "Is it possible that what you're feeling is temporary?", "Would it be a good idea to talk to a therapist?", "Let's have a realistic look together at the process and known consequences of robot transition surgery.", "Is it possible to reverse the transition if you decide it is a terrible mistake?", "Yes, it is possible that you will regret it.", "Yes, of course we will love you no matter what."







« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 01:46:01 PM by rendall » Logged
jenni4096
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2018, 10:50:37 PM »

Wow.  Just finished listening to this story.

Great reading -- he treated what could be a heavy story with just the right amount of lightness.

Where is the line between allegory and metaphor?  The one can feel like a sunday school lesson (like the Narnia books) whereas the other can maybe ... just maybe.. help someone completely outside one's own perspective understand what it's like to be *you*.

This story wanders, teasing that edge for a while before striding definitively over to the side of real, honest, emotional communication.

As a trans person I recognized parts of my own story in this one -- and while I can barely draw a smiley-face myself, it's no coincidence that there are so many web-comics devoted to telling the story of growing up (or growing old) trans.  So it felt fitting that this is how the protagonist finally decides to let his dads into his world.

Also, as one who reliably cries at the cup-of-coffee-and-a-blanket scenes, the way the last-ditch signal of a comic strip was received hit me right in the feels.

Thanks for a great story.

Edit: was the author really"taking back" the attack-helocopter meme?  Awesome.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 11:16:45 AM by jenni4096 » Logged
Automaton
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2018, 03:54:56 AM »

I think this has to be my favorite Escape Pod story so far. It's great as an allegory for coming out as transgender, and I love it for that reason. As a non-binary trans person, I also enjoy the frank way this author handles marginalised people being unaccepting of other marginalised people's identities. But I love it most of all because I am in a similar situation to Byron. I feel uncomfortable in any biological body and the one I have seems to have betrayed me in numerous ways (not the same ways as Byron's but I feel equally dysphoric about them). Until I heard this story, transitioning into a robotic form felt like something too far off to really be worth considering seriously. But hearing Byron's story has me again wishing to shed this crappy biological body for a sleek, brushed-metal chassis. All this is to say, finally I understand what representation feels like. And it's addictive. I've listened to this episode at least five times. A++
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 05:28:57 AM by Automaton » Logged
DerangedMind
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2018, 09:57:00 AM »

I find it interesting that two self-identified trans people love the story. I think that speaks for the need trans people may have to have stories that speak to them where they are, and dealing with their specific coming of age struggles.

Why did this story fall short for me?  Well, it wasn't the narration -- that was excellent.  They story was good, but too moralizing for me.  It felt like it was beating me with a club about the need to accept trans people without having any questions.

I agreed with rendell that this was not treated the way I would hope that it would for a life-altering, presumably irreversible surgical procedure.  Byron hasn't been given a specific age, but he is still in high school.  He comes out to his parents, and when they don't react exactly the way he expected, he considers it a disaster, that they are non-supportive, and has a tantrum and runs away.  They respond by getting him on a wait list for surgery.

Now, I get the need for action.  Byron has stated that he's thinking of killing himself.  This should not be a 'oh, its just a phase' response.  But, Byron is still a kid.  He needs help, he needs a lot of help.  And he needs it now.  His parents need help as well to understand where he's at.  But, it is still far to early (in my opinion) to be putting him on a wait list for surgery.  Spend some time to help him understand his feelings, understand the procedure (and what life would be like after it).  And, to make sure that this is a decision that he truly wants to live with for the rest of his life.

I also disagree with the message of the story that if you're not fully in favour of gender reassignment, you're opposed.  One of my coworkers had reassignment surgery.  I'll fully admit that I will never understand why she did that.  But its also none of my business.  And, it doesn't affect me in any way.  My response to her was that I couldn't understand why she would want to do this, but that I can understand that its very important to her, if she was willing to risk potentially losing her job, her marriage, and her kids over this decision.
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danooli
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2018, 08:56:00 PM »

This hit the Cast of Wonders slush pile and I loved it then, so I am thrilled that Escape Pod picked it up.
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Katzentatzen
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2018, 04:33:30 PM »

Unlike a few other commenters, I prefer to defer to the person expressing themselves to me as the one who knows the best what they need in order to feel happy and comfortable. I also really love that Byron is neurodivergent, and his family and friends aren't bothered that sometimes he has to write in text. I was especially moved when Allosaur held the phone out for Byron to listen, but so that he didn't have to touch it. As a comics fan, I also love that this was how Byron found he could communicate the best. I think it's a powerful medium that many people have used successfully to express things they felt they couldn't otherwise.
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CryptoMe
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2018, 12:21:12 PM »

I came here to say pretty much what rendall and DerangedMind said, so I won't repeat that here.

What I do have to add is this...
While I am glad that this story gave transgendered listeners a feeling of representation, I feel this story tried to be so much more, but failed. *I* wanted this story to be something that not only spoke *to* transgendered people, but spoke *for* them. Explained to non-transgendered people how and why transgendered people feel as they do. Instead, I think this story trivialized those feelings and unwittingly made them seem silly. And that is a great, great shame.
Also, the fact that this very flawed story still resonated so strongly with transgendered folk means that we have a lot more work to do in terms of diverse representation in our stories....
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jenni4096
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2018, 03:30:47 PM »

transgendered people...

Quote
"transgendered"
The adjective transgender should never have an extraneous "-ed" tacked onto the end. An "-ed" suffix adds unnecessary length to the word and can cause tense confusion and grammatical errors. It also brings transgender into alignment with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer. You would not say that Elton John is "gayed" or Ellen DeGeneres is "lesbianed," therefore you would not say Chaz Bono is "transgendered."
https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender


Now that we got that out of the way...
Quote
this story trivialized those feelings and unwittingly made them seem silly
... which is why literally zero percent of the trans people replying had any problem with it?

Quote
...not only spoke *to* transgendered people, but spoke *for* them.
who, exactly are you speaking for here?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 03:34:49 PM by jenni4096 » Logged
DerangedMind
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2018, 08:25:24 AM »


The adjective transgender should never have an extraneous "-ed" tacked onto the end. An "-ed" suffix adds unnecessary length to the word and can cause tense confusion and grammatical errors.


I've never heard that before.  I'm not sure I agree that it would cause tense confusion or grammatical errors.  From a linguistic point of view, gender is a noun, gendered a verb.  Similarily, transgender SHOULD be considered a noun and transgendered a verb, making Chaz Bono is transgendered grammatically correct. 

If the community wants to try to MAKE transgender an adjective, that's great, but I'm sure there will be a lot of confusion and innocent mistakes make until that becomes accepted as part of the english grammar.
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Automaton
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2018, 12:15:16 PM »

From a linguistic point of view, gender is a noun, gendered a verb.

'gendered' can actually be a verb or an adjective. The '-ed' suffix is used in some cases for adjectives as well. For example, I am a two-eyed human not because somebody two-eyed me, but because I have two eyes.


transgender SHOULD be considered a noun and transgendered a verb, making Chaz Bono is transgendered grammatically correct. 

If the community wants to try to MAKE transgender an adjective, that's great, but I'm sure there will be a lot of confusion and innocent mistakes make until that becomes accepted as part of the english grammar.


Similarly, 'transgendered' has been an adjective from the start, and only people who don't know much about the topic have ever used it as a verb. For several years now, the consensus among trans people had been that we prefer the word without the '-ed' suffix, since it's unnecessary and certain people can get confused about it, like you clearly have. We're not making it an adjective, it's always been one, and now we're seeing we prefer one spelling over the other, for clarity's sake.
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CryptoMe
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2018, 11:18:08 AM »

"transgendered"
Quote
The adjective transgender should never have an extraneous "-ed" tacked onto the end. An "-ed" suffix adds unnecessary length to the word and can cause tense confusion and grammatical errors. It also brings transgender into alignment with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer. You would not say that Elton John is "gayed" or Ellen DeGeneres is "lesbianed," therefore you would not say Chaz Bono is "transgendered."
https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender

From a linguistic point of view, gender is a noun, gendered a verb.
'gendered' can actually be a verb or an adjective. The '-ed' suffix is used in some cases for adjectives as well. For example, I am a two-eyed human not because somebody two-eyed me, but because I have two eyes.
transgender SHOULD be considered a noun and transgendered a verb, making Chaz Bono is transgendered grammatically correct.  

If the community wants to try to MAKE transgender an adjective, that's great, but I'm sure there will be a lot of confusion and innocent mistakes make until that becomes accepted as part of the english grammar.

Similarly, 'transgendered' has been an adjective from the start, and only people who don't know much about the topic have ever used it as a verb. For several years now, the consensus among trans people had been that we prefer the word without the '-ed' suffix, since it's unnecessary and certain people can get confused about it, like you clearly have. We're not making it an adjective, it's always been one, and now we're seeing we prefer one spelling over the other, for clarity's sake.

Wow! Quite the interesting discussion on this topic. I have always known transgender as a noun, never as an adjective. That's why you have "the transgender community" as a compound noun and "transgendered person" as an adjective modifying a noun. It follows the same grammatical rules as "gender", where "gender issues" is a compound noun, but "gendered issues" is again an adjective modifying a noun. That said, it is quite reasonable to say "transgender people", but then "transgender" is not an adjective but part of the compound noun.

So, if grammar is not an issue in either usage, I agree that we should go with whatever the trans community prefers. But, please note:
Quote
In the ’90s and early ’00s, the word “transgendered” was commonplace — one can find it in classic books like Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw and Leslie Feinberg’s Trans Liberation
http://juliaserano.blogspot.ca/2014/04/a-personal-history-of-t-word-and-some.html#transgendered
So, please be kind to those who may not be up on the latest preferences and correct us gently.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 11:21:38 AM by CryptoMe » Logged
CryptoMe
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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2018, 11:53:50 AM »

Quote
this story trivialized those feelings and unwittingly made them seem silly
... which is why literally zero percent of the trans people replying had any problem with it?

Quote
...not only spoke *to* transgendered people, but spoke *for* them.
who, exactly are you speaking for here?

I guess I need to explain a bit better what I meant. First, let me say, I am not trans, but I am *very* trans-positive. 

I think that the trans posters we have heard from so far had "no problem" with this story because they obviously understand what they are feeling and going through, so they could extrapolate from the story.

As a non-trans person, I can't extrapolate to the same extent, so the story has to do a much better job of explaining to me the thoughts and feelings of the trans-proxy character. I don't think the story did that. In fact, I think it trivialized and minimized those feelings (partly because in some cases the ship/trans analogy breaks down catastrophically).

So, if this story didn't promote an understanding of trans feelings in me, who is already a trans supporter, what will it do to the trans cause amongst people who are anti-trans? That is my problem with this story. I wanted it to carry the flag into a wider community and I am disappointed that it didn't do that.
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Automaton
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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2018, 03:41:14 PM »

Wow! Quite the interesting discussion on this topic. I have always known transgender as a noun, never as an adjective. That's why you have "the transgender community" as a compound noun and "transgendered person" as an adjective modifying a noun.

No. Those are both adjectival phrases. And the second one is obsolete.

It follows the same grammatical rules as "gender", where "gender issues" is a compound noun, but "gendered issues" is again an adjective modifying a noun.

It actually doesn't follow those rules. The word 'transgender' operates as an adjective because of the prefix 'trans' which means (roughly) 'going across'. Adding the 'trans' prefix constructs a word which, rather than 'pointing' to a conceptual object (gender) describes a situation in which ones gender is metaphorically 'across' from what one would assume by examining the genitals they were born with.

That said, it is quite reasonable to say "transgender people", but then "transgender" is not an adjective but part of the compound noun.

No. The only time it's grammatically correct to use 'transgender' as a noun like that is when your using the archaic construction of dropping the noun from an adjective phrase and treating the adjective as a noun (like calling a black person 'a black'). However this is considered dehumanising as it ignores the existence of the person.

So, if grammar is not an issue in either usage, I agree that we should go with whatever the trans community prefers. But, please note:
Quote
In the ’90s and early ’00s, the word “transgendered” was commonplace — one can find it in classic books like Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw and Leslie Feinberg’s Trans Liberation
http://juliaserano.blogspot.ca/2014/04/a-personal-history-of-t-word-and-some.html#transgendered
So, please be kind to those who may not be up on the latest preferences and correct us gently.


Yeah. We know it's an obsolete term, and we know trans people have used it. Back when it was more common, I used it to describe myself. Nobody's telling you you just made the word up, we're just saying people in the know don't generally use that spelling anymore. We're trying to correct you gently but you keep insisting on being right despite being told, by people who literally are the subject of today's discussion, that you're wrong.


I guess I need to explain a bit better what I meant. First, let me say, I am not trans, but I am *very* trans-positive.

That may be so, but consider that you've been bickering with trans people about how they would like to be talked about. Think about it this way: if I called you 'Scoobily Doobily' for several days and you kept saying 'that's not my name' the whole time, you'd probably think I was a total jerk, not a friend.

I think that the trans posters we have heard from so far had "no problem" with this story because they obviously understand what they are feeling and going through, so they could extrapolate from the story.

As a non-trans person, I can't extrapolate to the same extent, so the story has to do a much better job of explaining to me the thoughts and feelings of the trans-proxy character. I don't think the story did that. In fact, I think it trivialized and minimized those feelings (partly because in some cases the ship/trans analogy breaks down catastrophically).

So, if this story didn't promote an understanding of trans feelings in me, who is already a trans supporter, what will it do to the trans cause amongst people who are anti-trans? That is my problem with this story. I wanted it to carry the flag into a wider community and I am disappointed that it didn't do that.

Maybe the story wasn't written for you. Maybe it was written for people like me and the other trans listener who just want some gorram representation in fiction.


I think it trivialized and minimized those feelings (partly because in some cases the ship/trans analogy breaks down catastrophically).

How so? I don't personally feel that something like 'and he was massively uncomfortable with every aspect of his body, to the point where even living in it a few more years made suicide sound like an attractive option' (paraphrased of course) is particularly trivialising. I also don't see where the analogy breaks as severely as you say. But I would (non-sarcastically) love to know where you see the break.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 04:54:27 PM by Automaton » Logged
CryptoMe
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2018, 11:06:55 AM »

So, if grammar is not an issue in either usage, I agree that we should go with whatever the trans community prefers. But, please note:
Quote
In the ’90s and early ’00s, the word “transgendered” was commonplace — one can find it in classic books like Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw and Leslie Feinberg’s Trans Liberation
http://juliaserano.blogspot.ca/2014/04/a-personal-history-of-t-word-and-some.html#transgendered
So, please be kind to those who may not be up on the latest preferences and correct us gently.
Yeah. We know it's an obsolete term, and we know trans people have used it. Back when it was more common, I used it to describe myself. Nobody's telling you you just made the word up, we're just saying people in the know don't generally use that spelling anymore. We're trying to correct you gently but you keep insisting on being right despite being told, by people who literally are the subject of today's discussion, that you're wrong.
Wow! Discussion of grammar, followed by "we should go with whatever the trans community prefers" is interpreted as "you keep insisting on being right". Wow. Just no words.

Maybe the story wasn't written for you. Maybe it was written for people like me and the other trans listener who just want some gorram representation in fiction.
Sure, great. But the fact that this story was posted on Escape Pod suggests it should be relatable to a *general audience* and so comments that point out it's failure in this regard are fair game. Also, please note, that I am not criticizing the presence of trans characters in the story; I am asking that they be better written. I too would like to see more diverse representation in the fiction I read, but characters that propagate negative stereotypes to those outside the subgroup don't really provide quality representation, do they.

I think it trivialized and minimized those feelings (partly because in some cases the ship/trans analogy breaks down catastrophically).
How so? I don't personally feel that something like 'and he was massively uncomfortable with every aspect of his body, to the point where even living in it a few more years made suicide sound like an attractive option' (paraphrased of course) is particularly trivialising. I also don't see where the analogy breaks as severely as you say. But I would (non-sarcastically) love to know where you see the break.
[/quote]

Humans can be born as male, female, both, or neither, with vestigial tails, webbed feet, hare lips, etc. But, never in history has a human been born as a machine. Being a machine is extremely outside the human norm. Being a man, woman, neither, both, etc. is not outside the human norm. So, that is where the ship/trans analogy breaks down.
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eytanz
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« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2018, 11:37:00 AM »

Wow! Discussion of grammar, followed by "we should go with whatever the trans community prefers" is interpreted as "you keep insisting on being right". Wow. Just no words.

Stepping in as moderator here. I think it's been clearly established that the correct usage is "transgender", and that "transgendered" should be avoided. Let's leave it at that, and return to the story, rather than having a discussion about the grammatical discussion.
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Automaton
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« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2018, 02:24:29 PM »


Wow! Discussion of grammar, followed by "we should go with whatever the trans community prefers" is interpreted as "you keep insisting on being right". Wow. Just no words

Sorry, mate. I'll confess I actually made a mistake about that. I got you and DerangedMind conflated somehow while I was writing that post. Thus, when I read you talking about 'transgender people' being a compound noun, I thought you were reiterating 'your' (actually DerangedMind's) point about 'transgender' being a noun.

I hope that makes my post make a little more sense. I'm sorry I was quite agressive in responding to you. If I had been more careful in my reading of the thread I would have reacted differently.

Obviously it's okay to discuss the topic, as well as to be confused or behind on terms. It's less okay to do something like being corrected by trans people about trans words, and then reiterating the first point you were being corrected about.


characters that propagate negative stereotypes to those outside the subgroup don't really provide quality representation, do they.

? Propagate negative stereotypes? I'm bewildered. Please explain.

Humans can be born as male, female, both, or neither, with vestigial tails, webbed feet, hare lips, etc. But, never in history has a human been born as a machine. Being a machine is extremely outside the human norm. Being a man, woman, neither, both, etc. is not outside the human norm. So, that is where the ship/trans analogy breaks down.

That is a fair point  I didn't think that the strangeness of the idea of being a robot breaks it as much as you think it does, but I can see at least why you would say that. However I think that as sci-fi fans, we are all used to dealing with unusual concepts like this and should be able to get past the fact that being a robot would be weird and still take the character and story seriously.

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CryptoMe
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« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2018, 09:51:55 AM »

characters that propagate negative stereotypes to those outside the subgroup don't really provide quality representation, do they.

? Propagate negative stereotypes? I'm bewildered. Please explain.

As several posters have already pointed out, the trans-proxy character comes across as being immature, impulsive, and flighty. They literally take flight when the first conversation with their parents doesn't go as positively as they wanted (and as coming out conversations go, that was actually a fairly benign one!). Then, they suddenly decide they can wait 2 years for their transformation, when before they couldn't wait at all. This literally perpetuates the negative stereotype that trans people are just confused, going through a phase, will change their mind, etc.  So I, personally, didn't find this a positive representation. Your mileage may vary.
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jenni4096
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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2018, 12:11:20 PM »

characters that propagate negative stereotypes to those outside the subgroup don't really provide quality representation, do they.

? Propagate negative stereotypes? I'm bewildered. Please explain.

As several posters have already pointed out, the trans-proxy character comes across as being immature, impulsive, and flighty. They literally take flight when the first conversation with their parents doesn't go as positively as they wanted (and as coming out conversations go, that was actually a fairly benign one!). Then, they suddenly decide they can wait 2 years for their transformation, when before they couldn't wait at all. This literally perpetuates the negative stereotype that trans people are just confused, going through a phase, will change their mind, etc.  So I, personally, didn't find this a positive representation. Your mileage may vary.

Hey -- awesome, back to the story.  :-)  So, I hear where you're coming from, I think.  It's hard to believe that someones motivations can seem so opaque, their actions and desires can be so radically different from one scene to the next.

But actually, this is really spot on to my own experience - I actually threw out some trial-balloons many times in my life, and when the response wasn't 100% affirming and understanding (because, really? that probably won't ever happen with a parent), I was like, "cool, never mind" on the outside, and "shit. never tell. never tell. never tell" on the inside.

Denial is a weird and powerful motivator.  I was "fine waiting" for years, until one day the walls started to crumble and suddenly I was very much *not* okay with waiting.  It probably took about 3 weeks for that last phase, and the end of denial was ... very hard to tolerate without action.

So, while it may not tell the story that some people were expecting, it does a pretty good job of presenting something I can relate to.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2018, 12:13:34 PM by jenni4096 » Logged
CryptoMe
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« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2018, 11:07:22 PM »


But actually, this is really spot on to my own experience - I actually threw out some trial-balloons many times in my life, and when the response wasn't 100% affirming and understanding (because, really? that probably won't ever happen with a parent), I was like, "cool, never mind" on the outside, and "shit. never tell. never tell. never tell" on the inside.

Denial is a weird and powerful motivator.  I was "fine waiting" for years, until one day the walls started to crumble and suddenly I was very much *not* okay with waiting.  It probably took about 3 weeks for that last phase, and the end of denial was ... very hard to tolerate without action.

So, these two paragraphs here do a much better job of putting me in the thought processes of someone going through a coming out type of situation.  The story, on the other hand, didn't do this well at all (IMHO), and that is one of my beefs with it. While someone who has gone through something like this might relate to the story, those who haven't gone through it seem to be having difficulty relating. A well written story should be able to make the reader relate to *any* situation, regardless of whether they have been there or not. 
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