The Doctor and Orientation

[Note: This has been crossposted to Pillowfort]

So, Coy brought up ace Doctor headcanons and it made me start thinking about my own personal interpretation of the Doctor’s sexuality and orientation.

The first time I ever heard the word asexuality was on Radio Free Skaro, a Doctor Who podcast, back in 2013 or so*. One of the hosts, Chris, disliked the arc between the Doctor and River Song because he headcanonned the Doctor as asexual. If you asked me until a few minutes go, if asked about their sexuality I would have probably said the same thing without too much deeper thought on the issue.

But who likes simple answers on orientation when you could a complicated, interesting view on the whole thing? 😉

The first issue, of course, is that they are an alien- so who the hell’s to say orientation and sexuality frameworks would even make sense to them?** There’s at least one mention of Time Lords reproducing asexually in some of the extended canon, and going from that we can assume that Time Lord’s aren’t going to have the same relation to sexuality, gender or sex that we do. If we were to describe them in our terms, then “asexual” is certainly a label that would make sense- but again, that is a human term, and if that’s the norm on Gallifrey it’s likely they don’t have a label for it at all, similarly to how heterosexuality is treated as the default in many cultures here.

But the Doctor ~isn’t like other Time Lords~. For one, they don’t seem to like them that much- the Doctor did run away, after all! And the Doctor loves humans. Given that we know that they’ve identified as both male and female now, they seem to be completely happy with human classifications for their gender. So it’s possible that they would identify with human orientations as well.

I also feel like I’ve seen people talk about viewing the Doctor’s orientation as a bit more fluid- at least from regeneration to regeneration. After all, they’ve had substantial personality changes (and now a gender one!)- so why should their sexuality stay the same?

Now, it can get into some troublesome stereotypes about asexuality and aromanticism in the details, but I do really like the general principle behind this view of their orientation. I don’t really have specific evidence to point too- it’s more a general frame that I think could be fun to insert our own (fan?) fiction into instead of analyzing the canon.

It’d be a neat exercise, too, to try and see how an alien who is absolutely delighted by all of the little nuances of humanity would try to conceptualize their identity in relation to our cultures. Would how they identify change not just from regeneration to regeneration but depending on their closest relationships at the time, and the cultures those people come from? Would time travel itself impact their identity- being in different time periods and cultures and thinking of themself differently because of it? There are so many possibilities!

If anyone knows of any meta or fics that deal with the Doctor and a fluid sexuality orientation like that, let me know! I’d love to read them.

*Listen at your own risk, by the way. I haven’t listened to it in a while and even though the hosts are liberal and better than what you’d imagine from most straight white geeks there are probably jokes that haven’t aged well-and I definitely know there were a lot of dirty ones, which is probably relevant if you’re reading my blog!

**I think 12 made a flippant remark at the end of last season about gender and sexuality being fluid because Time Lords are aliens, buuuuttttt it was Moffat writing so I don’t really know how much this counts towards legitimate world-building.

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