Doctor Who and the LGBT community

A couple of nights ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and came across several posts shared on Doctor Who fan pages regarding the support of marriage equality. A couple of commenters took issue with a fan page posting pictures with a “political” message. First off, equality is not about politics – it’s about human rights. Secondly, I honestly can’t understand how someone can be a fan of Doctor Who and not support gay (i.e. human) rights. I mean, have they even watched the show? Do they have a clue about the morals espoused by the show?

So in honor of the two marriage equality cases that were argued in front of the Supreme Court this week . . . and the long-awaited new episode of Doctor Who this Saturday, I thought I’d share some of the LGBT characters from Doctor Who.

***FYI – If you are new to Who and have not worked your way through the entire series yet, this list will contain SPOILERS!***

Captain JackCaptain Jack Harkness

I mentioned Captain Jack in a previous blog post and referred to him as television’s most fluid character. I stand by that statement and if you watch Doctor Who or Torchwood, I’m sure you’ll agree. Captain Jack is from the 51st century when, in the Doctor’s words, people are a lot more “flexible when it comes to dancing.” Captain Jack is omnisexual, which makes sense when you understand that he comes from a world of many different humanoid species. In John Barrowman’s words, “Captain Jack will shag anything with a post code.”

(Honorable mention to pretty much every character on Torchwood, since I’d be here all day if I included them all individually.)

The CassinisAlice & May Cassini

The Cassinis are shown in a couple of short scenes in Gridlock. The Doctor is in a car with Brannigan who calls the Cassinis and refers to them as sisters. Alice responds, “You know full well we’re not sisters. We’re married.”


Midshipman Alonso Frame

We meet Alonso in Voyage of the Damned, but there’s no mention of his sexuality in that episode. Later in the second part of The End of Time, as the Doctor is saying his good-byes before regeneration, we see Captain Jack in an alien bar. The bartender slips him a note from the Doctor that reads, “His name is Alonso.” And well, here, you can watch the rest —

CantonCanton Everett Delaware III

Canton shows up in The Impossible Astronaut as a former FBI agent who was forced to quit. He later explains that he just wanted to get married. At the end of Day of the Moon, the Doctor tells President Nixon that Canton just wants to get married. After the doctor leaves, Nixon asks Canton if the person he wants to marry is black, explaining that perhaps he is more liberal than people think. Canton respond with, “Yes, he is.”

thin fatThe thin/fat gay married Anglican marines

We only meet them briefly in A Good Man Goes to War because one of them ends up becoming a headless monk. The thin one introduces themselves to Lorna Bucket by saying, “Hello, I’m the thin one. This is my husband. He’s the fat one.” She then asks if they have names, to which the fat one replies, “We’re the thin-fat gay married Anglican marines. Why would we need names as well?”

susanSusan the horse

In A Town Called Mercy, the Doctor jumps on a horse saying it’s “official marshal business.” The Preacher tells the Doctor that the horse is called Joshua. The Doctor replies, “No he isn’t,” and then follows it up with, “I speak horse. He’s called Susan and he wants you to respect his life choices.”

Madame Vastra and JennyMadame Vastra & Jenny

I LOVE Madame Vastra and Jenny! Not only are they a married lesbian couple living in the 19th century, they’re also an interspecies couple. We get a glimpse of Madame Vastra and Jenny in a Good Man Goes to War, but we see much more of them in The Snowmen, which is where Madame Vastra introduces Jenny as her wife.

What I love most about Doctor Who’s inclusion of LGBT characters is that they’re so diverse. Some are central characters, while others barely pass through an episode. With some, their sexuality is central to the role and with others, it has no bearing on the role. It feels very true-to-life . . . it doesn’t define the character; it’s just one aspect of who he/she is.

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Carolyn J. Brown on March 28, 2013 at 10:26 am

    This is very well written and designed, Dayle. I love this, gonna share it.


  2. Posted by WillieSun on March 28, 2013 at 11:08 am

    You said it. You can’t watch DW and not be pro marriage equality. I loved Jack Harness when he first appeared mostly because he is just so much more flexible when it comes to dancing. LGBT characters on this show haven’t been a big deal. They are just characters like any other and I love that. I think there was also a lesbian on the season 4 Midnight episode, the one that they later threw out of the train?!

    Mostly I love Vastra and Jenny though and afterellen suggested a spin-off with the both of them and Strax. I’d watch that! Vastra and Jenny are just fantastic
    Great post is what I’m saying!


    • Thank you!!!

      I’m vaguely remembering the character from “Midnight” – guess I’ll just have to rewatch it tonight! . . . I’m sure I missed a bunch of other ones . . . maybe a several-weeks-long marathon is in order 😛 (any excuse, right? 🙂 )

      Unfortunately, I can’t view the video 😦 “This video contains content from BBC Worldwide, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.” . . . But I would LOVE a Madame Vastra/Jenny/Strax spin-off and I would totally watch it!


      • Posted by WillieSun on March 28, 2013 at 6:28 pm

        Weird, I can’t watch the video either even thought I could yesterday. Strange.

        I just watched all DW and I think your list is pretty complete but any excuse to watch DW is always welcome.


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