The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

There is no good reason for the Doctor (Doctor Who) to regenerate as a woman.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/14/2013 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,918 times Debate No: 36671
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (1)




Doctor Who is a family show. It is not a vehicle for shoving liberal/feminist values down people's throats (which a transgender Doctor would be, almost by definition). We shouldn't change the Doctor's gender without a good reason, and I don't believe there is one.


- BOP is on Con to provide a valid reason.
- Launch straight into argument in Round 1.
- "Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death" is not valid for anything, as it was satire.


This question is the same as any other of a hundred about a casting choice; why?
While I'll trust the creative team's decisions, there remain many valid reasons why.
Firstly why not? Why have that accident instead of another one? Why have that hair color instead of... and onward.

Regeneration has over the course of the series, been proved to some extent to be willfully controlled. Such as the master refusing regeneration (in effect committing suicide) [1]. The Doctor growing a new fighting hand [2]. River Song pouring all her remaining regenerations into The Doctor [3], then proceeding to use her remaining traces to age in reverse.
If a Time Lord wishes, they could likely force their next regeneration to have details they want (the Doctor fearfully checks to ensure he still only has one head following regenerations).

Repeating many of the sentiments above, there is a chance each time a Time Lord regenerates that they have any feature. The Doctor himself once briefly thought he was a woman following a regeneration [3]. Each time a Time Lord dies, they roll the dice (yes I believe they can also force exact details they want; however the Doctor has tried and failed to become a ginger). The odds of becoming a woman are equally small each time, yet the odds slowly stack making it more likely to occur.
Sex is the smallest matter of differences in DNA, the Third Doctor randomly had precise tattoo [4].

The Corsair:
One of the Doctor's friends, known for switching sexes. Described by him as "one of the good ones" except when female, then "she was a bad girl" [5].

Blind Casting:
The Doctor is a silly alien shape changer, that manipulates people. The Doctor could bare in any appearance... Casting should not be limited to White/Male. Morally casting should be open to any performer with the right talents. Prior to playing River Song, Alex Kingston (as one example) would have made a great doctor.
Who wouldn't watch this?

Character Focus:
There are many interesting things they could explore with a female time lord; however with the focus of the series being on The Doctor those ideas would get diminished attention. By the female Time Lord being The Doctor, the show would remain fully focused on the title character, while being able to explore new territory thus staying fresh.

Not Transgendered:
When a Time Lord regenerates, it is another potential them freshly born.
If anything it would actually de-transgender The Doctor, since all men started with female sex organs in the womb before going through the hormonal changes thanks to the y chromosome switching them to male. Thus if basic biology is to be believed, The Doctor has always been transgendered. A female Doctor Who would be the first non-Transgendered one in the history of the series.

Fan Interest:
Best exemplified by former series star John Barrowman praising the idea, then adding "Give it a whirl, if it doesn’t work she can always regenerate, she can always regenerate back to a man" [6].

Debate Round No. 1


1. "Why not?" is not a valid reason. BOP is on you to explain why so.

2. "Choice", "accident" and "The Corsair" prove that he CAN become a woman, but they do not prove that he should.

3. "Blind casting" - actors must possess qualities of the characters they portray (e.g. the Queen must be an old white woman, not a young black man). The Doctor is, and always has been, a "mad MAN in a box". Time Lords are not genderless, they are firmly established as male or female (the Corsair is an exception, not the rule). Why should the Doctor change from his original gender? BOP is on you.

4. "Character focus" - what subjects (appropriate for a family audience) could a female Doctor explore that a female companion can't? We can always revive a female Time Lord if necessary.

5. "Not transgendered" - your information is flawed, fetuses have indeterminate gender before becoming male/female (" )."Also, the Doctor is still transitioning from male to female, so he would still be transgendered. Your point is irrelevant.

6. "Fan interest" - Barrowman is incorrect. Once a character becomes a girl, it's very difficult to go back (" ).

We know the Doctor CAN become a woman, but you must prove that he should. Only two of your points (3 and 4) address this, and neither meets BOP without further elaboration. BOP is on you to prove that the Doctor should become a woman.


Firstly we seem in agreement that there is nothing stopping the Doctor from regenerating with two X-chromosomes instead of one, thus my first goal is accomplished.
With that complete, I'll proceed with reply to last rounds points, then focus on reasons for the doctor to become a woman.

Character focus - "We can always revive a female Time Lord if necessary."
He used to have a female Time Lord companion named Romana. A script editor decided it would be funny to have her waste a whole bunch of her limited regenerations "'trying on' different bodies instead of different outfits" [7], which needless to say is badly insulting to women. Worse Romana was not injured or otherwise prior to doing this.
Doing a female Time Lord properly would be essensal to correct such a huge blunder. With a very limited number of time lords remaining (having more show up as randomly would lessen the value of the Time War), the Doctor would be the best choice to redeem themselves. Doubly so since the focus of the show would not become divided by a contest of which Time Lord is best.

As for issues a female Doctor could explore... The entire other half the the human emotional experience for starters. We have had 50 years to see a make time lord in depth, he's had kids and grandkids, even had to kill them, and suffer the pain. The pain of a father is different than the pain of a mother. Since pro asserts the show must only explore subjects "appropriate for a family audience," families like shows about mothers, and women having babies. Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman being a great example; The Doctor could have babies, missed periods, and other lessons to help girls grow up; all while still being the strong lead on the show; and keeping the audience endlessly entertained.

Not transgendered

Thank you pro for correcting my mistake, fetuses actually have both male and female tubes developed inside them; as your source confirms. Making human sex differation even more confusing. But I do agree, unimportant to this debate. Point dropped.

Blind casting - "the Queen must be an old white woman, not a young black man"
What a terribly racist No True Scotsman fallacy and Appeal To Tradition (should we stick with trying to bleed the fever out of people, since that's how it used to be?; and utterly not on Doctor Who where the Emperor can be a midget, and the Queen Regnant doesn't need to be old or white; heck she can be a reasonable young-ish black woman [8].
old white woman?
(old white woman?)

Opening the door to women in casting selection, doubles the potential good Doctors choices to be found, in turn likely increasing the quality of the show (assuming there are talented female actors, which I do).

Fan Interest
From pro's source "Mandys Law On Anime Gender Bending," Doctor Who is not an anime, the source is entertaining be off topic.
Also The Doctor has already been a woman, in award winning official comic; he did not stay that way long, but I've heard of no outcry against it.

New Point: Fun
It would be fun! Which is the very reason to watch the show to begin with. Just imagine the Doctor outsmarting old enemies, who mistake the male companion for the doctor.

Plus it would not upside any families if the Doctor and Captain Jack Harkness flirting lead to something, the way it might with a male Doctor.


Debate Round No. 2


1. "Character Focus."

Not true. The best candidate would be Jenny, who is already a Time Lady and still very young as of her last appearance (despite being physically an adult). Bringing her back would also allow the Doctor to be a father-figure again, which hasn't been explored since the classic series and is a far better use of his character. Your argument about people debating which Time Lord is the best is flawed for a simple reason - the Doctor is the show's main character. As long as any Time Ladies remain companions rather than trying to usurp the Doctor's role, there will not be a problem.

2. "Blind Casting."

I didn't make my meaning clear. "The Queen" refers to the present-day Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, unless otherwise stated or you're from a country that has its own monarchy. My apologies for assuming you'd know that. Obviously a fictitious monarch can be portrayed by anybody you like.

Argument from tradition? BOP is on you to prove that the tradition needs to change (says so in the rules). The Doctor works fine as a man, you have to provide a good reason for making him a woman.

3. "Fan Interest."

If you had actually read the TvTropes article I linked you, particularly the examples, you would see that the rule applies outside of anime as well (they even have a drop-down called "Real Life"). The name just means the rule originated in anime and then applied elsewhere. As both you and the voters are capable of READING, I don't need to go into this any further.

Comics aren't canon to the TV series, so they're not precedent.

4. "Fun."

Fooling enemies with a gender swap would be funny and entertaining the first time, but becomes boring every time after. And not to sound all touchy-feely and politically correct, but changing the Doctor's gender for a one-off gag is insulting to both women and trans people.

The Doctor changing his gender would upset families. Having him hook up with Jack would just get the show cancelled. Also, you are confusing physical sex with sexual orientation (and with gender identity for that matter). Just because the Doctor regenerates into a woman doesn't mean he'll like guys or think of himself as a girl. That too is insulting to trans people and gays. The flirting between the Doctor and Jack was played for laughs because it wasn't serious, and that's the way to avoid offending people.

5. It's offensive.

By regenerating the Doctor as a woman, you offend those with conservative/old-fashioned values. By addressing sexual matters in a show that children watch, you will offend parents and moral guardians (not to mention screw those kids up big time). If the Doctor is unhappy with changing gender, you will offend trans people. If he adapts to the change really easily and starts behaving like a woman, it will come across as sexist and cliche. The gender swap will also change how the fans relate to the character, and potentially put them off the show.

There is simply no way to change the Doctor's gender without upsetting most of the viewers. And before you say "they can adapt", it would be easier for the few extremists who want a female Doctor to adapt - or just stop watching entirely if having a white, British male in the role offends them so much.

And just to remind you yet again, BOP is on you. You're the one wanting to change the status quo, so you have to give good reasons. If your reasons aren't good enough, you lose. All I have to do is debunk your arguments.


By claiming my "reasons aren't good enough," pro has admitted they are good; which is basically a concession of the resolution in question.
His attempt at changing the resolution to be if there should be a female Doctor Who or not ("You're the one wanting to change the status quo"), is irrelevant at best, as this debate is exclusively about if there are any good reasons. A good reason for something, need not beat out better reasons for something else. There being reasons against it, also does not change that.
To use an analogy: when someone says they're clean, there are good reasons not to use protection; even if there are better reasons to be safe anyway.

"Not true."
Let's analyze what is claimed to be untrue:
  • "...Romana. A script editor decided it would be funny to have her waste a whole bunch of her limited regenerations "'trying on' different bodies instead of different outfits" [7], which needless to say is badly insulting to women."
    • Calling this a lie is unwarranted (a DDO term meaning not backed by evidence); whereas the source for my claim is warranted (backed by evidence). What they did with Romana was as badly insulting to women, as it would be to men if The Doctor and The Master tried to settle their differences with an actual pissing contest.
I have nothing against seeing one of the Doctor's kids again, however unless pro was also claiming woman having a different emotional experience from men as untrue, this walks into my suggestion of the doctor experiencing motherhood. One of his kids from before would even skip the pregnancy plot (even more family appropriate)... Also since it was Jenny that was brought up, she's not a Time Lord (the ruling elite), and has no connection to even the lowest of Gallifreyan culture [9]. Thus pro has provided no counter option for exploring a female Time Lord who isn't a suicidal dolt (Romana, wasting regenerations to try on different faces). Leaving The Doctor the best choice, thus a good reason.

"As long as any Time Ladies remain companions rather than trying to usurp the Doctor's role, there will not be a problem."
Actually arguing that a character who is a female Time Lord, must not do anything to risk becoming more popular to fans (thus usurping his role), is almost beyond sexist. That'd be like saying River Song shouldn't be able to pilot the Tardis since she's a woman (which usurps the doctor's role as the controller of the box).

"Obviously a fictitious monarch can be portrayed by anybody you like."
Badly conceded point, since Time Lords are the Gallifreyan ruling elite; being the last makes The Doctor highly comparable to a monarch ("one that holds preeminent position or power" -Merriam Webster dictionary [10]).

"Argument from tradition?"
A rather clear attempt to misrepresent my arguments, since I stated "What a terribly racist No True Scotsman fallacy and Appeal To Tradition" which refers to two separate logical fallacies, neither of which being an "argument from tradition."
  • "Appeal to Tradition is a fallacy that occurs when it is assumed that something is better or correct simply because it is older, traditional, or 'always has been done'" [11].

"The Doctor works fine as a man"
Yes, but that does not change if there are good reasons for The Doctor to ever be a female.

"read the TvTropes article I linked you, particularly the examples"
Since pro has asked for their sources to be further dragged through the mud... 20 examples from anime (some which let the character go back and forth at a whim), 7 examples from live-action tv, of which half had the character return to their original.
Plus poor conduct by claiming I can't read because I took it easy on such a poor source.

"Comics aren't canon"
Unwarranted, as there is no source claiming official Doctor who things are not canon.
Further the story The Flood "would have shown the Eighth Doctor's regeneration. Russell T Davies personally asked DWM's staff if they would like to produce the scene and they agreed initially. However, they found no way to remove Destrii (his companion) without killing her off, which they were unwilling to do. Neither would the BBC allow the strip to feature her travelling with the Ninth Doctor. These factors meant the scene was cancelled and it ended with the Eighth and Destrii still together" [12].
Directly working together to avoid story conflicts (like they do with the TV show), therefore canon.

"gender swap would be funny and entertaining..."
A good reason for it. Also as for a "one off gag," at no point did I suggest the Doctor must stay a woman for any length of time. Heck it could even be a single episode plot with him returning to his previous form at the end.

Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Jack212 3 years ago
@ Ragnar

Sorry, that 3 day thing was my bad. I'm impatient, and it seems to have backfired.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
3 day voting period.
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
Lol you should have advertised this earlier. Good debate though guys
Posted by Jack212 3 years ago
@ Ragnar

I don't care if he stays white, but thanks for the advice.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Even with the poor showing I made, I wish this debate had been decided by more than a single vote (both pro and I tried to advertise it). I've started an opinion question on the broader topic of this:

Pro I suggest trying this debate again with a refined resolution, probably along the lines of "Doctor Who should not spend one of his regenerations as a woman." Such would avoid the single episode play to semantics I pulled, and be something you can support instead of just trying to defend an absolute. If doing such, I strongly suggest putting a rule in place about ignoring the 13 Lives rule, since probably every fan hopes he finds a way around that (also if you want him to stay white, make that it's own debate).
Posted by Jack212 3 years ago
@ imabench

Yeah dude, where were you? LOL
Posted by imabench 3 years ago
Damit I didn't get my vote in in time >.>
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
I related your highest point under Character Focus, to my highest point of that heading from the previous round. You used a period (not a comma as claimed), then moved on. If it was not refuting the Romana arguments, you left the need for them to make up for that portrayal an unchallenged good reason.

I did (mildly) address the ambiguity of your statements, somewhat favorably: "unless pro was also claiming woman having a different emotional experience from men as untrue, this walks into my suggestion of the doctor experiencing motherhood."

Finally in future arguments I highly suggest never making statements which lead to "my having given no indication that's what I was refuting." Quotes as headings are my preferred method for clarity, but you may find others that work well for you.
Posted by Jack212 3 years ago
Con committed a confirmation bias in Round 3.

I said, "Not True. The best candidate would be Jenny..."

Con chose to interpret the "Not True" as relating to what he said about Romana, despite my having given no indication that's what I was refuting. While my using a comma instead of a full-stop did leave the application of "Not True" ambiguous, that does NOT mean Con can apply it to whatever he chooses. He should have either tackled the ambiguity or just left it.
Posted by Jack212 3 years ago
@ Shadowguynick

Reincarnating as a woman would, by definition, make the Doctor transgendered. And if you know how it would "spice things up", you should message your suggestions to Ragnar to use in the debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: My RFD for reliable sources in blatantly obvious. Con wins this just because he actually bothered to use sources, and they were used to support his main points.