Episode 6: DS9’s “Rejoined” – is it gay if it’s in space, is it immortality if you’re a computer?

Jadzia Dax and Lenara Kahn kissing, alongside text: "Harold, they're violating Trill taboo."

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Transcript

Charles: Hello, this is Assigned Scientist at Bachelor’s. I’m Charles and I’m an entomologist.

Tessa: And I’m Tessa and I’m an astrobiologist.

Charles: And this week we watched season four, episode six of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, “Rejoined.” So Memory Alpha has a very short synopsis: “Dax is reunited with the Kahn symbiont, the wife of one of her previous hosts and must decide whether or not to ignore trill, taboo and continue their relationship.”

And this episode first aired on the 30th of October in 1995. And the fact that this aired square in the middle of the nineties is in fact very important to the history and legacy of this episode. How’d it  treat you, how’d you like it?

Tessa: I liked it, I liked it. It was pretty bold for the mid-nineties and, like, the sexual and romantic tension between Khan and Dax was very convincing.

It was palpable, annoyingly so almost, ‘cause it’s just like, You guys, just make out already. And then they did.

Charles: I guess more context, more context might be necessary for people who are listening to this, but for some reason not because they’ve seen the episode and they care about it. So technically there was a TNG episode that introduced the Trill [Season 4, Episode 23: “The Host”] but it was a completely, it was not the same idea.

There was the idea that there was a symbiont that lived inside of the abdominal cavity of the humanoid Trill species. But in TNG, the episode, the entire personality was the symbiont. No, like, influence of the host itself. And then DS9 took that idea and they made it, I think, I think much more interesting.

Tessa: Yeah.

Charles: Where the symbiont is the point of continuity between all of these different hosts. But the hosts bring experience to and enrich the Symbian and then it becomes a very interesting thing. The Trill are one of my favorite parts of Deep Space Nine. First, just cause I think that it’s an interesting idea for aliens where they can be very unlike us without looking super different.

And then second, because there’s the obvious trans resonance. So this episode, I don’t think has particularly many interesting sort of scientific ideas, not in the way that The Chase did, really. And I think that’s a, that seems to be a broad pattern in, in looking closely at TNG versus DS9,  where DS9 was a highly serialized show so they didn’t have as many episodes that were just. Here’s an idea. Let’s talk about this for 40 minutes and then forget about it and pretend it never happened, which I think made it a more enjoyable show, but less of a…

Tessa: Less opportunity, less opportunities to talk about, you know, weird science concepts or ideas.

Charles: Right. But, you know, we’re not just scientists, we’re also trans. And we’re not just trans, we’re also gay.

Tessa: Yep

Charles: And so the, the really significant thing about this episode is that Lenara Khan, who is the new host to the symbiont whose previous host was married to one of Dax’s  previous hosts, is a woman. And now Dax is in Jadzia, another woman. And so the show is effectively- well, the episode is effectively a story of forbidden gay romance.

Tessa: And I have to admit, I like the fact that for, you know, Star Trek’s credit in the mid-nineties, it wasn’t the fact that they were two women that made it so taboo. It was the fact that they were two symbionts who had been tied to each other in a previous life.

No the idea is that, oh, it was symbiont. You know, the point of the symbionts is to go out and collect as many experiences as possible. So therefore they heavily discourage symbionts continuing their relationships with new hosts because that defeats the purpose of having one. So I, you know, credit where like there was never really ever, at least to my ears, a whiff of homophobia about it, it was just, you know, had more to do with how symbionts are viewed in their society.

Charles: We, in retrospect, I think we really should have done a double feature with one of my least favorite TNG episodes. I think I’ve maybe watched it once and then never again. And I can’t even remember what it’s called [Season 5, Episode 17: “The Outcast”], but you’ll almost certainly be familiar with it. It’s the episode where there is the species of genderless aliens.

Tessa: Yeah. TNG. Right, right. Riker falls for one of them.

Charles: Yes!

Tessa: Yep. I know exactly what you’re talking about.

Charles: Yeah. And the whole thing is that she identifies as a woman and that’s taboo because her species like has no gender. And I hate, I hate this episode because I think it’s so lazy and does the exact thing that I hate in allegorical science fiction, where it sort of takes for granted the reality of the constructed universe without considering the context in which the show is going to be watched by which I mean to the characters in Star Trek, this species is genderless and so identifying as a woman is taboo. To TV Watchers in the late eighties, early nineties, the actress who played the alien is a woman saying that despite everything she’s going to identify as a woman and specifically what she wants to do is fall in heterosexual love with Riker, which like why, why would you betray your species for Riker?

Tessa: I don’t know. Maybe it’s the beard. I don’t know.

Charles: Maybe. Picard? Absolutely. Geordi? Yes. Riker??? I’m sorry. Jonathan Frakes. You’ve contributed to many of my favorite shows.

So I hate this episode and I hate it because feels very lazy to me. It feels un-daring also, just the safest possible way to tell that kind of a story. Whereas, as you said, I appreciate that DS9 effectively does the opposite where our real life homophobia is not reflected in the reality of Star Trek, because this is a Utopian future where people don’t feel homophobia anymore and people don’t practice homophobia.

Tessa: Yeah.

Charles: But there is still an acknowledgement that what is happening on screen will register as a taboo, but there is an in universe justification for it to be taboo

Tessa: And arguably one that even kind of has a certain logic to it that isn’t just homophobia.

Charles: Yeah, exactly. And so you still get to have a story where two women kissing each other is registered as something…

Tessa: Transgressive.

Charles: That people wouldn’t… yeah, wouldn’t expect to be happening or wouldn’t want to happen, but which doesn’t violate the world building that you’ve established. And this is one thing I’ve always appreciated about this episode and also Deep Space Nine in general, which I think on a lot of cultural levels is a more thoughtful show than TNG probably in no small part because Gene Roddenberry really wasn’t involved – I think he had died right before T DS nine started?

Tessa: Yup. I think that’s right.

Charles: Yeah. And so his particular fingerprints, like his bugaboos, et cetera, are not as influential over the structure of  DS9 as they are over TOS and TNG.

Tessa: The only other thing, and this is something that I’ve always wondered about the Trill, and I don’t even know if there’s an answer in the canon for this… so, you know, you get a symbiont and it’s this sort of like that snake sort of thing that’s implanted in your abdomen, medically.

Charles: They look… terrible.

Tessa: How did, uh, how did the Trill get the idea to do that in the first place? Because that would have not been very intuitive to me that, Oh, hey, if I implant this big fat wormy thing in my abdomen that I found in a cave, I’ll get, you know, it’ll be able to preserve my memories going into the future through a series of hosts.

Charles: Well, you don’t… that’s not your first thought when you see a weird leech? Cause it’s always mine.

Tessa: Oh yeah, yeah. Maybe this will make me functionally immortal.

Charles: Yeah. Oh, God, just as a side note, immortality is a real nightmare. I think the only, like genuinely the only good kind of immortality to experience would probably be the symbiont kind where there is the continuity through a thing that literally has no means of getting out and experiencing the world, except in connection with these humanoids.

But the humanoids themselves still get to die. That’s my thing. How do you feel about immortality?

Tessa: It would depend on the context, like, I don’t know if I’d want to be immortal, but I definitely would not mind a much longer lifespan, but then again, that’s partially due to the nature of my job, which in theory would make things like interstellar travel a lot easier if I didn’t have to worry about, you know, on a very short lifespan… I will say that my wife and I’s long-term retirement plan is to upload our consciousnesses and merge into a single entity and then put that consciousness in an interstellar probe and go explore the rest of the universe. So, which is a little different, but yeah, I mean that, that’s our plan.

Charles: I think about this a lot with regards to uploading consciousnesses, because functionally you are still. Dying.

Tessa: I, this is actually something I’ve thought about a lot too, because for me it only counts if there’s continuity of consciousness, otherwise it’s just a copy.

Charles: This is my- yes! Cause the continuity- cause it’s… Okay, hve you ever seen the show Dollhouse?

Tessa: No, but I’ve heard good things about it.

Charles: Well, you shouldn’t have, because it was a bad show.

Tessa: Oh okay

Charles: But I’ve watched it like four times. So… this was still in the period of time when I identified as a Joss Wheden fan.

Tessa: Right.

Charles: We all make mistakes.

Tessa: Yes. Yes. I mean, even I have made that tragic error.

Charles: Yeah. So, the premise of Dollhouse is that a technology has been developed where somebody’s whole brain and mind can be copied over and programmed. And then all of these dolls are in the Dollhouse – quote, unquote dolls – and they have been wiped to just, uh, as blank a slate, as you can get while still being functional.

And then they get imprinted with these designed personalities and they don’t remember them and et cetera, et cetera, the whole premise of the show begins with this idea that wealthy people want these dolls to then live out sexual fantasies, to do crimes for them, to do whatever… the whole idea of the Dollhouse as a business is that only here can you get someone who is not just pretending to be perfect for whatever job you have, but who is genuinely living that life and believes in it entirely.

Tessa: Yeah. Engineered for it.

Charles: Yeah. Whether that’s somebody you want to have sex with or somebody who’s going, gonna do hostage negotiations, whatever, then it gets revealed that the sort of nefarious eventual plan is for all of these rich investors to be able to, to upload themselves and then continuously live out their lives in these hot young bodies, and then when one of them gets used up, they can just move on to another one, leeches, capitalism, et cetera,

Tessa: Et cetera, et cetera.

Charles: But my problem with this is that you are still dying.

Tessa: Yeah.

Charles: Like, if I went to the Dollhouse and I got in the weird chair that they had, which was very 2010 in terms of aesthetics, and I got in the weird chair and they uploaded my brain… like, I am not experiencing that program. I am functionally dead. And then if they copy me into a new body, I’m, that’s not me. It’s somebody who is almost me.

Tessa: Right, the way…

Charles: But I’m still dead.

Tessa: The way I describe it is, if that if that happened to me, there would be a Tessa in the world, but it would not be me.

Charles: Yeah, exactly. And this also connects to, to Star Trek, not only through the Trill, but in the transporters.

Tessa: Yeah.

Charles: Because they are dissolving your whole body. And then reconstructing it. And so metaphysically is that sufficient continuity that you haven’t kind of died.

Tessa: Right.

Charles: And I don’t know, like, do you have an answer for that? Cause I always come back to it and it’s like…

Tessa: I don’t, like I said, the only way I feel comfortable with that sort of thing is if like again, there is a continuity of consciousness. You know, for example, if you know, it was being uploaded into a new body, if there was at least just for a split second where my consciousness felt like it was inhabiting my old body and my new body, same time, then I would say, Oh, it’s still the same person.

Cause you know, again, my conscious experience has not been interrupted. Um, with the transporters, I don’t know, because, you know, are you simply converting your consciousness into a different format and then reconverting it back to your old format or are you basically destroying it and then recreating it perfectly.

Um, it probably depends on what the subjective experience of being transported is like, and I don’t know if they ever really talk about that.

Charles: I’m not sure that they do. Yeah. Cause it’s also… in Galaxy Quest when Tim Allen, whose character… have you ever seen Galaxy Quest?

Tessa: It is amazing.

Charles: It’s a great movie

Tessa: Every time I see it I appreciate it more and more.

Charles: It’s the only good Star Trek movie, in my opinion. So in Galaxy Quest, when Tim Allen is first brought to their ship, they use like this weird gel transporter. Do you remember this?

Tessa: Yeah, it doesn’t delete… doesn’t like break you down into particles,  just covers you and then punch you through a wormhole.

Charles: Yeah. And it’s terrible. Like the experience of that would be awful, but it is metaphysically very straightforward.

Tessa: It’s much more consistent.

Charles: Yes. It’s much more consistent. And so then my question is knowing the reality of the transporter, where you are molecularly dissolved and then built back up again, seemingly instantaneously…  if given the two options of like the weird gel nightmare through space versus the experientially simple, but metaphysically complex transporter, which one do you think you would choose?

Tessa: Oh, I’d go for the gel, definitely, partially for the metaphysical reasons, but also because honestly I’ve- as awful as I’m sure it is, part of me still wants to actually witness the experience of being violently thrown through interstellar space.

Charles: Yeah, I will say, and I say this with all the affection in the world, but you are, I forgot for a second that you are a space freak.

Tessa: Oh, I am 100%.

Charles: Yeah. Because one of my things is I am, I’m the opposite. I’m very scared of space. Like the idea of being in space is terrifying.

Tessa: I mean, it should be honestly, it is not a particularly hospitable environment in general, but you know, I’m weird. So.

Charles: Well, I’m also –  I’m afraid of boats. Like I don’t like being on boats in general. One of my lesser anxieties is the idea of being stranded in places where there’s like no way to get out, but even in a boat, you know, some driftwood could float nearby, or a very friendly turtle, or something, there’s just nothing in space, baby.

Tessa: There’s nothing in space. Yeah.

Charles: So that’s terrifying to me, but I would probably… all that said, I would probably still take the gel because the transporter really, it really scrambles my noodle, if you know what I’m saying.

Tessa: Yeah, no, I get that. I get that.

Charles: Yeah. I, although at the same time I get so impatient with travel that I might just bite the bullet because here’s the other thing: if you can’t tell that you aren’t the same person, does it matter?

Tessa: You know, that’s something I’ve like, I’ve, I’ve occasionally witnessed debates on this topic in the past. And some people pointed out that, well, you know, technically speaking you have an interruption of consciousness every time you go to sleep,

Charles: They’re not having my vivid dreams.

Tessa: Yeah. And also, I mean, we, again, we don’t know what the subjective conscious experience of being transported as being like, you know, Your brain obviously is still functional when you’re asleep, even if you’re not aware of it. And you’re not aware of time passing and everything. And, you know, I mean, it, I think that’s what makes it difficult is we can come up with similar circumstances…

You know, everybody’s had the situation where you’ve gotten woken up by something in the night and you do something and someone witnesses it and you have no memory of it the next morning. And, you know, does that still count as continuing to have consciousness, if, you know, you don’t have a memory of the event or whatever, but again, you know, I don’t know what the conscious experience, if there is any, of being transported as being light is like, so it’s hard to say whether or not it would be worth it.

And, you know, beyond that, it’s also difficult to say that, you know, if you couldn’t tell, would it matter or not,

Charles: Well even getting into metaphysicality in a more religious direction – one thing that has always come up in my mind is, is just, let’s assume that souls exist, which is a huge assumption, obviously, but assuming that there is such a thing as a soul, I would think, I think there would be, cause that’s the question is… let’s say that you are a Christian in the years of DS9, which… Christians don’t exist in Gene Roddenberry’s universe because we’ve put religion behind us. But let’s just say, I would imagine there would probably be some fundamentalist holdouts who would think that anybody who had taken a transporter was dead and had thus lost their souls. And so the copy of them that was walking around would be kind of a weird spiritual abomination.

Tessa: Right, no, yeah. A body without a soul. Alpha Centauri, the video game, actually briefly talks about that.

Charles: Oh, does it?

Tessa: Yep. It doesn’t really come up in game, but like some of the flavor text, which is plentiful and also very thoughtful and as scientifically grounded as you can hope for a game made in the late nineties, talks about that explicitly.

One of the leaders, one of the faction leaders is like a fundamentalist Christian and talks about, you know, what happens to a soul when you unlock the transporter technology tree (or whatever) in the game, you know, the flavor text is sort of wondering what happens to the soul in these sorts of transactions.

Does it go along for the ride? Or does it immediately leave the body and go to heaven? You know, or is it lost? And then the body is left to wander the planet in despair.

Charles: That’s incredible. Yeah. I’m so glad, cause my thing would be, well maybe if the copy is sufficiently close in both timing and just, like, makeup to the original, my counterpoint, in this future heated Bible study discussion would be… maybe the soul sticks around and is just like, well, this is my vessel now.

Tessa: Right.

Charles: Like how instantaneous is instantaneous enough?

Tessa: I also feel like this gets into the Ship of Theseus problem. Cause you know, another argument is that your body is constantly replacing cells in terms of, you know, the material atomic components that make up your physical being, you know, there is turnover, but on the other hand, it’s not all at once, which is kind of what’s happening with the transporter.

Charles: That’s the other question is because we see in the transporter… what do we actually see, does it go like top down and then bottom up in reconstruction? Because then that would be a very strong argument for what you’re saying, which is that there is some overlap in time when the two exist.

Tessa: That’s actually a very good question. I don’t know if it does.

Charles: I’m going to look. I’m literally, I’m going to look up a video of the transporter right now, because maybe we’ve just cracked this whole thing right open. Okay. So I just watched a compilation and it is sort of a piecemeal, whole body affair. So I, I, you know, I think the answer is that they were not thinking about this.

Tessa: That was my guess.

Charles: And computer technology at the time was not very good. What else does this come up in?

Tessa: Um, I haven’t read it or seen it, but Altered Carbon kind of touches on a couple of your…

Charles: I’m also not familiar with Altered Carbon, either.  

Tessa: Um, basically in that case, you, you don’t have to read it because the author is a transphobic jerk, as it turns out, um, which is kind of bizarre given the nature of the book series he wrote.

But basically everybody has this thing called the cortical sleeve implanted in the back of their skull that basically is a backup of their memory and personality. So if you die, you can just extract that and implant it into a new clone body. And you know, it restores your memories, but you know, that also does bring up the same issue as… does that still count or not? I mean, if the interface is constantly, you know, if the backup in the sleeve is constantly interfacing with their consciousness, so, you know, it’s, you feel like it’s a part of you, it’s a part of your conscious experience then maybe it does count. If it doesn’t, maybe it doesn’t.

Charles: See that intuitively feels more like you are still the same person…

Tessa: Yeah, I agree.

Charles: Than the Dollhouse situation too… and I’m not sure why.

Tessa: Oh, another one that comes up with this explicitly, um, is Cory Doctorow’s novel Walk Away, in which case it’s not even destructive uploading, you can make copies of yourself however many times you want and…

Charles: I, yeah, I think this might be the issue for me. It’s the idea of there being doubles.

Tessa: Yeah.

Charles: Where in the Dollhouse situation theoretically, once you upload somebody’s personality, it is not erased automatically from their brain. That’s a separate act. So you could, and there are situations where somebody has uploaded them like a copy of their brain and then downloaded it into another body.

And the two of them exist simultaneously. And then the new person, obviously, isn’t you, because you’re still you,

Tessa: Right.

Charles: Consciousness, right?

Tessa: Yeah. And I don’t think that, I mean, in Walkaway anyways, this is portrayed as being, Oh, this is practical immortality, but I’m like, I don’t really know if it is.

Charles: Yeah. I think another part of it for me, the problem and describing it as practical immortality is that my cause I think about death constantly and apparently not everybody does, which is really wild to me.

This is what 2020 has taught me, is that a lot of people are suddenly confronted with their own mortality, more acutely and more constantly than they have been before, which is wild to me because I’ve been thinking about death every moment of every day since I learned what it was. So the problem for me with death is not lack of existence because when I don’t exist, I, you know, I won’t be around to care about it.

Tessa: Right.

Charles: So the problem with death and with mortality, for me, is in the anticipation of death.

Tessa: Oh yeah. Yeah.

Charles: And knowing that you’re going to die.

Tessa: Right.

Charles: And so that sort of being able to copy yourself over and over doesn’t confront the initial, actual problem.

Tessa: Right. You are still going to die.

Charles: I’m still dying.

Tessa: Yeah. Your specific individual experience of consciousness will end.

Charles: Which I think then comes back to the question of you and your wife’s plan for after death, which is, is the idea that you will have continuity of experience or is the idea sort of like organ donation in that…

Tessa: Oh no, we want to have continuity of experience. We’ve actually talked about this.

Charles: I don’t know if my organ donation similarly is gonna make sense if I don’t explain it. Which is what I’m thinking is whenever I think about people taking my organs after I’m dead, I’m like, I’m not using them. It’s better for them to go on and go somewhere else. And so then the idea being that this probe would have your consciousnesses in some form because you’re not using them anymore, go out and have human intelligence.

Tessa: We’d want continuity of consciousness.

Charles: Right.

Tessa: I think that’s the idea. It isn’t just to give a probe a really good operating system because it needs one it’s, we, you know, especially for her anyway… so she wants to be able to transcend humanity and see the galaxy. And that implies that she, as in the conscious entity, who is my wife, would still be there for that, which is not the case if she’s just donating a consciousness.

Charles: Yeah. Hmm. Cause then the other question comes and that there’s sort of the fallacy that everything that we are is in our brain and the no part of, you know, and that’s a very common, like what is a person? It’s their brain. If you take the brain, then that’s just…

Tessa: I have feelings and thoughts about that mostly because, well, my lab, I mean, obviously mostly deals with astrobiology and a lot, not my particular area of focus, but a lot of the other people in lab work at with the emergence of life as a, you know, how do you go from non-living chemistry to biology. There are also people who do talk about the emergence of consciousness as a phenomenon and yeah, the idea that you can just transplant the brain or whatever.

It’s not, or, you know, the information that’s in the brain. It’s not just that, it’s how all that information is arranged, which, you know, however many neural connections that are in a brain it’s on the order of what, billions? You know, that’s a lot, you know, a lot, a huge, huge number at any rate that, you know, you have to be able to encode in order to replicate consciousness.

Charles: Well, because the thing that I was leading up to is prefacing it with the fallacy that the brain is everything that we are. But I think it’s a lot less ambiguous about continuity of consciousness if you are physically taking the brain…

Tessa: Right.

Charles: Like if you upload your consciousness to a computer and then you download that into a robot, that’s a little bit ambiguous to me. If you physically take the brain and put it inside a robot body…

Tessa: Yeah, no, I get that.

Charles: That strikes me, correctly or incorrectly, as much more straightforward.

Tessa: Because that way all the context, the connections themselves are preserved, not just the information.

Charles: And so then the question is what if there were the technology to either sort of upload your consciousness as a computer program and then put it in a probe or right, like, as you are nearing the end of your natural, organic lifespan, physically taking your brains and putting them in the probe, which one of those would you choose,

Tessa: I would go with the brain. Um, partially because even if the brain does eventually slowly break down, if you have that connection to the computer system, it will be a much smoother continuous transition from one neural, one substrate of consciousness to another.

Charles: Yeah. What do you think your wife would choose? Would she go brain?

Tessa: I’m not sure. We haven’t had that discussion.

Charles: The relationship conflict of the future. Go on to r/relationships. I want to put my brain in the probe, but my, my wife wants to wait until we naturally die. What do we do?

Tessa: I’m pretty sure she would probably go for the brain if no other reason than she’s feels limited by having a human body and you know, the moment she is offered an upgrade, she’s going to go for it.

Charles: I mean, Don’t we all.

Tessa: Yeah.

Charles: You know, I used to fantasize about being a brain in a jar basically. And then later I realized that meant I was trans.

Tessa: Yup. Yup. Yup.

Charles: It’s such a common, I feel like that is like the common, at least nerd trans experience. I got to make some friends with some real jocks and see how they perceived their personhood.

Cause I don’t know. I got to meet some jocks. I don’t know how to, this is the problem is that there are so few… trans people are all scattered hither and Yon. And you know, at my gym, as far as I know, I’m the only trans person who regularly goes there. And so then it’s like, well, that’s where I find the jocks, if I want to talk to a jock. And this is kind of nerd fitness anyway. Cause it’s an aerial gym, which has kind of the nerds’ fitness.

Tessa: Yeah. I was about to say that, that’s not something that the traditional jocks do.

Charles: Yeah, exactly. So the Trill, so the Trill is an interesting example where the individual humanoids do just die, but some imprint of them is collected in the symbiont. And so there are episodes of  where we actually meet previous hosts because you can transfer them in what looks like magic, but this Star Trek. So it’s science. Somehow those consciousness can be transferred out of the symbiont into other hosts, like into a vessel, which I think complicates the whole thing, a great deal, because that… it gets very much into, this feels like a soul situation.

Tessa: It’s stuff like that… I usually forget because normally, I mean, they use a lot of technobabble, but they usually at least try to include something that vaguely sounds like real physics. And because of that, I tend to forget that psychic powers are actually an established thing in the Star Trek universe and that, you know, that makes the whole metaphysical situation, a lot more complicated.

Charles: It does. Although I will say people always say in reference to being able to like read people’s minds that people don’t think in sentences, but I think in sentences.

Tessa: Yeah, I was about to say I’m… mostly for me, it’s mostly an internal monologue as well.

Charles: I’ve seen a couple of references that this might be a not exclusively a neurodivergent trait, but like a common one. And I don’t know, but like I, somebody could just read my mind and get an ongoing series of distinct, like, legible thoughts.

Tessa: Oh yeah. Yeah. Same here.

Charles: Here, which is not bragging. Cause a lot of them are like, man, I love cats. Cats are so great. Oh buddy, I love cats. It’s a lot of that. So we get pretty boring, but they could do it. Man, I love Lwaxana Troi. Lwaxana is the only woman I’ve ever loved.

Tessa: I mean, you could do a lot worse than Lwaxana Troi.

Charles: Couldn’t I just? Do we have anything else to say?

Tessa: I feel like we’ve, we’ve talked about the Trill. We’ve talked about how, you know, props to DS9 for handling… Oh! So the only other thing I had mentioned is that, for DS9, Lenara Kahn giving Jadzia Dax her earrings because they’re too Klingon for her to wear is the most lesbian thing I’ve ever seen on a Star Trek show.

Charles: I… That didn’t strike me as especially gay, but I think it’s because it’s, it’s not my kind of gay.

Tessa: No, no. Believe me. Believe me, trading jewelry with your ex or current significant other. Because you think it fits them better than it fits you is 100% a lesbian thing. Like my wife, I can imagine it

Charles: Being gay is great. I would never, I would never be straight. No, thanks.

Tessa: Yeah. I can’t say I’m drawn to the idea either.

Charles: Well, I guess one final thought, which is apart from the consciousness discussion, but connected to the gay discussion is, is it gay if it’s in space, which is going to be a recurring theme of this podcast in, in a variety of forms.

So today’s edition of, is it gay if it’s in space: is it gay if you’re both aliens and you used to be married as a husband and wife?

Tessa: You know, if we want to go with the Trill as a trans analogy, which I think a lot of us see them as, um, I don’t know if it’s gay or not. It’s definitely pansexual as hell.

Charles: Very fair. And a great, I think that’s the answer. Um, can’t wait, so that’s, today’s edition of, is it gay if it’s in space? Tune in next time, inevitably, you can find me Charles Wallace on Twitter @cockroacharles, it’s cockroach, and Charles, but the ch overlaps and Tessa?

Tessa: Oh, you can find me on Twitter @spacermase.

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