[LMB] Donna and Dono and transexuality

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 12 04:25:53 GMT 2011

> From: Elizabeth Holden azurite at rogers.com

> --- On Fri, 9/17/10, John Lennard <john.c.lennard at gmail.com> quotes Omniverously on lj:
> > Canonically, Donna and Dono are both really
> > comfortable with their bodies.
> > Either Donna should have been gritting her teeth and
> > bearing it for the sake of her Countship, or Dono should have 
> > been all "whew, finally!" ...Being in a body
> > that doesn't feel right, or being misgendered by everyone
> > *really really sucks*, and that wasn't reflected at all. 
> Gender identification is a huge issue, and extremely complicated. But the situation seemed realistic to me in this case because:
> 1. We have to believe that Betan gender reassignment is very, very good. Remember, this is the future, after centuries of study of the issue. Psychological issues are as deftly dealt with as physical ones. They didn't just 's body into a male body, they made her a male person, with the comfort levels that applies to. Including the sense of being male and whatever levels of gender/orientation comfort Dono might wish. And they did it fast. No, we can't do that, but we aren't in Beta colony centuries from now.
> 2. Most people who change genders now do it because they are unhappy with the gender of their body. Some people do it because their body is neither male nor female - they're intersexed. But Donna/Dono did it for political and legal reasons and I don't think we can make assumptions about his/her inner feelings. Maybe he/she was bigendered all her life, and kept it a secret. Maybe Donna wasn't as happy being a woman as she pretended to be. Contrariwise, maybe Dono's exaggerating his confort in the results because he can't afford to let anyone doubt his new masculinity.

> And it's part of a long spectrum of identity issues that Lois has been exploring in all of the Vorkosigan novels. How people conform and how they fail to conform. How they do and don't change. What the essentials of identity are.
> I think in Donna's case, her belief that she had a right and a duty to be Count, overrode other identification issues. She felt she was alread the Count in everything but name, and that outweighed her feeling that she was female.
> elizabeth

I think that Donna's approach to sex is, on Barrayar, more masculine 
(on Beta she'd be seen as totally normal). She likes sex, a lot,  enjoys
 the physical sensations of her body.
And she's determined, she likes to experiment. Maybe if she'd been
male she'd have been another Miles, off having fun through the galaxy.
But on Barrayar, as a woman, she was very limited.

The thought of changing sex came from somewhere. And then there
was that moment of silence, and then, instead of 'No!' came 'Why not?'

She/he also has a, "Well, let's try this and see what it's like." attitude.
I noticed that she/he hasn't dropped all female aspects - Dono goes 
easily into the woman-huddle that's discussing the Vorbretten's new
blastocyst. He doesn't spurn 'female' conversations after the change.
Besides, Donna had slept with - well, everyone. So maybe she/he was
looking for a new target audience?
Or maybe it's another gender - heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and
... just sexual?

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