One of the things I loved about Star Trek: The Next Generation was Lt. Commander Data.
I loved the fact that Brent Spiner, the actor who played him was from Houston. The other reason I adored Data was because I identified with him on another level. Data's journey during the 178 episode run from 1987-1994 was to be human, despite being an android.
Like transgender people, despite Data's obvious competence in his job duties onboard the USS Enterprise and service to Starfleet, faced prejudice and people questioning his abilities. He underwent a trial to determine whether he was Starfleet property or a sentient being. He used his off time to revel in the joys of discovering the simple things and pleasures about life that humans and the other lifeforms on the Enterprise took for granted. He tried to understand the nuanced socialization skills that being human requires. He spent much of his off duty time perfecting his attempts at mimicking human emotions and using them at the appropriate times when possible.
Despite his great intelligence, processing ability and desire to get it right, he didn't always succeed. Sometimes he nailed it, sometimes it turned out awkwardly, but he kept plugging away at it. He asked cogent questions, he worked diligently perfecting it, but in the end he proved to be more human than many people in Starfleet and the Enterprise's crew.
Data's series long journey, in many respects is similar to what we go through as transgender people. Despite the circumstances that we start out with in terms of being in a mismatched body, like Data, we transpeople are on a quest for our humanity as well.
We struggle to deal with all the phases of transition. We fight through the awkward 'tweener' phase in which our bodies are morphing from one gender to the other. We struggle to learn the appropriate age based gender knowledge, gestures, body posture of our desired gender without having the decades long trial and error socialization period to do so. We get used to the subtle and not so subtle differences between the genders and sometimes revel in the journey of discovery as it unfolds.
We also fight for our right to simply be part of the human family. We fight for our right to exist, to be respected, loved and live a happy and productive life.
And just as Data's was a constantly evolving one until the series ended, so is ours as transgender people. We also discover that the peace of mind and joy we receive from traveling through the gender frontier and being comfortable with who we are and in our own skin is worth more than all the latinum in the galaxy.
Live long and prosper, trans Trekkies.