Alright, time to get this small rant out of my system.
I realised today why I don’t like Bloodhound as much as I like Terrier.
For one, I really liked seeing Clary and Tunstall interact in Terrier. And I loved watching the other puppies. But mostly, it was Okha, and how she, yes, she, I’m going there, is handled.
Beka, girl, I love you. You braid your hair, you talk in slang, you’re dreadful shy around people you don’t know even though you’re tough as nails, but Nestor isn’t gay.
He’s lovers with a transwoman. There’s a swiving difference. Hell, Okha says it herself:
“Inside I am a beautiful woman,” Okha said, fiddling with a perfect curl. “The Trickster tapped me in my mother’s womb and placed me in this man’s shell.”
When Okha’s performing, she performs under a female name-indeed, she makes such a ‘convincing’ woman, that what gives her away are her large feet.
When Okha’s at home, even, where does it say she has any male tendancies? It doesn’t. She is a feminine, transwoman.
So, gods curse it Beka, why are you using male pronouns?
Nestor could still possibly be/identify as gay even if his lover is a transwoman. (We only see Nestor with this one lover, and sexuality is fluid enough that he could be in love with Okha but still be gay. One partner does not an identity make.)
But that’s just a small side note.
Now, Beka’s smart. She lived in the Lower City, she knows her way around the streets and she turned in a gang when she was eight years old. Pretty fuckin’ smart, no?
But she’s also only encountered so much of the world. In the world that she lives in, she knows of doxies and cutpurses and Rogues and all that. She’s familiar with the idea that a man and a man or a woman and a woman might lie together as typically a man and a woman do, but as far as we can tell, she has never had a friend who is actually openly gay. It’s probably not something that the people in the Lower City can tell one another, or even something they think to tell one another because their lives are filled with so many more pressing matters.
Where their next meal will come from, for instance, or what to do because their child got taken by the Shadow Snake. That sort of thing.
Because of the circumstances in which she grew up in, I think we can reasonably assume that Beka has never before personally encountered anyone who is openly gay or trans.
So, then, back to the story. Beka is introduced to Okha as a man and Amber as a woman. Since she hasn’t been told that Okha is trans, she has no reason to assume that Okha is actually female and starts to call Okha “he” and Amber “she” just like other people do.
Then Okha tells her about being a woman trapped in a male body. That’s all Okha tells her. At this point, Okha has not told her that she wishes to be referred to by female pronouns. She has not explained anything else in detail.
Why, then, would Beka change the pronouns that she was using for Okha? That would be as disrespectful as addressing Okha by male pronouns when told to use female pronouns. When she has not been told what pronouns to use, the polite and proper thing to do is refer to Okha with the pronouns that Okha herself has told/led everyone else to use.
Beka’s ignorance is part of her character. To have her suddenly force female pronouns on someone who has not told her to do so is not part of her character. She is still learning. While we might recognize that Okha is trans, Beka does not necessarily know what to do with the information or how to process it. There are no commonly used terms to describe being trans in her world, or else we would have seen them. We’ve seen honeylove, after all, as a term for a lesbian.
The first person limited view that we get of her world has its advantages and disadvantages. We get a view into Beka’s mind, but that is all we get. What Beka knows and understands is what she tells us. While we may be frustrated that Beka doesn’t consider or think about Okha as a woman, we have to keep in mind that she only knows to call Okha a man because of her worldview. She only knows so much, and disliking her (or, at least, faulting her) for something that her world has not prepared her for is unfair and unforgiving.
Exactly. It’s also extremely probable that absolutely no conversation about gender identity has been had in the time period this is being set in, especially since, as far as we can tell, it hasn’t even happened in the contemporary Tortall setting, where we left off with Aly.