Sex and Gender in Klingon

Somebody once wondered whether Klingons would have a way to describe the transgender or third gender persons. Besides of the philosophical question, this articles regards the topic from the linguistic point of view.

Pronominal prefixes

All of the pronoun problems that transgender people have in English don't exist in Klingon. When talking about a transgender, nothing changes in standard speech. One still uses ghaH and the same pronominal prefixes.

Nouns

We have at least four words that are gender specific:
loD man, male TKD
be' woman, female TKD
maqoch close male friend of a male KGT
chaj close female friend of a female KGT

And of course all family terms like mother/father, aunt/uncle etc.

English has gender specific terms like waiter/waitress, actor/actress, steward/stewardess. Klingon does not:
joH equally means lord and lady
Qun equally means god and goddess
SuvwI' simply means warrior
HoD is the captain, no matter if male or female

Cultural issues

bubble   This is an OPINION PAGE. It may contain different points of view about different parts of Klingon. You may add useful thoughts, but please remember this is not a forum.

written by Michael Roney, aka naHQun (1)
Male and female Klingons can equally serve in the military (which is pretty much all of the Klingons we see on screen). They can both wear the same standard uniform. And to some ears, their names all just sound Klingon. K'Ehleyr doesn't sound like a girl's name. It just sounds Klingon. 98% of the time, we see no separation of men and women. They all just blend together and do their jobs.

If you wanted to purposely misgender someone in Klingon, you would have to straight out say "is a man" or "is a woman". The chances of doing that by mistake are very slim. Most English mistakes are due to pronouns.

While I'm all about new vocabulary, I'm not sure I want a word for "to be transgender". What if Klingons just don't care about gender? Maybe they don't have a term for "tomboy" or "tomgirl" because they just let people be themselves. "They're rough". "They're gentle". "They don't want to be a warrior". "They want to be a farmer". We only coin terms for things when the need arises. What if the need never arose?

If that was the case, we would only need 3 terms for sex (and zero for gender): male, female, and intersex.

So as much as I would love a page full of terms on gender, I would rather have a culture that never developed the need for them. Sure, that'll make some of my translations more difficult, but I'll deal. Just give us a term for "intersex", and I'll be good.

References

1 : message to the mailing list of 08 march 2016

Category: Vocabulary    Latest edit: 08 Jan 2017, by KlingonTeacher    Created: 08 Mar 2016 by KlingonTeacher



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