Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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cylon ‘skin-jobs’ and rights of personhood

a while back a sci-fi series called ‘caprica’ aired. i followed it religiously well before i had seen even one ‘battlestar galactica’. being a big science fiction fan it is strange that i’d never bothered to watch ‘bsg’ but perhaps the word ‘battle’ in the title was enough to put me off.

‘caprica’ came, then went the way of many shows i’ve liked. it was discontinued. since the action in caprica occurs well before the ‘galactica’, about 60 years, no mention is made to ‘battlestar galactica’. then an acquaintance from a book club i belonged mentioned ‘battlestar galactica” after i used and explicative i’d learned from ‘caprica…(it was ‘fracking’ and has nothing to do with natural gas)

so i’ve been watching “battlestar galactica”.

for those who haven’t ever seen the series, cylons are robots with artificial intelligence. they became ‘self-aware’ and eventually were able to synthesize human bodies to house their consciousness, but flesh and blood bodies are easily injured and damaged to the point of non-functioning state. for this reason, they have ‘resurrection’ bodies just like the one that ‘died’ into which to upload their consciousness. there are 12 different cylon ‘human-like’ models. ‘skin-job’ is a derogatory slur used by humans when referring to these beings. altho even worse ones are often used.

for the most part, human beings and cylon humans are at war. but the loathing that humans feel for them seems to go deeper than just their dark, mutual history, a history from which it could be argued that cylons, subsequent to their creation having been enslaved and oppressed by humans have the more justifiable position.

when humans finally learn that some cylons have human bodies, can reason and communicate, feel pain and emotions, have memories, a sense of right and wrong, this does nothing to change the prejudice. instead they loathe them all the more vehemently, and fear them. but because the cylon models are indistinguishable from humans, some people fall in love with them without realising that they’ve been intimate with a ‘skin job’. and at least one such relationship resulted in the cylon model becoming pregnant and giving birth to a baby.

humans do not allow personhood to cylon “skin-jobs”. they are considered machines, despite the fact that they are flesh and blood, have memories, emotions.

being a poet, primarily, and thus wont to see analogies and metaphor, i began to see a commonality shared by trans-women and human-form cylons. that being, no matter how hard either may try, they will not be granted personhood. a cylon, despite fighting side by side for the humans with whom they live, are still viewed as ‘less than’, or ‘other than’ human. the trans-women, despite being relegated to a place lower than cis-women in society, despite going to much trouble to be women, despite having the same emotions, pain, as their sisters are denied womanhood.

so i say to my cis-sisters: “we are not now, nor have we ever been at war with, or attacked by transgender women. they share the plight women share and suffer things we will (thankfully) never know! how can we deny them personhood?, womenhood?!”

my daughter is not a cylon. she will not be resurrected into another body. but she is also NOT a male! she is a beautiful transgender and affirmed female. one who has, since she was 3 years old, been a real girl, despite the body she into which she was “uploaded”. one who has already suffered discrimination for being a girl, when she could have told the bully “i am not just a ‘stupid girl’!”. she will earn the same amount less than a man that any other woman will. she will be even more likely to be raped or abused than any other woman. so how dare you? my sisters. how dare you deny her the womanhood into which you were entitled by mere accident of birth?!