The Turing Closet
Rafaël Garcia-Suarez

My mother? Let Me Tell You About My Mother!

Leon reacts to the Voight-Kampff test in the film “Blade Runner”

This is a fascinating concept that goes beyond homosexuality and into humanity itself. With the rise of LGBTQ, gender identity and expression currently have excited the popular imagination.

As a woman of transition who over the years has participated in gender boards which in many ways fit all the criteria — the person is mostly invisible and the communication is typewritten — and one never knows if the person with whom I was commuting with was cis, trans, pan, demi, non, a-, or whatever. Is the person real or a snert?

People might come asserting themselves to be “lesbians,” but it takes only a few questions to suss that out. If anything it takes on the characteristics of the Vought-Kampff Test from the 1983 film, Blade Runner, where a test is used to provoke an emotional response.

True, in the film the subject’s pupils are of interest, but reaction time is a factor and the answers are revealing. One classic I remember was asking someone who claimed to be “lesbian.”

“Oh? What stand-up comics do lesbians like?”
“Andrew Dice Clay.”

Wrong answer.

The experience of gender colors the person’s answer and even if the person had hardly started on their transition journey, other questions that did not rely on knowing a lot of trans trivia. In fact what we started to find were lurkers who were trying to suss out the trans etiology in a time when transition was highly regulated so that they could parrot it back to psychiatrist in order to slip past gatekeepers.

Anyway, it is the emotions that seem to give folks away.