The last of this story, in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The only statement Kouta Hirano has made about Heinkel’s gender to date is that Heinkel is “neither male nor female.” In Shine I’ve taken that to mean s/he has 5-ARD.
This isn’t quite the same as being transgender, and I don’t mean to take away from trans issues by talking about intersex issues instead. It’s just that Shine has no trans characters (yet?), and, as mentioned, the two groups have a lot of issues that intersect. (No pun intended.) These range from the admittedly slapsticky bathroom confusion to people who have been murdered for their gender identity.
Point is: support trans rights! And intersex rights! And anti-hate-crime legislation! When part of our population has to live in fear simply because of who they are, we all lose out.
(And, in case you didn’t catch it: Yumiko knows.)
Heinkel: Listen, kid, I know you have questions. So ask ’em. Believe me, there’s nothing I haven’t heard before.
Heinkel: Starting with the basics, I see.
Timothy: Is it, like…you’re a woman in a man’s body? I saw that on TV once.
Heinkel: Not quite. You’re thinking of transgendered people.
Some people are born with one physical sex, but the mind of another. If they have the money, they can transition to the body they belong in. Me, I was born somewhere in between. Specifically, I have a thing called 5-alpha-reductase deficiency. That makes me intersex.
There’s some overlap between these categories. Some of us want our bodies changed too, to be fully male or fully female. And even when we don’t, we have a lot of the same issues. Like which restrooms to use. Also, the fact that people tend to panic when they find out.
Timothy: I’m really sorry about that…
Timothy: So are you saying you’re…normal?
Heinkel: Normal? Hah! Kid, you’re working for a secret Catholic hit squad, with a nun whose other personality is a psychopath and a man who can survive a gunshot to the head, to fight witches, demons, and vampires.
Of course I’m not normal. The world isn’t normal. People who don’t fit neatly into one gender are one of the least weird things around. Can you handle that?
Timothy: …You may be unusual, but you’re still my direct superior. If you order me to handle it, I will.
Heinkel: That’s the spirit. You’ve got a bright future with Iscariot, kid.