“Dear Dave, I hope you don’t mind me writing to you, but I’ve got a confession,” Rimmer read out.
Rimmer looked up. “Bet she was a man.”
Lister stared at him. Bet she was a man? That sentence didn’t even make sense. She’d always used female pronouns (and he’d checked if she liked to use any others from time to time, obviously - that was just common courtesy), so of course she wasn’t a man.
“Well, you said yourself she liked Zero-Gee and curries. Bet you she was a man!”
It finally dawned on Lister that what Rimmer meant was bet she was a trans woman. Why would that have been something worth writing a letter to him about, though? It could hardly be called a ‘confession’. And what the smeg did Rimmer think Zero-Gee and curries had to do with being a trans woman (or, if he insisted on using stupid words for these things, “a man”)? He’d heard that outworlders had some pretty whacked-out ideas, but this was taking the smeg.
“Did she have big feet? When you danced the foxtrot, did you wonder why she was shaving?”
Lister continued to stare at him with the same expression of pained disbelief. Why was he going on about this? Why on earth would it have mattered? Plenty of women shaved, just like plenty of men did. It was just one of those little annoyances about being a human that you’d all have a friendly little gripe about down the pub. Not that Rimmer knew anything about that.
Oh. Clearly the smeghead thought he was winding him up with the idea that Hayley might have been trans. That was stupid, even for Rimmer. Lister paused, wondering whether he ought to set him straight about a few things. Seriously, though - having to explain to someone that trans women weren’t men, not even “really” men, not even “used to be” men (except for the genderfluid ones who described it that way, of course)? That the things you liked didn’t “prove” what gender you were? That no reasonable heterosexual guy would care if his girlfriend was trans, cos being heterosexual meant you liked women? Did Rimmer really need all that explained to him? Was the gimboid from the 21st century or something?
Then again, there wasn’t much point educating Rimmer on the right way to talk about trans people, since they, along with the rest of the human race, were all dead.
Lister sighed inwardly. “Just... tell me the confession.”
If anyone had been listening to their conversation, he thought, they would definitely have been laughing. At Rimmer, not with him. But of course, that went without saying.