So out of curiosity I decided to check out the new show Voltron: Legendary Defender. (Disclaimer: I have no nostalgic ties to Voltron. I didn’t even know what it was until recently. Also, spoilers if you haven’t seen the show.) What did I think?
I thought it was good, but not great. I especially would’ve liked more female characters. But, I did love Pidge. And the reason why was because I could definitely see them (I think Pidge might be non-binary or transgender so I’m using they pronouns just to be safe) as being autistic.
For starters, they don’t like it when people touch their things. I can relate to that a lot. Secondly (and perhaps most importantly) is that they are EXTREMELY smart and tech savvy (more than the rest of the team) and they absolutely LOVE robots, to the point where they form a really close bond with one (and is devastated when that robot can’t be with them anymore).
Another clue is that they’re oddly specific. At one point, when Princess Allura tries to dig more info from them, they go on a tangent and say how they like peanut butter and other peanut products but not actual peanuts (they think peanuts are too dry) and has a bit of a hard time picking up social cues. They are VERY close to their family and fixate on wanting them back and has some trouble forming with the rest of the team (the closest they get to is Shiro, who is very calm and soft spoken and patient).
I think a major clue is their gender presentation. There’s a lot of research that presents a link between autism and gender dysphora. Just google “autism and gender identity” and you should have lots of links to studies and articles on it (there are too many for me to link). And the thing about Pidge is that they were assigned female at birth (unless it’s revealed that’s not the case later), presented as a boy at the start of the series (for plot reasons) and just sort of stayed that way. Even after they said “I’m a girl” they still go by the name Pidge and don’t present more femininely. So I think that’s a major clue that Pidge doesn’t fully align with the gender binary and is probably figuring things out in addition to being autistic.
The show only has one season consisting of thirteen episodes so far but from what I’ve seen there’s enough evidence to suggest Pidge is autistic and non-binary or trans. I can’t wait to see where the show will take this character in the upcoming seasons.