Everyone in furrydom has heard about the "Fur and Loathing" episode: which, in spite of the playful jabs and jokes, didn't actually condemn nor condone fursuits. Grissom, in typical style, understood some of the underlying psychology even as Catherine was completely baffled by it. In the end, the episode demonstrated more of what non-fursuiters thought about fursuiters than any overt condemnation (or approval, for that matter).
Last night's episode was several shades darker: A dead woman in a sportscar turns out to be a post-op transexual, setting off our intrepid investigators through the underground world of transexuals. They follow several twisty evidence trails to find out who Wendy really was and why would someone want her dead. Among all the typical black humor jabs like "So, his blood... her blood?" and the interviews with showgirls (who apparently are mostly trannies of one stripe or another) and other adventures into 'their world', it all came down to a crime of passion/betrayal which indirectly related to the victim being gender-reassigned.
The moral point of this episode is that the gender-dysphoric are misunderstood by the general populace in a much more serious way than those with differing sexual preferences. While there were a couple of stereotypical 'too male to hide it' characters in the episode, the majority of trans were portrayed in a more realistic light... and in that light, they were seen to be as human as everyone else. The main CSI character, Grissom, even wins the trust of Wendy's friend Mimosa enough to get the clues to unravel the tangled knot of gender and motive. For Grissom, this is another look into the psychological pain of the gender dysphoric; as Mimosa said, "...but you, you get us."
At the end of the show, Mimosa tells Grissom that she has to inform Wendy's parents of how she died, even if they never approved of their child's "lifestyle". Grissom suggests to show them an oyster: there are two kinds of male oysters, one which can change its gender at will; "before humanity crawled out of the primordial muck, perhaps it had the same option and maybe we were supposed to be able to switch sexes... the mutation may be staying one sex."
It's an interesting speculation, and one that rings plausible. I have several friends who have taken the difficult path to correct their gender dysphoria, and at one time in my tortured adolescence I briefly entertained the idea myself. I resolved my gender dysphoria by recognizing my inherent duality and by choosing to be among friends who accept me as who I am. I acknowledge that I am not only bisexual (as in sexually interested in both sexes) but bigenderal (as in having physical and psychological components of both genders). As shaterri once described me, I'm a boy in a very good [girl] costume. And while there are times I wish I could take the costume off for a break, those times are the exception and not the rule. So, I know (in a very small way) how emotionally disruptive it can be to be gender-dysphoric. I definitely know how it feels to be an outsider, to be the victim of prejudice because 'they' don't understand and don't want to understand.
It's the primative part of the brain that says 'different is bad'. One small piece of ancient molecular memory which only thinks on its molecular level that something different is a threat to survival. As we evolved into societal creatures, that little snip of memory influenced a larger area of brain, discriminating against more abstract things like religion and behavior. And once religion got that idea, well, we know what happened next. Jihad, crusades, ethnocentrism and imperialism at their worst.
There is now significant biological proof that homosexuality isn't a choice nor is it limited to humans -- there is evidence that every higher-order species has it. Heck, there's a famous male-male penguin couple in a zoo that the handlers give all the orphaned chicks to as they are better parents than many of the het-mated pairs! Likewise, there are a lot of species that can shift gender besides the oyster -- Budgerigars are known to switch genders under certain conditions (like population crowding) after they've become 'sexually mature'. I find it difficult to believe that nature would evolve such behaviors on a whim, and if it's found in nature it cannot be 'unnatural' as some religious zealots decry.
The business of living is hard enough without the added stress of personal prejudices forced upon others. As Mimosa said to Grissom "... We have enough enemies as it is." And that, I think, is a sad truth. After thousands of years of civilization, we should be better than that.