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Madame Vastra, a Silurian, often goes around Victorian London in a veil to protect her identity and to help her blend in with the crowd.

However, she does this when accompanied by Jenny (a human) and Strax (a Sontaran). Now Jenny won't raise any eyebrows from passers by. But Strax is quite noticeably alien. What's the point in wearing a veil when you're accompanied by a miniature potato alien?

As the photo below shows, the veil doesn't even stop anyone from seeing her face.

Vastra Strax

On several occasions (for example, in The Crimson Horror) Strax's appearance...well...somewhat unnerves potential clients. If Strax is freaking people out then there hardly seems much point in donning a disguise.

Surely we can't suppose that the veil was a fashion choice. Why exactly was Vastra so intent on wearing it?

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    He's not alien, just really really ugly. And let's be honest, there's lots of ugly people out there – Valorum Oct 14 '17 at 13:42
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    What Valorum said. There's nothing obviously alien about him that couldn't be explained by some form of deformity. Not quite the same thing with a humanoid reptile. (Though I have serious doubts about the accuracy of that list he linked to...) – Anthony Grist Oct 14 '17 at 14:27
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    It's completely obvious if you know aliens exist and most of the range of human variation, like most modern people have. If you're in a time period where maybe you've seen a couple people from a couple different races, mostly not at great length because racism, and have heard about others, not to mention various deformities that are less likely to be treated, he just looks like "grey skinned guy, I've never seen anyone from Guam so maybe he's from there, and they're all short and pudgy and ugly, or maybe it's a particularly nasty brand of syphilis." – starpilotsix Oct 14 '17 at 16:02
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    @TheDarkLord - He's probably escaped from a freak show. – Valorum Oct 14 '17 at 16:15
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    @TheDarkLord - Yes. We even have an episode where Clara's view of it changes over time – Valorum Oct 14 '17 at 17:33
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From a real-world viwepoint, the veil does not obscure the character's face because we want to watch the actor act. It's only a visual conceit.

In-universe, it is likely much thicker, and more obscuring. And as alluded to in a comment above, it's very possible that it can change its opacity, depending on how necessary the disguise is needed. Clara is told the veil vanished "once [she] stopped seeing it"

If there's one thing that we've learned in the series, is that humans are very good at writing off things they can't understand with the slightest of explanations. So hand-waving off Strax as a neckless, bullet-headed thug from Forn Parts would be relatively easy. A lizard woman would need a bit more work.

And a lesbian relationship would require even more, which is why that too...wears a veil, if you will.

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