It seems, at least from "Qpid," that the Qs' humanoid appearance is just for show. The "main" Q is not really a male, for example. After all, Q tells Picard in the episode that given different knowledge, he would have first appeared to Picard as a female.

However, in Deep Space Nine's "Q-Less," Q apparently finds a female civilian attractive, and in the Voyager episodes, we find that Q has been in a relationship of sorts with (Female) Q.

Even the lowly J'Naii consider species with different genders to be less evolved (I wonder what they'd think of The Traveler or Species 8472), so why would the Q, of all species, apparently have gender?

I suppose it's possible that Q don't really have gender, but lesser lifeforms can't "see" this truth of the Q any other way. Energy beings still "mate," I think, so maybe the only way mere mortals can understand this aspect of a Q's life is through a gross approximation.

I'm looking for an in-universe reason, of course.

3 Answers 3


The simplest explanation is that the Q species were not (despite whatever lies Q tries to feed people) always as they are today. There was, according to Q(uinn), a time in which the Q were other than they are now. He refers to this transition obliquely, but the implication is that they shifted from the 'old era' to the 'new era'.

At the beginning of the new era, life as a Q was a constant dialogue of discovery and issues and humor from all over the universe. But look at them now, listen to their dialogue now.

VOY: Death Wish

Although they now appear to be inter-dimensional energy beings, the Q presumably retained elements of their former personalities or else they would all be effectively identical. Since that isn't the case it's possible (if not downright likely) that this includes a preference for gender based on their gender prior to the beginning of the new era. The Q may have transcended the actual need for sex/gender, but they seem averse to altering their personalities.

  • This is pure speculation on your part, but do you think the J'Naii would consider The Traveler or Species 8472 to be "less evolved"? Jan 19, 2019 at 1:45
  • @HamSandwich - I can't think of any good indication that either species still has genders
    – Valorum
    Jan 19, 2019 at 3:34
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    I agree with The Traveler, since he has the ability to shapeshift and presumably appear female. But is it not canon that Species 8472 has multiple genders? Jan 19, 2019 at 3:56
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    @HamSandwich - I stand corrected. They have multiple multiple genders (up to 5). It's not really clear how that works. I suspect the J'Naii would be too busy wondering why they'd all been murdered to spend much time calling Species 8472 'unevolved'
    – Valorum
    Jan 19, 2019 at 4:03
  • I took the new era to be the big bang giving these intelligences from the Q continuum something to play with. It got old fast. Aug 16, 2020 at 22:17

It is unknown if the Q have genders at all. They may very well be completely beyond the notion of genders. It would seem, based on the reaction of Q and the Female Q to Janeway's proposal that they mate and have an offspring between them, in The Q and the Grey (VOY S03E11), that the notion of reproduction isn't something that they really think about either.

What we know for certain, since it's been shown multiple times, is that the Q can adopt any form and any gender they want, from an amoeba to any alien one can think of or even a scarecrow.

We also know that they seem to adopt a form that is more comprehensible to the lifeforms they meet with, as shown during the two brief incursions into the Q Continuum: during Quinn's asylum hearing, in the Death Wish (VOY S02E18), and during the Civil War of the Q Continuum, in the The Q and the Grey (VOY S03E11).

As Quinn said in Death Wish, when he transports Janeway and Tuvok into the Q continuum:

JANEWAY: This is the Q Continuum? A road in a desert?

Q: I told you so.

QUINN: This is a manifestation of the Continuum that we hope falls within your level of comprehension. This way.

In both instances, every member of the Q Continuum have been shown as humans of both genders and everything around the visitors is made to be comprehensible by the human mind.

Also, when Q is stripped of his powers and immortality in Déjà Q (TNG S03E13), he says:

Q: I could have chosen to exist as a Markoffian sea lizard or a Belzoidian flea.

Thus, though it was never stated on screen it seems likely that the fact that the Q seem to have physical genders when manifesting into our universe is merely to blend in and facilitate communication by using a physical form that their people they meet are used to and can easily identify.


According to what the Q have said, they appear in a way that the species they encounter can understand, sort of like Galactus does in Marvel. Being stereotypical male/female would be understandable by most species. That’s why their civil war was shown to Janeway as the American civil war. They knew she was from America and would get the references.

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    "According to what the Q have said" - you should include a quote of what they have said to back this up.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Sep 27, 2019 at 11:14

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