An analysis of sexuality in Star Trek by Kathleen Moran and Joe Sartelle titled A Kiss is Still a Kiss ... or is it? remarks that
(..) at the level of representation, "The Outcast" is positively reactionary. Theoretically, the J'Naii could have been played by either male or female actors, or both, since they were supposed to be androgynous. In actuality, they were all played by women. The Planet Without Gender turns out, upon visual inspection, to be an offensive stereotype: the Planet of the Lesbian Separatists -- drab, grim, oppressive, unattractive beings who regard attraction to men as an intolerable sickness. When Riker and Soren finally got around to the inevitable Kiss of Forbidden Love, it wasn't controversial in the slightest: we knew that Riker was really kissing a woman, not just an androgynous being who thinks she's a woman. In that sense, "The Outcast" reversed the approach taken by the kiss in "Plato's Stepchildren." Although the context of Kirk and Uhura's kiss was conservative (they didn't want to do it), the visual image of that kiss was not -- it transcended the plot and demanded to be "read" as a controversial, even daring, social and political statement. In "The Outcast," in contrast, the seemingly radical context of Riker and Soren's kiss was overwhelmed by the conservative casting choices. Apparently Jonathan Frakes, who plays Riker, lobbied to have a man cast as Soren
-- a decision which would have made all the difference, and turned "The Outcast" into a truly radical and controversial treatment of the complex issue of sexual desire and identity.