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Liberal Fans Want STAR TREK Out of the Closet

April 7, 2014


“Slash,” such as a Kirk/Spock romance in Fan Fiction, has been around
as long as STAR TREK has. And, I guess, that’s cool. Some of it even
borders on being actually funny. And while all of this is going on,
there is also a very vocal group of STAR TREK fans, perhaps emboldened
by the “slash” that’s so prevelent, continues to harp on – and
complain about – the supposed lack of homosexual characters,
in this franchise. The fact that STAR TREK – right out of the gate –
chose to hire homosexual actors is not enough for them (George Takei
and Merritt Butrick, as examples). The fact that there have been a
number of lesbian, onscreen kisses, one or two being in the “Mirror
Universe” (alternate dimension), is not enough for them. What do they
want to see? Hairy-legged women and limp-wristed, effeminate men?
All for the appearance of being – supposedly – “Progressive”? Yes,
there are gays in the military. There probably always have been. And
thanks to President Obama, the United States military now has Gay
Pride Parades, on base. with special Gay Marches, to celebrate the
road least travelled.

I have occasionally wondered if Captain Kathryn Janeway wasn’t really
the first gay character on STAR TREK. Asking myself – sometimes aloud,
in the shower, perhaps – “is Janeway a hardcore lesbian? Or a fellow
heterosexual … in disguise?” I even heard a rumor that the young man
on the USS Saratoga in VOYAGE HOME was supposed to be gay. Certain
aliens have had sexualities that seemed to be a metaphor, at least for
homosexuality, already. But again, that’s not enough. This certain
group of fans has to see same sex partners open-mouth kissing
eachother and having sex scenes, all the time. Most straight men would
probably not be the least uncomfortable if the couple was lesbian. Gay
males could be expressed by having them hold onto a man’s handa just a
touch too long after shaking it. Maybe they could wear hawiian shorts,
pulled above the naval and sandles, on their day off. Nothing too
contoversial, you know?

But as young men are the main audience for STAR TREK, it’s at least
possible that they would be made uncomfortable, watching two men
getting it on – even simulating sodomy – each week. And even when they
get what they wanted, these
fans will not be satisfied with whatever they are presented with.
There’s no end to it. I know there will come a time, eventually, when
the most flaming liberal character will finally make their appearance
on STAR TREK and when they do, I know that – to start with, at least –
their gayness will be featured and showcased every other episode. And
then what?

See, that’s kind of the thing, as far as this big push for
homosexuality in STAR TREK. Gay can’t be anything more than gay. It
can’t evolve, it can’t change. It can’t be anything of any real import
of value. It is what it is. It’s a dead-end, though,
as far as storytelling would be concerned. Hopefully, we will see STAR
TREK get this out of its system and have it simply entertain for
entertainment’s sake, without having to be so self-important and
Liberally aware.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Altstartrek permalink
    April 7, 2014 4:39 am

    I think one way to introduce gay characters in Trek would be to have them in the background, just being like everyone else. Because in the 24th Century, it wouldn’t be an issue, it would just be fact…there’d be no need to make big statements at all. Also, the whole point of Starfleet is not to bring your love life outside your quarters, so it makes sense on that level.

    But thinking about this point a little more…it means there would be no way to know if they’re gay or not. Every background character on Trek might’ve been gay already, we just never knew.

    Seriously though, the best way to deal with a social issue in Trek is not to make it an issue – just treat it like other issues e.g. race: you take the ideal target, all races being equal, and show it on screen e.g. black captains, Chinese admirals etc. Surely this is the best way to convert those who are racist/homphobic etc. by making them like or admire characters who are a different race/sexuality who they’ve grown up being told to hate…it might even get them to change their views, who knows?

    An example of this is DS9: everyone lauds ‘Far Beyond the Stars’ as a case of Trek tackling racism, but I think episodes like ‘In the Pale Moonlight’ make a better argument. One episode seems to be screaming for attention, saying things we already know in a context we’re familiar with, whereas the other one shows a black character being a complete human being, flaws and all, that anyone of any race can relate to. And how often do black actors get to play a character with that kind of depth?

    So, if a main character is gay, treat him the exact same way you would any other main character…give him/her a love interest now and then, but don’t make it about their sexuality because why would that be an issue? Like this piece said, there’s no story there, unless they fall in love with an alien from a homophobic culture. Far better to make them a strong character who also happens to be gay. Just like Sisko, a strong character who just happens to be black.

  2. Chris permalink
    June 18, 2014 9:50 am

    There’s nothing contraversial about homosexuality, so there’s no need to avoid controversy. Gay relationships should simply not be shirked from as they have been in the past.

    The only reason they aren’t presented in Star Trek as naturally as they occur in society is because of prejudice and discrimination. The call for more gay characters should not be a call to shoehorn in gay relationships for the sake of it, but simply to have the show (and indeed all TV) represent homosexuality as naturally and unselfconciously as it represents heterosexual relationships. Not to saturate with unrealistic numbers, but simply to cease consciously avoiding them taking their rightful place alongside the heterosexual representations that occur on the show all the time.

  3. July 8, 2014 8:22 am

    There’s an interesting moment in the episode about Data’s daughter in “The Offspring” i believe where Guinan explains what love is to Lal. Whoopie Goldberg asked for a change to the script where she said that the original line about between a “man and a woman” should be changed to “two people” because gay relationships wouldn’t be controversial in the future. The primary audience of Star Trek has been young men which are catered to but, frankly, that just means 10% of the audience is gay men. When the audience is 50% women (which is entirely possible because yes, women like sci-fi too) then it’ll be 10% of their audience still. Jonathan Frakes wanted his scene with the agendered alien woman to be played by a man because, again, it was an episode about tolerance for homosexuality. The absence of gay characters on Star Trek is purely a decision by Paramount and helped cripple Star Trek’s social relevance to people who are a major part of the world. Just my 2.0.

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