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Rainbow Alert: Homosexuality in Star Trek


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#61

Irish Wolf

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Posted Aug 29, 2004 @ 1:32 AM

The challenge with that is, there's no way to tacitly put a gay crewmember on the bridge.

MAYWEATHER: So, heard you had a hot date last night. Anybody I'd know?

HOSHI: Probably not - she's in Stellar Cartography.

(A few episodes later)

MAYWEATHER: How's things going with that girl in Cartography?

[HOSHI describes how it's going - well or ill - to her friend Mayweather, who at least gets a couple of lines this way...]

#62

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Posted Aug 29, 2004 @ 4:40 AM

Irish Wolf, exactly! Take any hetero exchange (that you hear on Trek all the time) and flip it around. Don't make a big deal of it but at least acknowledge it.

#63

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Posted Aug 30, 2004 @ 4:32 PM

Speculations about Lt. Hawk began during the hype before "First Contact" came out->

Gay trekkies beamed when the August 8 London Daily Mail printed that in First Contact, the next Star Trek film, Lieutenant Hawk would be openly gay. The Daily Mail also credited the inclusion to the over 5,000 people signing GLAAD's Voyager Visibility Project petition to Star Trek producers to honor creator Gene Roddenberry's wishes for regular lesbian and gay characters. Unfortunately, according to Producer Rick Berman, Lieutenant Hawk is heterosexual and there are actually no gay characters in the film, or, for that matter, on Voyager or Deep Space 9, the Star Trek shows scheduled to begin new seasons this fall.

Berman's statement speaks volumes about his social views. Nothing is shown in First Contact that sheds any light on Hawk's sexual orientation one way or another. So how can he say that Hawk is heterosexual? The only reasonable answer is that for Berman, Hawk is heterosexual by default. Berman's reaction betrays a basic animosity towards gay people that goes beyond concern for the commercial viability of his product.


At least we get the Section 31 novel. I don't remember TPTB making a fuss over the book and others like the S.C.E. series probably because they're the actual profit and aren't canon...yet. It would hurt to call attention on non-canon material that bests crap like Voyager and Enterprise.

Sorry. The first paragraph's from GLAADAlert, the second is a comment by a webmaster->

Gay Lesbian Bisexual Star Trek

Edited by AresCupid, Aug 30, 2004 @ 5:05 PM.


#64

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Posted Aug 30, 2004 @ 4:56 PM

What's the original source of that quotation? Inquiring minds want to know.

#65

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Posted Dec 29, 2005 @ 4:39 PM

Check out labprincess's awesome new HoYay PC entry!

#66

aussie slacker

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Posted Apr 1, 2007 @ 8:01 AM

If you research enough you can find the subtext and intention, expecially in TOS. Wikipedia under Kirk/Spock explains it a lot. It seems that wasn't completely intended by the creator or actors, but they didn't deny it, and the writers had it in mind a few times while doing the scripts. TOS was done around the 60s so they would have had to be careful.

An example is Spock refering to Kirk as his t'hy'la, which is defined as 'friend, brother, lover'.

I think that the Original episodes tryed not to show it because of the time, and although a lot of things have changed the following series' are still based on the original concept and style. I don't think it's really got to do with the ideals of writers or the social code of the time, it's most likely just the feel of Star Trek laid down from the beginning.

#67

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Posted Apr 6, 2007 @ 2:06 PM

Over at Star Trek New Voyages, they're going to produce a version of David Gerrold's "Fire & Ice" that was orginally going to be in TNG, but was rejected due to gay themes. Hidden Frontier has had visible gay/bi characters for years. Yes, I know these are fan produced internet productions and lack the spit and polish of the professionals, but they're rather good once you give them a chance and stay with them.

#68

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Posted Jun 10, 2007 @ 2:50 PM

Wikipedia has an article that covers the LGBT controveries regarding Star Trek.

When I was watching Star Trek when it was first on (especially the DS9/Voyager period) I was vaguely aware that there was a controversy and a push from the LGBT communites for a homosexual character in ST, though I never saw what the big deal was or why there was such a controversy with Star Trek (and not with other shows). After learning about all the BS that came from I can understand.

Also, now that I'm older and I understand that a lot of gays/lesbians/bisexuals/etc see their orientation as more than just who they're attracted to, I can see why they would feel excluded, especially after episodes like Bound.

I few things I wanted to comment on:

1)

Garak and anybody


I disagree here. Garak might come across as gay, if assume based on how a stereotypical gay who is: a) from the twentieth/twenty-first century, and b)human acts. He's neither of those, so we can't really say his effeminate characteristics suggest that he's gay.

2) As for Quark/the Nagus, it's highly unlikely that there is much tolerance for homosexuality in Ferengi culture. If you look at Earth's history (and present) you'll see that the cultures with the strictest standards for gender roles are the least accepting of homosexuality. This is because a homosexual couple does/can not conform to the roles assigned to the husband and wife.

3) Perhaps the best nod to the acceptance of homosexuality in Star Trek is the DS9 episode with the female Ferengi that disguises herself as male in order to do business. Dax realizes that she (the Ferengi) is in love with Quark, but she doesn't realize that the Ferengi is a female at the time. She thinks it's a male in love with Quark and doesn't even seem concerned with gender. Of course, this is the type of dancing around the issue without really addressing or acknowledging it that TPTB have been doing since the beginning.

Edited by koweja, Jun 10, 2007 @ 2:51 PM.


#69

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Posted Jun 10, 2007 @ 5:35 PM

But isn't one of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition to sleep with the boss? And their laws say that women can't earn money so that'd make the bosses... men?

#70

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Posted Jun 10, 2007 @ 9:35 PM

a lot of gays/lesbians/bisexuals/etc see their orientation as more than just who they're attracted to

Aye, but there's the rub: The only quick and easy way (and this is television, remember, 45 minutes to tell a story) to show that homosexuals "exist" in the fictional world is a quick visual shot of, say, two people holding hands or whatever. But then you're left open to a charge that you've reduced the whole thing to sex. And there isn't really much time to go deeper than that. How often, for example, did we get a full-blown acknowledgement that Sisko, for example, was black? Twice, I think- Far Beyond the Stars and Badda-bing, Badda-bang, both of those in reference to 1950's Earth. And he was the main character.

#71

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Posted Jun 11, 2007 @ 1:26 AM

If you look at Earth's history (and present) you'll see that the cultures with the strictest standards for gender roles are the least accepting of homosexuality.

I have to disagree. Ancient Greece was about as strict in dividing gender roles as they come, and they glorified male-male homosexuality. That was homosexuality to a point of misogyny because women were considered too inferior to be equals to men even in love. Women were for marrying and bearing children, but men were for real, intense, emotional and intellectual relationships. Homosexuality and marriage existed side by side and didn't interfere with each other because love wasn't a part of heterosexual marriage.

Even today in some cultures, views of homosexuals and homosexual acts are not necessarily synonymous. In many cases, the male on the "receiving" end of the homosexual sexual encounter is vilified and reviled as dirty and homosexual, but the male on the "aggressing" side of the act is not deemed as any less of a man or someone to be looked down on or vilified because that man is masculine and doing something masculine, and he's not necessarily even considered homosexual. This is in cultures where "masculine" and "feminine" are usually very well defined.

But isn't one of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition to sleep with the boss? And their laws say that women can't earn money so that'd make the bosses... men?

That's how I always understood it.

How often, for example, did we get a full-blown acknowledgement that Sisko, for example, was black? Twice, I think- Far Beyond the Stars and Badda-bing, Badda-bang, both of those in reference to 1950's Earth. And he was the main character.

True, but I don't think that's quite the same. The fact that Sisko is black (or Janeway is female) is something obvious and visible to any viewer. The fact that someone is or is not homosexual isn't obvious because homosexuality is not about how people look; it's about how they feel and behave. We don't really have to have an episode about Sisko being black (or Janeway being female) because it's there in front of us every time we look at the character. A homosexual character requires a storyline for us to know that. And then we have to be reminded of it from time to time so it isn't just stated as lip service and dropped.

Edited by Gilmel, Jun 11, 2007 @ 1:29 AM.


#72

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Posted Jun 11, 2007 @ 1:44 AM

But isn't one of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition to sleep with the boss?

Nitpick: that's a non-canon rule, from the book written by Ira Behr. Rule 112, which is canon, is "Never have sex with the boss's sister". Rule 113, which is from the book, is "Always have sex with the boss". Ira Behr was the Executive Producer on DS9 for most of its run, and the man largely credited with developing Ferengi society into what it became, so that's as near to canon as can be, but still.

#73

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Posted Jun 11, 2007 @ 1:18 PM

I'm confused. Are you saying that "Always have sex with the boss" is not a canon Rule of Acquisition because it was not in a book even though it was in the show?

Edited by Gilmel, Jun 11, 2007 @ 7:50 PM.


#74

Cleo256

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Posted Jun 11, 2007 @ 1:42 PM

Other way around. It was in a book, but never in the show.

#75

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Posted Jun 11, 2007 @ 8:10 PM

When I was watching Star Trek when it was first on (especially the DS9/Voyager period) I was vaguely aware that there was a controversy and a push from the LGBT communites for a homosexual character in ST, though I never saw what the big deal was or why there was such a controversy with Star Trek (and not with other shows).

That's an interesting question. I suspect it's because TOS gave Trek a reputation (highly overblown, in my opinion) for breaking racial stereotypes, so people who considered themselves members of other minority groups hoped it would do the same thing for them. Most shows never gave the impression they might be interested in that kind of pioneering.

DS9 did flirt with a lesbian relationship between Jadzia and Dax's sort-of ex-wife, complete with Girls!Kissing!, but of course that's not what people have in mind when they press for diversity in this area.

#76

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Posted Jun 11, 2007 @ 8:23 PM

DS9 did flirt with a lesbian relationship between Jadzia and Dax's sort-of ex-wife, complete with Girls!Kissing!, but of course that's not what people have in mind when they press for diversity in this area.

Still, I think it's the most mature treatment of same-sex love that Trek has done to date, namely because everyone else on the station was perfectly fine with two women loving each other. The issue there wasn't the same-sex issue at all. It was the reassociation issue.

Other way around. It was in a book, but never in the show.

Really? I know I've heard it before, but I've never read a Trek-related book. Maybe I've just read it around here before.

Edited by Gilmel, Jun 11, 2007 @ 8:23 PM.


#77

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Posted Jun 12, 2007 @ 9:16 PM

The Ferengi rule may be a good example of Gilmel's point about the image of the dominator versus that of the dominatee.

Also, Gilmel, that's sort of my point. We know Sisko is black, so we can jump into that concept automatically- and do it again lsome time later- when dealing with the 1950's. If someone is gay, though, you need to develop it- and then not just move on. And that's hard to do when you have limited time and it's not a major character- and you're working in a universe which is supposed to have moved on from such things.

It's not quite the same thing, but I'm reminded of an episode of NYPD Blue where there's a crime involving the gay community and John Irvin, the gay Police Administrative Assistant, thinks he's cracked the case. In reporting to his superior, Andy Sipowicz keeps saying, "Gay John thinks...Gay John has an idea..." until someone says, "OK, Andy, I think we're all clear on the fact that John is gay."

#78

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Posted Jun 15, 2007 @ 7:28 PM

At the very end.

You know Q declines because he's in love with Jean-Luc.

Edited by jeet, Jun 15, 2007 @ 7:28 PM.


#79

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Posted Jan 25, 2011 @ 5:54 PM

Entertainment Weekly has been discussing the history of gay characters on tv lately and pulled some comments from Brannon Braga on Trek here (original interview is here.

#80

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Posted Feb 22, 2011 @ 3:45 PM

I myself am totally open to any sort of character (just about), so long as they are fairly and honestly portrayed. And it should really be a no-brainer that a franchise like Star Trek that taught so many kids about other types of diversity should embrace the gay community as well (after all, George Takei is a rather promanent member).

On the flipside this point in large parts of America its not financially viable to have something with the American pop culture significance of Star Trek with a gay character of any significance and they can't really do a really small character because that would just be a throwaway reference without any point to it and be rightly attacked as cynicism. Smaller fair sure, especially sitcoms, but not Star Trek, not when so many states are so determined to constitutionally ban same sex marriages or the ability of same sex couples to rear children not genetically related to one of them. I don't see that changing in a hurry when Proposition 8 could pass in California of all places, I am very sorry to say. Americans (forgive me if I am wrong here) seem to like seeing the parts of themselves they wish to believe in, tolerance, democracy, honour, intelligence, scientific talent, go-getting, projected through this franchise, the parts of themselves they don't, the massive inequalities, the urban decay and homosexuality to name only three, they brush under the carpet of ascribe to the others, aliens or freaks. I can't see that changing at all, they wouldn't be human if they didn't.

Yes, we should call Paramount and the production teams on what is effective discrimination though it would get no result. And to me, its perfectly valid to assume that some characters are either gay or, more likely, bi even if they aren't expressly stated to be, there are probably very few humans who are 100% straight or 100% gay out there. Its no different than fanwanking or indeed fanfic in-general and it doesn't harm anybody. Its no different for example to assuming that (and I'm using a very different example here) that say Dr Temperence Brennan from the show 'Bones' has Asperger's Syndrome which is at least hinted at (I have it too so I think she does) but that sort of inference, that some characters might be open to possibilities (joined Trill for example, and you could even argue Kira off the back of the Intendent who was at least hinted as flexible in every sense of the way) are as good as its gonna get. It's just not going to happen in the next 10 years at least until American attitudes to sexuality relax considerably and Paramount comes to believe that there is a major market out there feed throughout America and not just on its West and East Coasts and as sad as this is, no amount of moaning about it is going to change anything.

Does that sound too negative?

#81

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Posted Dec 5, 2011 @ 4:19 PM

In the sixties, homosexuality was still listed as a mental disorder in the DSM. The values of Star Trek are basically (progressive) 60s values. I think homosexuality doesn't show up in Star Trek because homosexuality is still perceived by some members of society as a mental illness, and mental illness (along with social evils like greed, inequality, racial prejudice, etc.) has been cured in the semi-Utopian Star Trek universe.

The Federation strikes me as an idealized 60s version of the United Nations, with Earth as the dominant civilizing force in the Universe, spreading its message by example rather than overt force. Earth culture (which is of course American culture) dominates. Humanity prevails, and other species tend to be both monolithic and rather one-note. Vulcans are like human computers; Ferenghi are short, greedy, little foreigners who keep their women naked and pregnant; Klingons are aggressive and fixated on honour, etc. Alien races get to have all the "bad traits" in humanity so that the Star Fleets people can be unwaveringly mentally healthy, brave, intelligent, generous, and of course heterosexual. Somewhere deep in the Star Trek universe, next to the planet where the black/white people hate the white/black people, there's the planet of the homosexuals.

I think Star Trek seems a little quaint and dated these days. Farscape presented a universe in which Earth was an unimportant backwater, and I can't see someone like Stark. who was mentally ill but a functioning member of the crew, ever showing up on Trek. Caprica showed a society where prejudice against homosexuals didn't exist and never had existed; one of the main characters was a homosexual gangster. Sam Adama just could exist in the Star Trek universe either.

Edited by QueenofCups, Dec 5, 2011 @ 4:21 PM.


#82

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Posted Jan 18, 2012 @ 7:34 PM

I disagree here. Garak might come across as gay, if assume based on how a stereotypical gay who is: a) from the twentieth/twenty-first century, and b)human acts. He's neither of those, so we can't really say his effeminate characteristics suggest that he's gay.


The actor has never denied or confirmed Garak's sexuality. The actor btw created a ton of background detail on Garak and even wrote an autobiography of Garak called "A Stitch in Time" that was incredibly well recieved.

You have to remember when he introduced himself to Bashir he was under the influence of the wire which was doping him up with happiness. Pretty sure any human under a massive endorphin rush that made them feel incredibly good would appear fey to other humans. If Garak had just come off a hit him being doped up would explain his demeanor.

#83

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Posted Jul 31, 2012 @ 1:02 PM

There is at least one hopeful sign - in the video game Mass Effect 3, of all places. As you meet your crew, you get to know your shuttle pilot, Lt. Steven Cortez. He's quite clearly troubled, and as you go through the game, you find out that it's because he lost his husband, Robert, at Horizon - Steve was off fighting the Collectors when Robert was killed in the colony. To get a better readiness rating before retaking Earth, you need to help him get past his loss - and at the end of that arc, there's the possibility for your Shepard, even if he's male, to engage in a relationship with him...

Given that videogames are traditionally aimed at that same supposedly-homophobic demographic, and that the complaints about the game had more to do with the (original) endings than Steve Cortez, that gives me hope that we'll get to see actually openly gay characters in Trek in the future...

#84

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Posted Aug 6, 2012 @ 1:27 PM

I would kind of be surprised if there was no homosexuality in the next Trek (whenever that happens). I do think it is time. There is still huge backlash to homosexuals. But every new poll shows a steadily rising majority support homosexuals and even gay marriage. Gays not being mainstream was just the norm as late as the nineties. Now opposition sort of feels like a last surge of anger at change much like the 1960s and the civil rights movement.

I tend to disagree that the sci-fi audience would be more homophobic than others. Sure, it is more comprised of straight males. But comic books have been introducting gay characters without much protest. Other sci-fi shows have. I think any compelling story would work.

Edited by Cherith, Aug 6, 2012 @ 1:27 PM.


#85

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Posted Aug 6, 2012 @ 1:34 PM

I would kind of be surprised if there was no homosexuality in the next Trek (whenever that happens).


I read somewhere that the next movie focuses on Sulu and the Excelsior, so that might very well happen.