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To boldly go where no gay man has gone before… Will the new Star Trek series have any gay characters?

Franklin Hummel, who once campaigned for GLBT inclusion on ST:TNG, doesn’t care anymore: “A decade ago, five years ago, if Star Trek had done this, it would have been important, it would have meant something. But now? Not much…. It’s 2001, not 1991. TV has done gay with Will & Grace and Queer as Folk.”

I totally disagree. Even though it may seem like there’s an explosion of GLBT presence on TV these days, the roles are still usually either on ghettoized-gay shows (like Will & Grace) or stereotypical, marginalized supporting bit parts or special one-time guest roles. I still don’t think we have really seen the world of a TV show where gay people just exist and are integrated into the action, without their homosexuality being a driving plot point.

Sure, Star Trek does “issue” episodes — if I had to see one more show about the Doctor on Voyager and his struggles with being a hologram this season I don’t know what I would have done. But most of the time, he just existed as yet another member of the crew.

It’s ludicrous to think that there are no gay men or women in the future that Star Trek portrays. I don’t necessarily care anything about what the inclusion of gay characters could do to further public acceptance of GLBT people (though any progress would be nice) — I just want the opportunity to see realistic, naturalistic depictions of gay men and women and their lives on TV. Queer as Folk is not my life. Will & Grace is not my life. But a gay engineer or pilot working together with the rest of a starship team? That’s my life (ok, well maybe except for the “being in space” thing).

7 responses so far (Respond)

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What, you don’t think they’ll have gay “cured” by then?

Hmm… I wonder if Scott Bakula could be persuaded to do another gay role? Quantum Leap was one of the first shows that I tuned in to partly so I could ogle the male lead.

Mark | 1 Jul 2001
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I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about how evasive the series have been on this issue. Considering how heavy-handed they always are about how progresive and tolerant their future utopia, it’s especially offensive that gay issues are, at best, deeply buried in allegory. I really don’t think we should be treated as the final taboo.

Sparky | 2 Jul 2001
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remember that one episode? the one with the androgenous species? and riker decided it would be appropriate to have yet-another interspecies coupling?

that’s about as close as rick berman can get with his ideas. me? i’d love to see a faggy episode–queers in space? mister mot (the hairdresser) has gay –tendancies– if nothing else..

stephen | 2 Jul 2001
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Ugh, I’d at least hope for something more inspired than a gay hairdresser being the first concession we get.

Sparky | 2 Jul 2001
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Jeez, didn’t Ivanova and the NYPD Blue Telepath have an understated fling in an episode or two of Babylon 5?

Bill | 2 Jul 2001
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Yeah. They didn’t go so far as to hug, or kiss, or appear together in bed, or reveal anything explicitly in dialogue until a full season later, though. But it was still more daring than anything that Trek ever did.

And I don’t have a problem with the gay character being the astro-hairdresser. Uhura, sole representative of two minorities, started out as the space receptionist. Two series later there’s a black captain, and three series later a female captain. That’s how Trek works — instead of ignoring stupid and prejudiced restrictions, they push gently on their boundaries. Very bold.

Mike B | 2 Jul 2001
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I sincerely hope that they have cured they psychological disorder known as homosexuality by the 24th century.

Tanthanis | 2 Sep 2001