Avast! Thar be spoilers ahead!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Queer Questions

Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Galaxy's Child follows Geordi through a rough meeting with Dr Brahms, a woman whose likeness he utilized in a holodeck program to bounce ideas off of to solve problems. Geordi developed strong feelings for the holodeck version and was caught off guard when the real woman did not meet his imagined version. Among the characteristics which the computer failed to accurately replicate was her marital status: married. However, when she begins to tell Geordi that his knowledge of her is blind in some areas, I assumed she was going to say that she was into women.

And I was kind of put off, to be honest, to discover that her big secret was a totally hetero, totally normal marriage. Actually, lately I've been thinking a lot about homosexuality as portrayed by Hollywood. One day, will society look back on all the heterosexual actors playing queer parts with the same disdain we view blackface? Probably not. But there must be plenty of gay actors who aren't landing parts while straight actors play take those roles. Then again, I don't actually know anything about the sexual proclivities of Ms Portman or Ms Kunis.

Now, Star Trek isn't as into hetero-normative monogamous sexuality as most tv shows. Sci-Fi in general is pretty cool when it comes to things like sexual mores. Star Trek just likes to take things to places where society is not always mature enough to handle. So interracial kisses, couples, marriage and copulating? Check. Heck, there were inter-species offspring in the first episode. Polyamorous relationships and marriages? Check. But Star Trek has been pathetic when it comes to queer relationships. Nimoy was cheering Roddenberry on when he wanted to include LBGT crew members. His exact quote was that such characters should "appear unobtrusively aboard the Enterprise — neither objects of pity nor melodramatic attention." Of course, the cast is full of queer heroes but no characters. Which is something I have to keep remembering when I watch the show. Yeah, Takei and Goldberg played important characters but the actors were the queer ones, not the characters.

There is some flirtation with homosexuality. Dr Crusher falls in love with an alien that lives inside of a host body. Initially, the body is that of a male but that body dies and is replaced by a female. Crusher says she cannot continue the relationship not because of the female body but because of the never ending change of host bodies. I actually thought it was the parasite/host relationship that bugged her but since she does not say that, I have nothing but my own feelings to attribute this to. Of course, there is also the great episode The Outcast.

So why no really gay characters? Stupidity, fear and intimidation I guess. I often wonder if someone can actually be into science fiction and also be homophobic but I am afraid I might be a victim of No True Scotsmanism.

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