Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Characters on Star Trek - a 12-year saga of deceit, lies, excuses and broken promises

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Name: Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Characters on Star Trek - a 12-year saga of deceit, lies, excuses and broken promises
Owner/Maintainer: David Sinclair
Dates: September 9, 1996 - October 19, 2003 (last update)
Type: Essay/meta
Fandom: Star Trek
URL: (archived)
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Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Characters on Star Trek - a 12-year saga of deceit, lies, excuses and broken promises is a website by David Sinclair, showcasing "Star Trek's failure to reflect the full diversity of human (never mind alien) sexual orientation".

The original Star Trek of the 1960s is still remembered for its groundbreaking first interracial kiss. But 30 years later, Star Trek has not evolved one step further. With the fights against racism and gender inequality essentially won, the civil rights of gays and lesbians have become the last great civil rights frontier. Television has adjusted to the changing social attitudes towards homosexuality, first by largely eliminating the most offensive of gay stereotypes, secondly and finally by including main characters who are gay, lesbian or bisexual. Soap had a gay character in 1977, Dynasty in 1981 and Melrose Place in 1992. Then came Ellen in May 1997 which opened the door for gay lead characters. In rapid succession, this lead to the first sitcom without main characters who are attracted to women (Will & Grace) and the first prime-time romantic same-sex kiss between two teenagers (Dawson's Creek). And where is Star Trek? Mired in the 1960s, producing episodes against racism (DS9's Far Beyond the Stars), fancying itself progressive for having a female Captain and upholding an unwritten and undeclared embargo against any characters whose romantic interest is not exclusively in the opposite sex. The very TV show that prides itself on its inclusiveness continues not to show any gay, lesbian or bisexual characters and so continues to send a singularly offensive message. It is not so much the absence of non-heterosexual characters in itself that is offensive, it is the absence of such characters combined with the arrogant pretension of presenting an advanced, if not ideal social structure. The message is: you are not supposed to exist. In a perfect society, you would not exist.

The only true bisexual or gay characters we ever saw on Deep Space 9 were the alternate Kira and Ezri in the parallel universe - the former being a villain, for those who don't know. Such negative depictions of gays and lesbians have a long tradition in Hollywood. Showing same-sex desires in movies or on TV has always been acceptable, as long as they were indicative of a negative character's moral corruption. DS9's lesbian and bisexual mirror universe characters do not rise to the level of offensiveness of, say, the character of Baron Harkonen in David Lynch's 1984 movie Dune, but their existence in the evil mirror universe, and the simultaneous absence of positive gay characters in our universe makes an unmistakable statement that same-sex attraction has no place in a positive vision of the future.

Expanded Links

These are archive links to the expanded links within the website: