Star Trek Gets a Gay New Look

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News Media Commentary
Title: Star Trek Gets a Gay New Look
Commentator: a staff writer for a newspaper called "The Star"
Date(s): September 3, 1991
Venue: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TNG
External Links:
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Star Trek Gets a Gay New Look is an article in the newspaper called "The Star."

It was reprinted in the fan publication Atavachron v.7 n.3 (1992).

The Article

The super-macho Captain Kirk may start spinning in his time warp - gays are joining the crew of the Starship Enterprise.

Star Trek's creator and executive producer Gene Roddenberry had decided to boldly go forward next season with gay story lines under pressure from activist gay-lactic groups. He told a national gay magazine, The Advocate, that the fifth season of the syndicated tv series will include episodes about "gay crewmembers in day-to-day circumstances."

Gaylactic Network, a group of homosexual science fiction fans, staged a four-year letter-writing campaign before winning Roddenberry over. "I've never found it necessary to do a special homo­sexual-themed story because people, in the timeline of the Next Generation, the 24th century, will not be labelled," says Roddenberry. "I've always said that when a good script comes along, of course we'll consider it."

And since the Next Generation first aired in 1987, there have been two episodes with subtle homosexual overtones aired.

One episode centered around the kidnapping of the android Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner.) As Data was forced to change out of his Starleet Uniform, his eccentrically loath­some captor seductively remarked, "Personally, I'd be delighted to see you go around naked. I assume you have no modesty."

Another episode, The Host, dealt with ship's Chief Medical officer, Dr Beverly Crusher, (Cheryl Gates McFadden) falling in love with a symbiont whose human hosts keep dying.

Dr Crusher is visually disturbed when the only compat­ible host able to sustain the creature she's fallen in love with is another woman - who also tells her she'll always love her.

Ernest Over, assistant to the series' executive producer, says the show has always considered scripts with openly gay characters. "Even though our scripts are set in the 24th century, we still live in the 20th century, and things take time to change," says Over. "It has taken four seasons but I think the change is there now. The attitude is right for this to happen.

Franklin Hummel, director of the Boston based Gay­lactic Network adds, "From the very beginning, the show was always very racially and ethnically mixed, and very positive in presentation of minorities. It came out during the 60s, which was just prior to the gay liberation movement. "When the new series came along, this struck me as an excellent opportunity to introduce a gay character as a new crew member. "The vast majority of Star Trek fans would accept it with no problem. This is not going to weaken the series. It will make it stronger."