Fuller: Gay Characters Considered For Voyager

In an interview with Logo networks After Elton blog, Star Trek Voyager writer/producer revealed that two gay characters were considered for the series, which would have been a Trek first. However Fuller, who is openly gay, actually didn’t support the idea because he felt the characters were ‘two dimensional.’

From the blog interview:

There was a pregnant ensign – Ensign Wildman – and she was going to have gay godparents to her child,” said Fuller, explaining the show’s potential plotline – that never got made. But Fuller found the characters so two-dimensional that he wasn’t disappointed it didn’t air: “It sounds weird to say – but I was kind of glad they didn’t do it the way it was written. Because it became really cliché.”


In the end Naomi ended up with Neelix as godfather

Gay Trek?
The subject of homosexuality in the Trek universe has been hotly debated for decades. While Trek is often credited for embracing diversity, it has never had an openly gay character. In the last two decades gay characters have become commonplace in both TV and film and there have been rumors that some Trek characters were considered as possible candidates (including Enterprise’s Malcolm Reed and First Contact’s Lt. Hawk), but those plotlines never materialized.

One of the more famous attempts at bringing a gay character into Trek was during the first season of Star Trek The Next Generation. With the apparent support of Gene Roddenberry, David Gerrold (writer of the classic TOS episode “The Trouble With Tribbles”) wrote a script titled “Blood and Fire” which was an AIDS allegory that featured a gay subplot with two male crewmembers. However, it met with resistance from the studio and was never produced. The script recently got a new life, adapted for the 23rd century by fan series Star Trek Phase II. (PII’s version of “Blood and Fire” should be released this summer). There have been other non-canon gay characters in fan films and some of the recent Trek novels as well.


Publicity still for Phase II’s “Blood and Fire”

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As long as people can find love in this world, that’s the important part…..

No..I don_t write it… firs……. :-)

On the subject: Of course there should be gay characters in Trek. But they should be portrayed as a normality. No big deal.

Anthony, thanks for the info on the Noami story..I didn’t know that

No No No No No No No No No and No! its just dont work for Trek!

I’m with Mark. They should appear as a normal thing, not as a thing to defend. They shouldn’t go arond the ship “being gay” one with the other, as no other crewman should go around the ship kissing each other, but simply “be”.

Yet (joking), I’ve allways believed that Neelix was gay and didn’t know it.

Im not so sure if it’s a good idea or not however I agree with post 3.

To be honest I hate the love stories in trek as it is, to watch gay love episodes I might just stop watching trek. Im not anti gay I work with a few get on well no problems, even have a gay friend and understands my point. Have gay characters by all means but just don’t do it in my face!

Does a gay subplot really help trek? I dont wanna see any hooking up on screen unless it relates to a story plot like kirk and some green chicks…

I’m really indifferent as to whether or not there are gay characters in the new Trek movie. I agree with #3 when Mark says that they should be portrayed as normality, but as soon as you put a gay character in there, the media latches on to that and suddenly all the effort that JJ and crew put into this movie is not the story, but the 15 seconds of a gay character in the film is, which isn’t right.

Ellen Page is a young actress from my province of Nova Scotia. She is a wonderful actress and was even nominated for an Oscar! I saw a tabloid that said “Juno fans want to know: is Ellen Page gay?” and it p*ssed me off. Who cares if she’s gay? Who cares if anyones gay? Shame on the tabloid for making her sexuality a bigger story than her talents as an actress. Shame on anyone who thinks one’s sexuality is more important than one’s talents or one’s contributions or hard work.

If there was a gay character in the Trek film, I fear the media would put so much attention on it, it would eclipse the rest of the film.

Maybe in some Heinlein-esque way like “it doesn’t matter who you’re sleeping with”. But to make any sort of substantial plotline inthe movie would take precious time from telling the story (unless I am really underestimating the writers which is probably so).

I think what star trek has always been good at is not making a big cliche thing about sexuality or anything like that. Which is what alot of other shows tend to do with those characters. They rely heavily on stereotypes so much that those stereotypes become the norm for representing those groups in shows, and it becomes hard for other shows to avoid/break away from those stereotypes.

Star Trek has always shown maturity in this respect. For example, Dax’s kiss. The issue in this was never that it was another woman from what I remember. Sisko nor any other character gave Dax any grief because it was a woman. It was because it was someone from a former host life. Therefore showing sexuality was never the issue.

I think what Star trek producers/writers have always been wary of is that if you make a whole plot point around a gay relationship, then it could turn it into an issue, which would not (hopefully) exist is the time periods trek represents. Its all about the maturity about how it was written. I think i explained that as well as i can…..

So personally I think a character who is gay wouldent be a problem, as long as that it was not the only reson for the character to exist and that the main issue/plot surrounding the character was not his sexuality.

lol whilst writing this, i now imagine a gay starship, multicoloured, USS RAINBOW – how bad would that be

it’s fun to stay on the USS RAINBOW
it’s fun to stay on the USS RAINBOW

they have everything for you men to enjoy,
you can hang out with all the boys …

it’s fun to stay on the USS RAINBOW
it’s fun to stay on the USS RAINBOW

you can get yourself beamed, you can have replicated meal,
you can do whatever you feel …

As long as the fact the characters are gay is not relevant to the plot, it’s fine.

That promo still makes it seem that B&F is actually about a gay couple being gay.

20 years ago when it was originally written, this may have been important, but it seems anachronistic now.

The best tribute Trek could pay to gay individuals would be to have them as contributing members of the crew displaying the quality of character and bravery of Starfleet Officers in an environment where they are treated as equals by their peers.

They can be openly gay when they are off duty to the extent that public displays of affection are accepted on board for couples.

I actually got into an email exchange with Ron Moore over this very issue a number of months prior to the release of Star Trek: First Contact. I was in the test screening audience for the film, and paid close attention to the character of Lt. Hawk, as there was a rumor even then that he would be a gay character in the film. At the time of the reshoots for the film, Moore was on an AOL message board fielding questions regarding the gay issue and Lt. Hawk, pointing out that in Star Trek’s future, gay characters would simply be themselves and their orientation wouldn’t even be a topic of discussion like it is now. Fair enough. Knowing that the film was still in post-production, and given my background in TV, I wrote Moore, suggesting that he add an ADR line for Picard in the Holodeck scene with Lily, where she is shocked that he would be so callous about pulling a chip out of a now-Borgified crew member–one which he knew by name. My suggestion to Moore was to re-do the line where Picard tells Lily that the former crewman is “Ensign Lynch,” to “Ensign Lynch, Lt. Hawk’s partner.” That’s it. By inserting three words there, I felt it would accomplish a number of things: 1. It would demonstrate that Picard knew his crew extremely well, even to the point of familiarity with their significant others. 2. It would further underscore Lily’s shock at Picard’s callous approach to… Read more »

“In an interview with Logo networks After Elton blog, Star Trek Voyager writer/producer revealed that two gay characters were considered for the series, which would have been a Trek first. However Fuller, who is openly gay, actually didn’t support the idea because he felt the characters were ‘two dimensional.’”

Weren’t most of the characters on Voyager two-dimensional? Besides, it’s much more fun to read the Janeway/Seven or Harry/Tom slashfic and then watch the series (especially “The Chute”) and read gay subtext into the episodes.

Seriously, though, I just don’t think they’d have been able to write gay characters into the series believably and without cliche.

Since gay characters have not been identified on screen one may wonder if homosexuality exists in the Star Trek future.
I would assume that the homosexual condition, which is being attracted to a member of the same sex, would still exist in the 23rd and 24th centuries.

By looking at the future optimistically, as Star Trek is known to do, I would hope that in the future those with these unnatural attractions would strive to live chaste lives. I would also hope that mankind would be tolerant, understanding, and that they would endeavor to help those with this condition.

As far as including gay characters on screen, I see no reason why you should not. For all we know gay characters were already on screen and we don’t know it, the issue just wasn’t addressed. A storyline focusing on homosexuality could work if it was used to show how the world can advance in showing, tolerance, understanding and compassion. I believe this would only work on the small screen during a series and not as part of a motion picture.

I look forward to seeing Phase II’s “Blood and Fire.”

14. Marvin the Martian

Marvin, I would have to agree w/ Mr. Moore on that one. It would have been distracting to hear that at that point in the scene. Also, the look of disgust look on Lily’s face after the comment could have given the audience the wrong impression.

Although a small comment such as that at the right time could be a way to introduce this issue into Start Trek, it the writers/producers, decide to. I would prefer homosexuals in Star Trek not to have partners (see my previous post).

16 — your misguided rightiousness knows no bounds.

As #11 points out, this was done in one episode of DS9 with Dax and a woman who had been one of the previous Dax host’s lovers. The “lesbianism” of the episode was only one of the points being made, and in fact almost in counterpoint to the episode in TNG in which the Trill were first introduced, and Dr. Crusher contends with the challenge of loving a Trill that changes host bodies. I found both these episodes strong precisely because they deal with the issue of homosexuality as a subset of a larger question: to what extent can one love a person abstractly without reference to the particular embodiment of that person. Even when love is “pure”, most of us find ourselves attached to the particular physical qualities of the other – their face, their body, etc. and, of course, implicitly their gender – and not just for who they are. Another episode of note in this vein is the one in Enterprise in which Trip contends with the issue of the species composed of three genders: male, female, and cogenitor. The relevance of this episode is that the viewer is challenged to understand the prospect of sexual relationships that depart from our traditional gender paradigms. If Star Trek is to address homosexuality, it would seem that one or the other case should obtain: EITHER as a relationship that occurs between regular characters on the show, but is depicted as a run-of-the-mill love affair, without any special attention drawn… Read more »

#16

Unnatural attractions?

Good grief.

# 16 – By looking at the future optimistically, as Star Trek is known to do, I would hope that in the future those with these unnatural attractions would strive to live chaste lives.

And I would hope, looking optimistically at the future, the concepts of unnatural attractions would have been consigned to history and every consenting adult could lead exactly the kind of life their desires direct them toward.

To think that at certain points in time, the questions that were posed were, “Can Star Trek have a woman in command?” and “Can Star Trek have Black person in command?”.

Here we are, with both of those hurdles surmounted, and neither one considered a big deal. The fact is, Star Trek has always been about humanity getting over its petty intolerances and prejudices.

Of course, TREK should include a gay character… just like they should include a character that is truly alien (I mean non-humanoid).

Stories need not dwell on this fact. Sexuality has normally not been the main point of any TREK story in the past. An honest to goodness, three dimensional character, one who is part of the team, need not be distracting.

In fact, generally speaking it is only the audience who may or may not take issue with a gay character… and make something of it (or not). If someone wants to make a big issue of it, I think they have failed to embrace or understand Gene Roddenberry’s concepts of IDIC.

Personally, I think ignoring this element of the human condition only serves to put more focus on it… let’s do it and be done with it.

I, too, look forward to “ST:Phase II’s Blood and Fire.”

I am all for a gay character. As long as they follow the David Fisher/Willow Rosenberg template of not making the sexuality the defining characteristic of the character.

I think that the subject of having gay characters is “the final frontier” that the writers need to cross. Although I’m not gay myself, I fully support the inclusion of one or more gay characters. It seems to be this last shred of diversity in Trek has been ignored, and for far too long, I think.

We will not get a gay character is Star Trek for the next 10 years or so, just due to the fact that Trek will not be on the small screen for the next few years. As for in a Trek Movie they will never be able to fit it into the plot.

I totally support the idea, but will the studio or the fans go for it, we know how hollywood is on certain ideas because they dont want to turn some fans off the shows they are making.

While im looking forward to Phase II i am also hanging out for the next Star Trek Titan book to see what happens as Lt Hawk (First Contact) gay partner is being written into the plots.

“However Fuller, who is openly gay, actually didn’t support the idea because he felt the characters were ‘two dimensional.’”

Um, I love Fuller’s newer shows, but let’s be honest here – Voyager had nothing but two-dimensional characters.

They curiously failed to mention all of the “slash” fan-fiction with Kirk and Spock.

#28

Too true sir.

‘Blood and Fire” features a Gay couple, but it is not about being gay. They just happen to be gay and caught up in the unusual circumstances that are happening on the ship. To everyone else on the Enterprise, they are just a normal couple who are in love with one another. Their have been many openly gay folks who have contributed to Star Trek’s creation over the last 40 or so years. It is time that they are included in Trek’s optimistic vision of the future, That is my prime reason in doing this episode, that and keeping Gene’s promise that gay people would be included in Trek.
James Cawley

The fact that we are still debating this topic in society today shows how far we need to go. I have never been able to understand why some people need to make it their business to dictate their moral, social, and religious beliefs unto others. We have partially overcome a lot of issues regarding acceptance of other races, religions, beliefs, but still not fully. As pointed out previously – gay characters should just be part of the overall Trek universe with no more special attention to them than any other particular group.
#16 Wow. I know there are many who share your views, but it seems so narrow minded when seen in print. It’s like racists that say “but I know some (insert race here) that are ok.
The 23rd century can’t get here quick enough.

I think now it’s almost too late to introduce a gay character into Star Trek. That would have been a good idea for TOS or TNG, because now the tolerance to gay people is much bigger than in the 60s or 80s, where it would have been needful to set an example.
Now the gay thing is so common (at least it should be) that you don’t need to draw a special attention to it – not even in Star Trek.

#28

Right. Irrespective of whether slash appeals to you or not – ST has been groundbreaking in that area, too.

Here’s a fact about entertainment: Most people just want good entertainment when they watch a show. The purpose of entertainment is to escape the real world, not have more of it stuffed down one’s throat. That’s why people don’t hang on to these types of projects for too long because this practice just exasperates the audience. People aren’t dumb. They know when when they’re being lead by the nose with a good story that is just a front to cover up big banner-carrying political statements.

Had they chosen to do that, Star Trek Voyager would have never had the success it had during it’s run. I believe the subject is controversial to the point that the audience would have been split. A large portion of people would have felt alienated, and would have lost interest in the series, therefore hurting Star Trek’s PR and the show’s ratings. In the end, I believe that decision would have done damage to the show–to the point that I am sure it would have been short run, and Star Trek in general may have been bruised from that time forward.

It was a wise decision to not utilize those characters.

If you can accept that a human would have sex with a Cardassian A DIFFERENT SPECIES you ought to be able to get over homosexuals.

to me a characters sexuality, unless it affects the plot, shouldnt even be brought up…whether they are heterosexual or otherwise. Like in FC, what would have been the purpose of having Lt. Hawk be openly gay other than for the sake of having a gay character?

By the way…isnt it a paradox for intolerance to not be tolerated? ;-)

Of all the comments #1! Pascale, just set the record straight!! Dont start none, wont be none!! LOL!! Obviously, this can get reall hot quick!!

#3-

I agree. By Voyager’s time in the future, being gay would be no more a big deal than the color of one’s skin. The characters could have been introduced and later through the series maybe a sub plot involving those characters could have given them more than a “2-dimensional” or stereotypical presents.

#34-
I doubt that anyone would have lost interest in STVOY because of gay characters. Political statements were always made on Star Trek in some way or form. People with strong beliefs against gay people might not have watched the show. Quite frankly I lost interest because I found it boring for the first few seasons simply because I was sick of the silly techno babble and the mean alien of the week premise. Not because of any political issues.

I think having LT Hawk on First Contact being gay would have just been one too many things to add to the plot. How would that have even been fit into the plot as it was?

Oops, I meant to say in post 38 that they would have more than a stereotypical PRESENCE, not “presents”–D’oh!

I’m surprised no one mentioned “Prophet and lace” as i think its spelled. I mean we had a sex change (quite disturbing on a ferengi) as well as that other episode (i think its the same ep actually) where the female ferengi was posing as a male… Transvestites both pre and post op in trek! unfortunately it was played for laughs and not seriously. I shudder what my girlfriend would think if i showed her that ep heheh. She already thinks im geeky,

Gays do exist in StarTrek. As do blacks and asians and christians and athiests and folks that get thier jollys with tribbles. They are already in the Trek universe.

Why some feel the need to make a point of showing it and drawing attention to it is what I really don’t understand. Understanding and tolerance is one of the great aspects of Roddenberry’s future. That is exactly why we DON’T have to draw attention to the fact that Uhura is black. Or that Number One was a woman. These antiquated ideas of intolerance are, for the most part, gone, especially on a starship.

The need to showcase intolerance by hanging a sign on a character and saying,”Hey look at me, I’m different and yet I’m a professional in starfleet” is absurd. In fact, I find that whole school of thought to be insulting to the universe that Roddenberry worked hard to create. Lifestyles won’t change. Gays are on board. As are many many many other types of people, all different races with various lifestyles and religious beliefs. Other than being gimmicky there really is no reason to glorify any of it.

We don’t have to be hit over the head and told that Gays, Lesbians, Catholics, or ballroom dancers exist on a starship….it is simply understood.

Well, goodby Star Trek for even thinking of such house cr#p.

Fuller’s probably right on this one. Voyager isn’t exactly known for its subtlety…

Seriously, there aren’t THAT many plotlines where romance is important to an episode. And to be honest, Star Trek romances often just slowed down the plot. But, if any gay characters were/are introduced, it shouldn’t be part of a forced plotline.

#1…so what your saying is you will be intolerant of intolerance?

Star Trek has always been a future analog of real life. It hasn’t removed human nature from the characters. For there to be gay characters in Star Trek just sounds natural to me. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet, but the above mention of studio resistance explains that.

People, like the studio execs that nixed Blood & Fire, seriously need to get over it. Some people are gay. They’re not bothering you any more than you bother other straight people.

I promise you, the sky won't fall

That poll was too general. It should have had more choices like…

No, Trek 2009 is not the right time
No, no gays in Trek ever
Yes, but only if it is important to plot
Yes, but only in a small role
Yes, gay character now!
I don’t care either way

“…the homosexual condition…”? “…endeavor to help those with this condition…”? “…unnatural attractions…”?

Adam (and one can only assume that there’s an “Eve” at home, and not a “Steve”), have you given any thought to the fact that it is polite condemnation–such as yours–and thinly-veiled dislike for homosexuality–such as apparently yours–is the reason so many GLBT folks stay IN the closet? That they can’t truly be themselves?

C’mon, man…who gives a damn WHAT goes on in the bedroom of two consenting adults, or WHO a consenting adult chooses to love, so long as that consenting adult is a good person? It’s the 21st Century; let’s at least be a little better at PRETENDING that we’ve grown as a species, and as a culture.

And, as far as homosexuality on Star Trek: who cares? Let’s just enjoy the movie! If a character turns out to be gay, so what? If an actor turns out to be gay, so what? But, to dwell–either positively or negatively–on sexual orientation cheapens us all, and is an insult to ANY relationships we might have.

Okay, I’m down off my soapbox now. I just want to see more pics of the new E! ;^)

Some excellent points all round and not the unpleasant exchange I was fearing.

I think that Marvin the Martian’s suggestion how to include a homosexual element to Trek was a perfect one.

It’s pointless and boring just mentioning some is gay because we haven’t seen it before, but if it’s done in a way that further’s the story (like the emotional involvement Picard would have knowing that a close colleague’s partner had just been killed) then it can only add to a scene as well as make gay people finally visible in the final frontier).

I think most gay people would like to just see a character that represents themselves and doesn’t make a fuss about announcing his/her existance to the whole world.

I’ve been watching some of Torchwood over here in the UK, and the gay/bi-sexual element to that seems a bit forced to me, almost if something different MUST be done.

I really look forwards to seeing BLOOD AND FIRE. I just hope they don’t linger on moments male to male affection to labour the point, just like how in TOS we were all supposed to be shocked that the Romulan Commander was a woman! Gasp!

Do it with subtley and temperence and I will be a happy Trekker. I nearly said “camper”, but perhaps that might have been inappropriate.

Some excellent points all round and not the unpleasant exchange I was fearing.

I think that Marvin the Martian’s suggestion how to include a homosexual element to Trek was a perfect one.

It’s pointless and boring just mentioning some is gay because we haven’t seen it before, but if it’s done in a way that further’s the story (like the emotional involvement Picard would have knowing that a close colleague’s partner had just been killed) then it can only add to a scene as well as make gay people finally visible in the final frontier).

I think most gay people would like to just see a character that represents themselves and doesn’t make a fuss about announcing his/her existance to the whole world.

I’ve been watching some of Torchwood over here in the UK, and the gay/bi-sexual element to that seems a bit forced to me, almost if something different MUST be done.

I really look forwards to seeing BLOOD AND FIRE. I just hope they don’t linger on moments male to male affection to labour the point, just like how in TOS we were all supposed to be shocked that the Romulan Commander was a woman! Gasp!

Do it with subtley and temperence and I will be a happy Trekker. I nearly said “camper”, but perhaps that might have been inappropriate.

:P

#41 That’s exactly how I feel.

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