Orci & Kurtzman: No Gay Characters in Star Trek

More news coming out of the Fox’s Fringe TCA event yesterday. The gay-themed After Elton blog spoke to the co-writers and executive producers of the new Star Trek feature about the possibility of a gay character. The pair said it was it was discussed, but wasn’t specifically addressed either way in the film and they were open to bringing a gay character into a sequel.

An excerpt from the After Elton interview:

After Elton: So, sequel? I’m sure you guys must know there’s a huge gay community out there who [love Star Trek and sci fi] … it’s just something that has always rankled gay folks all these years. There’s all this diversity [in Star Trek], yet that’s the one thing that’s missing.
Roberto Orci: Absolutely.
Alex Kurtzman: Yes, I think it does need to be addressed.
Robert Orci: We’re aware of it, we’d like to see it and your support will be noted because it allows us to go back to the powers that be and go – when we finally hit this directly, you better support it.

More at the After Elton blog.

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El_Nastro

Good call. Star Trek does “gay” pretty well enough as it is.

*cough-Voyager-ahem*

Jon

Can’t wait for a gay character. This is talking about a gay themed fan episode. http://www.afterelton.com/blog/lylemasaki/gay-star-trek-episode-blood-and-fire-shore-leave-debut

Please keep comments appropriate… this subject comes up now and again, so let’s make it through this one without the bad stuff.

=h=

Mark Lynch

This has been heavily debated here before and got quite nasty I seem to recall.

my stand is the same, it does not matter whether the character is gay or not. If their sexuality gets in the way of tellling a good story, then it is wrong, plain and simple.
If it is integral to the plot/story, then that is an entirely different kettlle of fish, with a horse of another colour on the other hand.

The Angry Klingon

Personally I think its a topic better dealt with in an episodic setting ie a series NOT a movie or then it detracts from the overall movie and the only thing anyone takes away from it was,”Oh yeah, thats the Trek movie where the two guys/girls were making out. From a business standpoint it is VERY risky to do something like that in a movie. In a tv series characters can be introduced and an episode (or many) can tackle that theme and for those that dont like it they have next weeks episode. If it WERE to be included in a movie it should be integrated ORGANICALLY and almost as an aside and NOT as a ‘big deal’. Maybe a scene on the rec deck where couples are relaxing and one or more of the couples happens to be same sex. Just make it a part of the organic background. what is NOT needed is flashing signs and banners that say,”LOOK! Gay Characters!!!!”

Jon

I think it would have been in that one episode early in S2 of Voyager where people were starting to fraternize. Then with people making out as long as it just happened it would not have gotten in the way. Maybe it is bcs I am gay but I would like to see something. I think it would be realy cool if they even made another species where gay was normal (think of the movie “almost normal”)

I would like to see a heterosexual, monogamous life partnership pairing with several children featured on the next movie.

Haha. Just kidding. Trying to inject some humor to preempt the intolerance lurking in the shadows.

I invite everyone here to visit our website and consider worshipping at our Church. We are inclusive and open and welcoming to all, especially our gay and lesbian brothers/sisters who have been marginalized by mainline church intolerance.

You’ll find a home here and we “Go where many have gone before” — a heavenly trek so to speak, lol!

In the name of She who Birthed Us,
Nancy

Orb of the Emissary

#6 Jon- My think was same regarding s2 of Voyager since they’re all they got for 7 years. Being gay myself, I appreciated DS9’s attempts at the matter (ie Rejoined, Mirror Universe Kira), but I also think it would of made more sense in TNG episode “The Outcast” if a male actor portrayed Soren. Anyways… back to ST:XI, even if it made a passing reference to a character among the crew being gay would be something, but The Angry Klingon made a point- an episodic setting would of been more conducive to such a topic.

Thomas

I would say that the introduction of gay characters into Trek should be done in a natural, honest way and avoid heavy-handedness. I think it should be handled the way TOS handled Uhura, with no “Wow, Look at us with a black woman on the bridge! ” sort of thing. Let them just be there, performing their duties and getting along with everyone else.

#3: “Please keep comments appropriate… this subject comes up now and again, so let’s make it through this one without the bad stuff.”

Janine, You’ve Changed.

Darfyn

Star trek as it is is OK , and has always been about insinuated campiness . The majority of fans are geeks not gays . I think Trek has done a good job of presenting minority culture . But I guess times have changed , and maybe it’s now time to be assimilated !

steve623

Sounds like more of the same to me – “Oh yeah, we’re totally for a gay character in Star Trek. Next time!” Always next time.

The Baron

Personally, Being a Gay Man, Who has been into Trek since me super Geeky Teen Years, I honestly think that the whole debate on having a Gay Character is a little dumb.

Frankly, I myself am not defined by my homosexuality. It’s not what makes me “Me”. I cannot see where in a homogenous future, how it would matter one way or the other what someone’s sexuality had to do with anything, Just as someone’s being black has nothing to do with anything, or someone being Asian has nothing to do with anything, or Vulcan, Or a drunken Southerner, or Bald, etc, etc.

Frankly, I just want cool space battles, a meaty story, some twists and turns, and a great movie. And I mean really…. what would they do? have Jack Mcfarland swish onto the bridge of the Enterprise? would that make people happy? probably not.

Personally, I think that the Episodes that have touched on this did it in that “Star Trek’ way, making us look at the issues even though we might not have wanted to at the time. Doesn’t mean I want Lieutenant Hotpants Joe on the bridge of the Enterprise.

Sorry if I have offended anyone. I am a card carrying (If we had em) ‘Mo, and I’ve always thought this notion there had to be one of us on the ship, just kinda silly.

Miles R. Seppelt

I think The Baron hit the nail right on the head.

It’s maybe a bit patronizing to be thinking we should have “one of this category and one of that category,” etc. in a story. Isn’t the whole point supposed to be that we’ve moved BEYOND “categorizing” people by the time of Star Trek?

Whether one is black or white or human or alien or gay or straight is beside the point – those things do not make us who we are…

Decius is Stonn, Stonn is Decius

more of the same half-hearted BS from the timid Powers That Be (and lightweights at that, imho):

‘we’ll take a risk maybe, someday, sorta, but if we do we expect you not to get grossed out or bitch about it, okay, cuz we don’t really want to see that stuff either, but, sorta like you, we kinda think that maybe someday we may actually have to be brave and put in a gay character for, like, a little bit, like a cameo or something, right? that’d suffice, don’t you think? then we could get on to the good stuff, like kick-ass fights and special effects and gnarly villains and time-travel twists an’…’

give. me. a. break.

so much for Roddenberry’s future.

I agree with The Baron here. I find it kind of hard to accept that in a future setting that this would be an issue. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like that with the passage of time, people are becoming more and more accepting/indifferent to gays. I’m not saying that there isn’t persecution out there, because there is. Short of a total collapse of civilization, I don’t see it getting worse.

Now, in Star Trek, Earth does have an apocalypse. To me, it seems like with first contact, with McCoy calling modern religion a myth on TOS, I just don’t see it being an issue. Maybe if they did a Star Trek show during the apocalyptic times, sure, but not in the 23rd or 24th Century.

Oregon Trek Geek

#13 – Baron–couldn’t have said it better myself–another gay man here who really doesn’t care either way.

I’m just hoping that Chris Pine is going to have a shirtless scene. :)

(Now hoping my partner does not see this post) :D

Honestly, I consider Phase II to be legitimate Trek in my own mind anyways… can’t wait to see how Blood and Fire handles it.

It’s not “an issue.”

It’s just a coincidence that in the hundred or so romances shown over the years between Trek regulars and other characters not one has been gay.

Right?

Right?

Coincidence.

Show romance frequently, but never with gay characters.

Because *that* would be an issue.

Da Baron©, I appreciated what you had to say about this subject and the unique perspective you offer. It seems very reasonable.

Everyone correct me if I am wrong, but doesnt Star Trek already have a gay character in Sulu? Didn’t Takei say that once on Howard Stern, that his take was that Sulu was gay?

Sulu Dance,

=h=

Jon

If it is not an issue than why are there not anyone who is publicly gay. Even if they don’t specifically say it. Like they are just talking about a crush or even dating someone.
:p or if in voyager knelix had been jealous of kess and one of the females >_<

Trek Fan

Well, I can see why Trek has been going downhill…they’re focused on gay characters and political correctness.

Hey! I’ve got a novel idea! Let’s just try writing some good stories! The ending to Enterprise was a f*&%ing joke; Voyager was “feel good fest” and finally it seems we’re more interested in gay characters and other diversions rather than writing good stories.

Have you ever watched an old Twilight Zone? Good stories and good acting for the most part…no flashy FX, no crap…just good story telling.

The Angry Klingon

Well, having known and been friends with George for years his ‘coming out’ was not a surprise. I remember when Generations came out and Dimara Sulu was introduced as Sulus daughter and several of us yelled out ‘ADOPTED!”….few folks in the theater got it at the time but NOW they do :) I would have no issues if the new Sulu mentioned his boyfriend back on earth…it sure wouldnt change how I look at Trek. Knowing George for as long as I have I have felt Sulu was gay for a while. Even though I am straight I have many gay friends here in Hollywood and they are not the ‘mincing queen’ stereo types. Several guys that I served in the Infantry with in Iraq Im pretty sure were gay but guess what? We were all too busy trying to stay alive to care about who was sleeping with who. At some point Hollywood will have to show gays and lesbians in a serious light that doesnt hide behind the acceptability of minstrel show mentalities like Will and Grace. My point for all the more militant who think that Trek is copping out is ‘puckey’. To be treated in a serious and respectful manner the topic can not be relegated to a theatrical format to be dealt with. If you feel so strongly about the issue then you should also feel that it deserves its own treatment and NOT just a byline. Trek MOVIES have NEVER dealt with ‘issues’ with… Read more »

Viking

Hitch, you, forgot to turn the gas off on the stove again. LMAO :-)

How do we know there ISN’T a gay character in Star Trek? Like many other issues we have today, specially RACE, these kinds of things are not an issue in the the future world of Star Trek. They are commonplace and accepted and nobody makes a big deal out of it and nobody points any attention to it.

Remember Faran Tahir’s interview, featured right here on the site, and how happy he was no special attention was made to what race he was from. He was a Starship Captain, and that’s all that mattered. His character may well be gay as well, for all we know, but such distinctions, specially in the future reality of Star Trek, it doesn’t matter.

Are there gays in Star Trek? Definitely! Of course! What the hell is IDIC for anyway if not to embrace diversity?

…Actually, that article about Blood and Fire contains a major error. Gerrold never wrote or pitched it for the original Phase II attempt. Gerrold pitched it for TNG, and has since claimed it was rejected *because* of the homosexual elements of the story. This reportedly started what’s been considered the “falling out’ Gerrold had with GR that eventually led to the grievance Gerrold filed with his union over who actually deserved creative credit for TNG. Gerrold lost this suit, and there are some who’ve claimed that his revamping the script for Cawley’s Phase II and making Peter Kirk the “gay character” is some sort of “posthumous revenge” against GR; since GR declared that Kirk was clearly not gay in the TMP novelization, he’d simply bring his nephew out of the closet.

Note that I’m just the messenger on this one, kids…

dep1701

#22. “Well, I can see why Trek has been going downhill…they’re focused on gay characters and political correctness.” While i may not feel that it’s that important to have the issue in the forefront of an episode, I don’t get your comment at all. Where is the evidence that ANY of the trek series have “focused” on gay characters at all? A lot of more mundane, contemporary shows have included a gay character as a matter of course, with no huge fanfare. Why not Trek, which is supposed to be set in a shiny happy future where everyone is equal no matter what? And pardon me, but Trek, even in the ’60’s, was somewhat focused on political correctness, even in it’s limited way, before the term was created. From the pilot with it’s “radical” concept of a woman second in command, to the mere presence of a black/ asian/ russian/ officer on the bridge, to minor middle eastern and latin characters ( remember Singh, and Rodriguez? ) populating the ship, Roddenberry’s vision was about equality and diversity. Now, I have no idea about your sexual preference, ethnicity or even your gender, and frankly it doesn’t matter, but you might feel a little less flip about the importance of including even an extra portraying a gay character ( holding hands in the background of a lounge scene would be just fine ) if you were a member of a group that constantly sees itself as non-existent in Roddenberry’s otherwise Utopian vision… Read more »

ByGeorge

You can throw all the PCness and gay characters at us but I have found that the best ST episodes are the ones that simply are good emotionally charged, thought provoking stories. City of the Edge of Forever, Amok Time, Mirror-Mirror, Trouble with Tribbles, Balance of Terror, Menagerie, Piece of the Action, Enterprise Incident, — generally considered their best episodes fit the description of being just great stories. When the give us an alleged story which is really just a social commentary, TOS got boring. I find little entertainment in The Cloud Minders, Mark of Gideon, Let that be Your Last Battlefield.

ST needs good stories. We can turn on any news program to hear social commentary. We need ST to give us cerebral, science fiction, outer space type stories stories that we won’t see on this Earth in this time. ST provides entertainment. I need to “Explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and civilizations and bold go where no man has gone before”. Not sure how making sure there are gay characters fits into that idea.

Xai

I think the Baron said it well.

#15 Decius… Sorry, I disagree. I don’t need to discover a character’s sexuality to enjoy a Star Trek story on TV or the new movie. I don’t care if Ensign Joe Redshirt likes boys or girls. It’s not pertinent. This is not real life and I wouldn’t care what “Joe” liked even if it was real life.
I think they had to fit a lot of things into this movie… was there room in the story to “make” a character gay? Maybe… but I doubt it.
I don’t see why you are so down on TPTB… it was asked and answered.

steve-o

Congrats so far folks! this article’s thread has been sucessful so far in not being shut down (as is common with this topic).

I am a gay male in my twenties. I must say that the prospect of a gay character in star trek doesnt affect me either way.
i dont need a gay guy in every episode of a television series, or in every movie that is made just so i feel accepted.
a gay story line is not why i would get my arse out to the theatre to watch this movie. i am in it for the furturistic technology, awesome story line, and a great adventure.

OA

I don’t believe we need to go into someone’s sexual orientation. Why? Because Trek succeeded and will continue to succeed without this. Romance is not even a key Trek theme, so we don’t really need to go into whether someone’s gay or not.

Star Trek 2 had no real romance, Star Trek 4 didn’t, Star Trek 6 included it for humour (Kirk & shape-shifter), Star Trek 8 had Data & Borg Queen although I didn’t quite see the point in it.

Romance, let alone their orientation, isn’t the key to Trek; it’s the ADVENTURE!

Remember the end of TMP: The human adventure is just beginning…

James Heaney - Wowbagger

I can’t say I’m broken up about it, being, as I am, part of the vast hatemongering homophobic bigots’ conspiracy against gay rights. In fact, I’m more than a bit relieved to hear that Trek will remain neutral, common ground in the culture war for at least a while longer. I hope it will continue to be a franchise I can comfortably recommend to religiously and culturally conservative families.

Nonetheless, it is increasingly puzzling to see Trek producers say one thing: “We think there should be gays on Trek”–and then do something entirely different (that is, NOT put gays on Trek). I mean, I’m not complaining about the outcome, but it’s hard not to wonder whether the lot of them, from Roddenberry to Abrams, are a bunch of hypocrites. Even we discriminatory prejudicial Neanderthals are starting to think the double-talk is a bit transparent here, folks.

Hopefully I’ve disclaimed this post enough regarding my personal beliefs that it won’t start a fight. It was intended merely as observation about the apparent insincerity of the producers.

Decius is Stonn, Stonn is Decius

well, ok, #31… then it must not have been important to cast the original series with groundbreaking INCLUSIVITY… an African American, an Asian American, a Second In Command (pilot) who happened to be a Strong Woman, a (heaven forbid in 1967) Russian, a vegetarian alien who didn’t believe in God (“I, for one, do not believe in angels…”). it may not important to YOU to never see yourself or your people included on the screen, but i can promise you that MILLIONS of minorities were inspired by ST – yes, not by beating it on the head, but just by simply being invited to the table and BEING ON THE G-D BRIDGE along with everyone else. you people just don’t get it because you’re too defensive (please think about this) or chickensh*tted to honeslty walk a mile – or parsec – in someone else’s shoes. the infuriating thing is everyone acts like it’s not a big deal when it was Roddenberry who put his reputation on the line and fought the good battles to get the original characters on screen… flash-forward forty years and people are soooo quick to start whining when this glaring disparity is pointed out, while seemingly oblivious to the series’ true origins (being daring, socially conscious, etc). for me, the brilliance of Roddenberry was that once he put his cast and characters in place he then ignored the minority aspect and simply went on to great storytelling. subsequent ST series either tried too hard or fell… Read more »

Decius is Stonn, Stonn is Decius

and james…

can’t resist, but “Heaney” is the perfect last name for a self-proclaimed ‘hatemongering homophobic bigot’

rhymes with “meanie”

El Rushborg

Hey, you tell’em, #32!

I’m a Right-Wing Nutcase too, y’all. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s called IDIC.

James has a point. It’s best for Trek not to talk about it. That way, you can draw your own conclusions.

Here’s to TRUE diversity! Here, Here!

Fansince9

This was a good call. Having gay characters in Star Trek is too divisive a component and would have only achieved to hurt the movie in the end. Nobody wants plugged politics in their entertainment.

ByGeorge

Romance is Very important for women – an area ST is weak in. Lots of women watched ST for the romantic lead characters. Thats a huge chunk of the population. If ST survives it will need romance in it to attract female viewers.

Finny

Why is it SO IMPORTANT for there to be a “Gay” Star Trek Character – by the 23rd Century,will it even be an issue?

It’s like how come we never see or hear mention of a Ship’s Chaplin on ENTERPRISE,ST:TOS, or TNG? Earth Religion isn’t an issue on STAR TREK and you don’t see Christians attacking Trek for that. “Oh,there’s no Christians on STAR TREK” I don’t think Religion was a major factor in TREK untill DS9, outside the odd episodes of the various series – and then it wasn’t Human/Earth Religion.

Sometimes I feel that the fan-films “Hidden Frontier” and now with the upcoming “Phase II” seem to be shoving the “We need a Gay Character” down our throats. It it no wonder why CBS-Paramount ‘plays it safe’ and let The fan films deal with the “Gay” issue so they don’t have to in films or other media.

I’m pro-choice of lifestyle and life,but don’t I have a choice if I want to watch TREK with a “Gay” Character or not?

I do – I choice not to.

Mike T.

why does there have to be a specifically gay person? I thought the future was supposed to be beyond racial or sexual profiling. It’s just like the part of Sisko. It wasn’t written for a white or black person, and in the end the powers that be picked Avery Brooks.

My personal opinion is Star Trek should be less about who is sleeping with who and more about exploring the final frontier. I thought Picard’s scenes in bed with Vash and some other characters were a distraction.

As long as a person can do their job it shouldn’t matter if they are black, white, yellow, green, klingon, andorian, straight, gay, or bisexual.

On Doctor Who, you would never know Captain Jack is bisexual until he kissed another male character. Based on this any number of Trek characters could be gay / bisexual and you would never know it until the writers had the character display affection to someone of the same sex.

krikzil

“Show romance frequently, but never with gay characters.
Because *that* would be an issue.”

I agree. It’s the one area that Trek has failed for me. There should be gay characters who simply are gay, no big deal, no explanation, because in the future I really don’t think it’s going to matter one whit.

DS9 tried that Dax storyline but took a lot of heat for it, and THAT was with 2 women!

As for Uhura, didn’t Whoopie get excited because there was a Black woman on TV and she wasn’t a maid? Her words. It doesn’t resonate today but it was HUGE back then.

Xai

33. Decius is Stonn, Stonn is Decius – July 15, 2008 I am truly sorry you feel so much venom coming from my post… because there wasn’t any. I said I disagreed and expressed my opinion. I said I didn’t care about anyone’s sexuality..in other words..it’s their business and not mine. And I don’t find it all that important to a Trek storyline. I also don’t care what color skin the helmsman had or the communications officer or what accent the engineer or navigator had. I am older, my best client is black, my boss is a woman and her boss is gay. And as long as we all get along and not worry about the genders, preferences or colors and ages… who cares? “it may not important to YOU to never see yourself or your people (my people?) included on the screen, but i can promise you that MILLIONS of minorities were inspired by ST – yes, not by beating it on the head, but just by simply being invited to the table and BEING ON THE G-D BRIDGE along with everyone else.” I’ve no doubt about it… Whoopi Goldberg is an example of that and I am glad for all that felt inspired. But one doesn’t need to be in the minority of anything to feel that inspiration. I am not going to go on and on because this subject has a history of becoming a heated topic, but let me point out that you threw out a… Read more »

I think the opportunity to show a gay character on Star Trek has long since passed… at this point it would be more distracting than it was worth. If there’s another Trek TV series, sure… something like this would definitely be appropriate for a serialized drama where we have the luxury of 22 hours a year to delve into a character’s personal life. But a 2 hour movie? Nah.

Oh and FWIW, big ‘mo here. BIG ‘mo. :)

Barry

Who gives a damn? Please!

I know maybe a few, but PC-ism is killin’ me.

Denise de Arman

Ooh, ooh, I know the answer to this challenge: Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto beam down to a non-Federation planet to obtain a rare mineral that will cure a plague on another planet. Millions of lives at stake. The resident emperor-guy-in-charge takes one look at them and says, “Display yourselves to me in sexual congress together and you may have all the rare mineral you like.” Kirk looks at Spock, shrugs, and says, “The good of the many and all that, SpocK”. Spock replies, while removing his shirt, “Logical, Captain. Flawlessly logical.” After a heated session of IDIC, our courageous captain and virile Vulcan realize they gotta’ get some more of THAT and become Starfleet’s sweethearts. Saving a planet and finding true love – pure Trek at its best…

Decius is Stonn, Stonn is Decius

the subtext of almost every one of these posts is “I’m not comfortable, I don’t want to see it…” (magnanimous though some of you may be), which is exactly why a gay character needs to be in the Star Trek family.

Daoud

“So, sequel? I’m sure you guys must know there’s a huge bi community out there who [love Star Trek and sci fi] … it’s just something that has always rankled gay folks all these years. There’s all this diversity [in Star Trek], yet that’s the one thing that’s missing.”

“So, sequel? I’m sure you guys must know there’s a huge transgendered community out there who [love Star Trek and sci fi] … it’s just something that has always rankled gay folks all these years. There’s all this diversity [in Star Trek], yet that’s the one thing that’s missing.”

“So, sequel? I’m sure you guys must know there’s a huge polygamous community out there who [love Star Trek and sci fi] … it’s just something that has always rankled gay folks all these years. There’s all this diversity [in Star Trek], yet that’s the one thing that’s missing.”

Thank you ‘The Baron’ and others who are awesome and much like those in my local GLBT community… Let’s put the efforts into where it matters: such as legal equality. Hollywood does a pretty good job overall. Star Trek has already had non-gendered species having relationships, and Riker’s TNG experiences… and even the case of the Trill. Last I recall, we’ve had an outright gay relationship in DS9 via the Intendant.

krikzil

Denise — LOL. I’m sure there’s a fanzine with that storyline in it!

Ice Nine

I assume in the future that people are enlightened enough to realize that being gay isn’t a choice, and many people are simply born that way. In the more enlightened time of Star Trek, there wouldn’t be such a prejudice.

So it wouldn’t make any sense making it the subject of a story, no more than Ryker’s and Troi’s heterosexuality being the main focus. As a side story, fine. Then maybe some day in the future people could watch it and talk about how silly that being gay was so controversial.

El_Nastro

Yes. Having a gay character FOR THE SAKE OF HAVING ONE sure is a great idea.

Years ago a friend of mine, noticing Trek’s progressively more hamfisted political-correctness predicted that the next captain would be a homosexual, elderly, overweight Latino woman, and I think it is time!

More homosexual senior overweight Latino women in Star Trek!

Ice Nine

44. Denise de Arman – BLASPHEMER!!!!!!

Reminds me of a tape I did with some friends, where we dubbed new dialogue and sound effects and music onto “Plato’s Stepchildren.” In our version the Star Fleet USO ship was in dry dock, so the Enterprise has to go and entertain the people.

The dialogue was, shall we say, much more personally passionate.

Later on we audio dubbed Spock’s death scene in TWOK, and it’s still hard to watch now without giggling.

You’re awful ;.)