Today many TV series have gay characters, including William Shatner’s sitcom $#!* My Dad Says and Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica spin-offs. But there has never been a gay character on Star Trek, and in a new interview veteran Star Trek writer/producer Brannon Braga explains why that is and why he thinks things would be different today.
Braga on why no gay Star Trek characters
Over the years Brannon Braga grew from a WGA intern on Star Trek: The Next Generation, to the co-creator and show-runner for Star Trek: Enterprise. In that time he ended up with more writing credits than any other writer. Braga is now working on Steven Spielberg’s new time travel series Terra Nova. At the recent TCA press event, the LBGT site AfterElton talked to Braga about gay characters in science fiction and specifically on Star Trek. Here is an excerpt:
AE: I’m very much a fan of Star Trek but unfortunately none of the series ever included a gay character. You were involved with writing two of the movies and produced or executive produced for The Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise. Can you speak to why that never happened?
BB: It was a shame for a lot of us that … I’m talking about the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and there was a constant back and forth about well how do we portray the spectrum of sexuality. There were people who felt very strongly that we should be showing casually, you know, just two guys together in the background in Ten Forward. At the time the decision was made not to do that and I think those same people would make a different decision now because I think, you know, that was 1989, well yeah about 89, 90, 91. I have no doubt that those same creative players wouldn’t feel so hesitant to have, you know, have been squeamish about a decision like that.
Braga went on to say that Star Trek did deal with gay issues "metaphorically" noting a Dax episode in Deep Space Nine’s (likely "Rejoined"), and that the issue wasn’t due to science fiction being more male oriented, but due Star Trek being a "syndicated family show".
Read more of Braga’s interview at AfterElton.com.
It is true that there have not been any outright gay characters in Star Trek, but during Braga’s tenure he is right to say that some episodes did venture into some LGBT "metaphors", such as TNG’s "The Host" and "Outcast", DS9’s "Rejoined" and "Profit and Lace". Here is an interesting video compilation for some of these episodes.
POLL: Time for a gay character on Star Trek?
Thanks to Scott Lukas Williams for Youtube compilation