Oh jeez. You know how you write a gay character on Star Trek? You write a straight character and merely flip the gender of whom they're attracted to. That. Is. It.
J. Allen wrote:
To be fair, portraying a gay person on screen, and doing them justice, is rather difficult.
It's not difficult at all, all you have to do is take a script, pick a random guest star who mentions his wife and replace the word "wife" with "husband".
Don't try to make a "gay episode" and doing them justice or you end up with David Gerrold's Blood and Fire which was written for TNG and filmed for the TOS fan series. The gay part of Blood and Fire was almost offensively bad, they have a gay couple and one of them kills himself because of Space AIDS.
I'm sure the episode was rejected for TNG not because of the gay couple (if that was a problem they could have made them a straight couple) but because it was stupid.
The couple served no purpose other than showing the audience that gay people have feelings too "See, they're kissing and are happy, now one of them is dead and the other one is really devastated and angry but in the end he gets better!". Well, thank you David Gerrold, you totally showed the audience that gay couples are regular people, who would have thought?! Too bad you didn't treat them like regular people but made them the centerpiece of your AIDS allegory and death drama instead.
I'll address both of these together. The primary reason why it's difficult to write for a gay character is because it is a precarious balance. You have to do justice to the character, mollify the suits who make the decisions from on high, and convey it to the audience in a way that is not ham handed.
For someone like me, it's easy to write
a gay character. However, the process doesn't end with me. It has to go over well with the head writer, and the director, and all of the people involved in making the decisions for each episode.
Any one of those steps can kill off that character. I have no doubt that there were writers pushing good ideas, but those ideas were snuffed out before they ever made it past the primary stages. That's mainly due to issues with the suits and the audience. Only recently has it been acceptable to write gay characters that weren't lampooning gay people in general.
Over time, there will be gay characters. Like I said earlier, I believe the next series will likely have a gay character. It's the audience that ultimately makes that decision, and I think audiences are ready, their prejudices are changing. Write a gay Will Riker type character and you'd see the moral majority come out in force. Is it a double standard? You bet your ass. Still, that, too, is changing.
We still have a long way to go in TV land, though. Look how long it took women to get fairly represented, and there are billions of them! Writing a gay character and seeing him or her actually come into existence on Star Trek is something I've wanted to see for a long time. Maybe, finally, we'll see it happen. Studios are starting to see that gay people make up a large chunk of their viewing audience, and that can only lead to better representation in shows and movies. I just want it tastefully done by someone who knows what they're doing. I'd rather it be done right than half assed and some moron fuck it up for everyone else.