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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old December 16 2010, 06:47 PM   #1
Too Much Fun
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Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

I was watching "Dax" recently (and also remembering Jadzia Dax's line from an earlier episode about it being a long time since she's been a woman) and couldn't help but wonder about how sexual orientation factors into Trill host selection. There has been a lot of speculation from Star Trek fans (and even non-fans) over the years about how homosexuality fits into this universe. I've been asked myself, "if it's such a perfect society, how come we don't see any universally accepted homosexuality in it? I think it's interesting to ask this question while taking the Trill into consideration. Would a Trill be uncomfortable with having to change genders due to sexual orientation? Might only 'bisexual' individuals be considered as possible hosts for this reason? A friend of mine was teasing me about liking Jadzia Dax by saying, "she used to be a guy", and it made me think, yeah, but how come nobody else attracted to her cares? Are all Trills bisexual, or does homosexuality not even exist in the Star Trek universe because everyone is bisexual?

It seems like a Trill being a heterosexual or homosexual might cause problems and/or confusion. This is only hinted at in "The Host", but I thought it raised an intriguing question. Beverly Crusher didn't want to pick up where she left off with her Trill lover upon discovering that it had become a woman. This was supposedly because Crusher is not a lesbian or bisexual (writers had not yet created the rule that Trills cannot consort with lovers from past lives, so we can assume Crusher was unaware of the rule, so it wasn't her reason for backing away from the relationship).

The fact that the gender change didn't faze Beverly's lover suggests to me that Trills could be what we consider bisexual. Furthermore, I'd wager they probably think beyond sexual orientation and believe love transcends gender, which is something I've heard argued by people who aren't simply heterosexual but do not being like grouped into a category like 'homosexual' or 'bisexual'. If that's the case, the Trill actually ends up being a creation that metaphorically seems to have a lot of sympathy and understanding for those with such sexual orientations, much like the mutants in the X-Men films. What do you think?
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Old December 16 2010, 06:55 PM   #2
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

There's also the fact that in - "Rejoined," I think it was called? - Dax falls (back?) in love with the current host of the Kahn symbiont, Lenara. Her previous host, Toban, a male, was married to one of the Kahn symbiont's previous hosts, a female, and Toban died tragically. When they met up again, both the hosts were women. What prevents them from staying together, IIRC, is not the homosexuality angle, but the fact that it is taboo for a Trill to pursue a romantic relationship with someone (Trill or non, host or symbiont) he/she was involved with in a previous lifetime.
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Old December 16 2010, 07:06 PM   #3
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

Well, let me ask this, do the Trill symbionts themselves even have a gender at all?

If the symbiont is genderless, then the gender (or even sexual orientation) of the host becomes much less important.
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Old December 16 2010, 07:16 PM   #4
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

*waves at Chaos Descending* Hello, fellow Arizonan!

Well, that's a good point, I don't think they ever specified if the symbionts have genders.
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Old December 16 2010, 07:20 PM   #5
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

I've always assumed the Trill themselves were gender-less. What I wonder is if the sexual orientation of a potential host affects their eligibility to be a host.
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Old December 16 2010, 09:29 PM   #6
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
I've been asked myself, "if it's such a perfect society, how come we don't see any universally accepted homosexuality in it?
The answer to that being that in real life the lowest common denominator are ignorant, angry idiots who would be up in arms if Trek ever did that. People who think it's wrong, improper, or other such bullshit. IIRC, Rejoined got a bit of flak, even with the specific context of Dax and Kahn.

So I like to think that it IS accepted in Trek, or at least the Federation, even if it's something you can't show openly because people are idiots. That no one in the cast even brings up the same-sex as a reason not to pursue the relationship in Rejoined is a good sign of that, at least.
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Old December 16 2010, 11:09 PM   #7
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
I've always assumed the Trill themselves were gender-less. What I wonder is if the sexual orientation of a potential host affects their eligibility to be a host.
Why would it matter? The host has their own sexual orientation and chooses partners accordingly - if they're heterosexual, partners of the opposite sex, if they're homosexual, partners of the same sex, if they're bisexual, either sex; the symbiont doesn't care either way.

Jadzia, for instance, seemed to have preference for men since she kept choosing them. But she had nothing against relationships between people of the same sex.
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Old December 16 2010, 11:15 PM   #8
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

The symbionts may be without gender, but the hosts do have it. And, the TNG Trill episode notwithstanding, the symbiont doesn't obliterate the consciousness of its host. Whatever orientation the host had before joining, it will probably have after.
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Old December 17 2010, 01:46 AM   #9
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

Maybe the entire concept of sexual orientation doesn't exist amongst the Trill. Maybe all Trill humanoids are universally bisexual.
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Old December 17 2010, 01:56 AM   #10
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

DS9 Gal AZ wrote: View Post
*waves at Chaos Descending* Hello, fellow Arizonan!
Hi there, nice to meet you!
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Old December 17 2010, 02:36 AM   #11
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

Sci wrote: View Post
Maybe the entire concept of sexual orientation doesn't exist amongst the Trill. Maybe all Trill humanoids are universally bisexual.
Since only a minority of Trill are joined, I find that unlikely.
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Old December 17 2010, 03:28 AM   #12
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

I tend to believe that the symbiont is asexual and the gender/gender-identity/sexual preference is determined by the host.

I also tend to believe that Jadzia was heterosexual as far as her personal preferences as evidenced by her relationships with men. I don't think a bisexual girl would have only a male dancer at her pre-martial party.

The question of why Jadzia Dax was interested in Lenara Kahn seems to be a question of familiarity and love possessed by the two symbionts, Dax and Kahn. In prior hosts the two symbionts were married.
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Old December 17 2010, 06:45 AM   #13
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

Maybe the entire concept of sexual orientation doesn't exist amongst the Trill. Maybe all Trill humanoids are universally bisexual.
That was one of the possibilities I suggested in my original post.

ElfEars wrote: View Post
Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
I've always assumed the Trill themselves were gender-less. What I wonder is if the sexual orientation of a potential host affects their eligibility to be a host.
Why would it matter? The host has their own sexual orientation and chooses partners accordingly - if they're heterosexual, partners of the opposite sex, if they're homosexual, partners of the same sex, if they're bisexual, either sex; the symbiont doesn't care either way.
Yes, but don't you think it would be confusing for a host that is for example a heterosexual male to be succeeded by a host that is homosexual male? After all the new host retains the memories of the previous host.

I was just imagining the possible gender/sexual identity confusion that would occur if the hosts kept switching sexual orientation every time the trill started with a new one.

That's why I thought it would be a lot easier if all Trill were bisexual, but the question has never been answered explicitly, so I thought it's ripe for speculation.

Jadzia, for instance, seemed to have preference for men since she kept choosing them. But she had nothing against relationships between people of the same sex.
Right, but then she was still attracted to Lenara based on and feelings and memories she had of Lenara as a man, wasn't she? So does this mean she has a preference for men or could be attracted to both men and women?

I know the show tried to keep it vague because they didn't want to directly address homosexuality (I suppose to avoid pissing off some people uncomfortable with that, as someone else in this thread suggested), but I can't help but wonder.
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Old December 17 2010, 01:33 PM   #14
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Re: Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post

Jadzia, for instance, seemed to have preference for men since she kept choosing them. But she had nothing against relationships between people of the same sex.
Right, but then she was still attracted to Lenara based on and feelings and memories she had of Lenara as a man, wasn't she? So does this mean she has a preference for men or could be attracted to both men and women?

I know the show tried to keep it vague because they didn't want to directly address homosexuality (I suppose to avoid pissing off some people uncomfortable with that, as someone else in this thread suggested), but I can't help but wonder.
On her own, she has a preference for men, but when influenced by other hosts' memories, she can be attracted to a woman. But 1) this is irrelevant since she's not supposed to get involved with the previous host's lover anyway, and 2) she (and presumably other Trills) don't have any sort of prejudice towards same-sex relationships.


Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
Maybe the entire concept of sexual orientation doesn't exist amongst the Trill. Maybe all Trill humanoids are universally bisexual.
That was one of the possibilities I suggested in my original post.

ElfEars wrote: View Post
Why would it matter? The host has their own sexual orientation and chooses partners accordingly - if they're heterosexual, partners of the opposite sex, if they're homosexual, partners of the same sex, if they're bisexual, either sex; the symbiont doesn't care either way.
Yes, but don't you think it would be confusing for a host that is for example a heterosexual male to be succeeded by a host that is homosexual male? After all the new host retains the memories of the previous host.

I was just imagining the possible gender/sexual identity confusion that would occur if the hosts kept switching sexual orientation every time the trill started with a new one.
.
Trill culture doesn't seem to put such a strong importance to gender and sexual preference. That doesn't mean that people don't have it, just that it's not a big deal. Maybe it's even something on the level of 'do you prefer blondes or brunettes'.

Memories of a person of a different sexual orientation would be just as confusing as memories of a person with a different personality, tastes, eating and sleeping habits, etc., not to mention gender. It must be very confusing overall, which is why there is such a rigorous process of training and selection of a new host. But in the end, joined Trills enjoy the opportunity of having all those different experiences.
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