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Old March 27 2013, 01:46 AM   #2011
Christopher
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

kirk55555 wrote: View Post
I think it is probably both. Its pointless to the story, but I guess trying to call attention to gay characters counts as a point.
You're not getting what I'm saying, so let me spell it out even more bluntly. It wasn't "trying to call attention to gay characters." It was doing exactly the opposite of that: treating them simply as normal characters, to write them the same way one would write anyone else -- which means occasionally involving them in romantic storylines. It wasn't the authors making a big deal out of their gayness -- it's just you. That's why I asked if you'd think it was calling attention to heterosexuality if the story had been exactly the same except for one of the characters being female. You admitted that you wouldn't. Which means you have a double standard. Don't blame the authors for that.


It did feel like thats the main reason they were there, even beyond the potential romance with each other. What did we get about either character? One was the boyfriend of a extra who got killed in First Contact, and he's a friend of Nurse Ogawa.
Ranul Keru is a character whom Andy Mangels & Mike Martin established in TNG: Section 31: Rogue and revisited in Worlds of Deep Space Nine -- Trill: Rejoined before bringing him into the Titan series. He was given a lot of development over the course of their books, driven mainly by the fact that he lost his spouse to the Borg and was changed by that tragedy, as anyone would be. He left his post as a stellar cartographer, taking a sabbatical to tend the symbiont pools on Trill and try to find himself, and then returned to Starfleet but transferred to security. As I recall it, Keru's arc in Taking Wing was mainly about how he was still coping with that loss in a variety of ways, including being uncomfortable with the cyborg crewmember Torvig and being saddled with unwelcome romantic attentions. It wasn't about him "being gay" any more than it was about him being a biped. That's just part of his description, not the point of the story. The story was about how a widower copes with unwanted romantic overtures. The emotions involved there are the same for everyone, regardless of the sexes of the people involved.


I mean, they weren't going to be main characters. Keru was basically filling in until Tuvok showed up...
Completely untrue. Keru continues to be a main character as Titan's security chief, alongside Tuvok as its tactical officer. Most Trek series combine the two responsibilities (the former focused on events within the ship, the latter on events outside it) under a single character's purview, but the developers of Titan chose to separate them. And as stated, Mangels & Martin established Keru as a recurring character in their works before TTN began.
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Old March 27 2013, 05:36 AM   #2012
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

I started Reading Weight of Worlds by Greg Cox tonight. Great book .I really like the story is unfolding at a fast pace.
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Old March 27 2013, 06:30 AM   #2013
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Reading "The Message of John" (The Bible Speaks Today) by Bruce Milne (1993) as it is 'Holy Week' and hope to catch up with more Star Trek very soon. People can have clear ideas about right and wrong but still support a regime like that proposed by John Stuart Mill in "On Liberty" where very free speech and social experimentation are more than tolerated. IMHO (and I am not humble enough) the heteros in the books seem more libertine than the homosexuals. Perhaps only the requirements for some semblance of security could limit infinite diversity in sexual permutations.

I cannot well remember "Taking Wing" but each species shall come to understand, manage, and preserve (as well as conserve) the many variations of its genome and then perhaps experiment with increasing that diversity of which Spock was an all too logical example. Freedom from eugenics means monitoring and careful preservation and conservation of the genome and its variations.

Has Star Trek ever pondered the questions of 'cannister birth' so noticeable in Lois McMaster Bujold's novels?
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Old March 27 2013, 11:38 AM   #2014
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Finished up The Last Jedi. Today I start Doctor Who: The Spear of Destiny. Tomorrow (or possibly even later today) I move on to Tales of the Bounty Hunters.
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Old March 27 2013, 07:10 PM   #2015
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

kirk55555 wrote: View Post
What did we get about either character? One was the boyfriend of a extra who got killed in First Contact, and he's a friend of Nurse Ogawa. The other was freaked out by the doctor, and thought Keru was attractive. That is all either of them added to the story, minus one or two action scenes with Keru that could have used any security officer. It would have been pointless regardless of their genders, but the fact that almost every scene they were in was about them being gay
No. It was not about them being gay. It was, as Christopher said, about a widower learning to move on from the loss of his spouse, with the question of how he felt about a potential suitor being just one facet of his character arc. That that suitor happened to be male was not the focus of the arc, and I'm sorry that you can't seem to stop fixating on it.

(Side-note: Really, Keru's arc in Taking Wing is similar to Sisko's arc in "Emissary," or to the story of him meeting Kassidy Yates later in the series. Was Sisko's arc in "Emissary" only about him being straight? Was the Sisko/Kassidy arc only about them being straight?)

and not advancing either the story
What does that mean? "The" story? There are multiple stories being told in Taking Wing, and one of them is how a widower learns to move on with his life.
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Old March 27 2013, 07:44 PM   #2016
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Christopher wrote: View Post
kirk55555 wrote: View Post
I think it is probably both. Its pointless to the story, but I guess trying to call attention to gay characters counts as a point.
You're not getting what I'm saying, so let me spell it out even more bluntly. It wasn't "trying to call attention to gay characters." It was doing exactly the opposite of that: treating them simply as normal characters, to write them the same way one would write anyone else -- which means occasionally involving them in romantic storylines. It wasn't the authors making a big deal out of their gayness -- it's just you. That's why I asked if you'd think it was calling attention to heterosexuality if the story had been exactly the same except for one of the characters being female. You admitted that you wouldn't. Which means you have a double standard. Don't blame the authors for that.
What do you mean, double standard? I said I'd call out any plot line like this that I felt was pointless, regardless of who is involved. I hate all romance in Star Trek books anyway (not couples neccessarily, I'm fine with the big guys if its done well, I just don't like it when romantic stuff is a part of the story). If Vale started mooning over some random guy and it was taking the story nowhere and just wasting pages, I'd call it out the same way I've talked about Keru/the ensign. The difference is that, while they would both pointless to the story, Vale/a random person would just be a pointless subplot. The Keru stuff feels like a pointless subplot with the ulterior motive of trying to show "diversity" at the expense of the story.

Christopher wrote: View Post
kirk55555 wrote: View Post
It did feel like thats the main reason they were there, even beyond the potential romance with each other. What did we get about either character? One was the boyfriend of a extra who got killed in First Contact, and he's a friend of Nurse Ogawa.
Ranul Keru is a character whom Andy Mangels & Mike Martin established in TNG: Section 31: Rogue and revisited in Worlds of Deep Space Nine -- Trill: Rejoined before bringing him into the Titan series. He was given a lot of development over the course of their books, driven mainly by the fact that he lost his spouse to the Borg and was changed by that tragedy, as anyone would be. He left his post as a stellar cartographer, taking a sabbatical to tend the symbiont pools on Trill and try to find himself, and then returned to Starfleet but transferred to security. As I recall it, Keru's arc in Taking Wing was mainly about how he was still coping with that loss in a variety of ways, including being uncomfortable with the cyborg crewmember Torvig and being saddled with unwelcome romantic attentions. It wasn't about him "being gay" any more than it was about him being a biped. That's just part of his description, not the point of the story. The story was about how a widower copes with unwanted romantic overtures. The emotions involved there are the same for everyone, regardless of the sexes of the people involved.
I can accept the fact that the character himself may have had a point at one time. i was not told I'd have to read the entire Mangels & Martin bibliography to understand parts of the Titan series. They probably should have put a note about that somewhere Regardless of how he was in those books, I base what I think off of this book. If he wasn't doing anything strictly secruity, he was obsessed with his dead partner or the ensign was wanting to get together with him. It just felt like it was their just to call attention to the fact they are gay. It was brought up everytime Keru was around. He had no character in this book besides being the gay security cheif who was sad about his partner dying. He really served no purpose besides that. He either needed more pages to develop/explain him better, or just have been a background character.

kirk55555 wrote: View Post
I mean, they weren't going to be main characters. Keru was basically filling in until Tuvok showed up...
Christopher wrote: View Post
Completely untrue. Keru continues to be a main character as Titan's security chief, alongside Tuvok as its tactical officer. Most Trek series combine the two responsibilities (the former focused on events within the ship, the latter on events outside it) under a single character's purview, but the developers of Titan chose to separate them. And as stated, Mangels & Martin established Keru as a recurring character in their works before TTN began.
I can admit to being wrong about him being a placeholder (after all, I've only read two Titan books and didn't remember either of them very well before I started rereading them) but its just the impression book 1 gave me. Seperating those positions seems uneccesary, but whatever. I wouldn't be annoyed by Keru if he had done anything besides stuff any security officer could have done, or be around just for diversity. He could change my opinion of him easily in other books, if he wakes up and actually does something beside just being one of the few token gay characters. I like several of the newer characters in this book, like Vale and the Titan's designer. I like several gay characters in other media, so regardless of what you seem to insinuate, the fact that the characters are gay isn't a problem to me, and its not causing a double standard. The problem is that they're used just to be the gay guys, and have no other purpose, in book 1. Either of the characters can come back from that, its just how book 1 went.

I think that because thats what I think happened in the book, not because of some prejudice against gay characters. Its not like I read Batwoman and think her relationship with the police officer is pointless, or read Astonishing X-Men and say Northstar/Kyle is just there for diversity. Their relationships actually add something to the characters and/or story (and both are interesting characters, although I'd say I like Batwoman better). I've never read anything with them and thought that their sexual preferance was the reason they were in the story or that it was the only thing they were contributing, unlike Keru and the ensign in the first Titan book.

I'm not trying to insult the authors of the Titan books. I thought most of the book was decent, and honestly the Keru stuff may just be a side effect of Titan wanting to bash its diversity into my skull every few pages, and not because the authors were specifically writing Keru and the ensign to push a specific gay diversity thing. God knows the book wasn't shuting up about the Titan's diversity in general. I'm not trying to anger anyone (even if the insinuation that Keru/the ensign being gay is the reason I think they're only there for diversity is pretty insulting to me and probably warrents me getting angry), I was just giving my impression of the book. I wasn't aware that the Titan books are beyond reproach. I believe that everything in a book is fair game for critisism. If the Keru/ensign stuff hadn't seemed to be there just to be there, if it had even just been merely pointless and not brought up so much, I wouldn't even have mentioned it. The fact that they are gay, to me, does not mean that stuff with them can't be critisized. I treat them like I treat every character, regardless of orientation.

Sci wrote: View Post
kirk55555 wrote: View Post
What did we get about either character? One was the boyfriend of a extra who got killed in First Contact, and he's a friend of Nurse Ogawa. The other was freaked out by the doctor, and thought Keru was attractive. That is all either of them added to the story, minus one or two action scenes with Keru that could have used any security officer. It would have been pointless regardless of their genders, but the fact that almost every scene they were in was about them being gay
No. It was not about them being gay. It was, as Christopher said, about a widower learning to move on from the loss of his spouse, with the question of how he felt about a potential suitor being just one facet of his character arc. That that suitor happened to be male was not the focus of the arc, and I'm sorry that you can't seem to stop fixating on it.

(Side-note: Really, Keru's arc in Taking Wing is similar to Sisko's arc in "Emissary," or to the story of him meeting Kassidy Yates later in the series. Was Sisko's arc in "Emissary" only about him being straight? Was the Sisko/Kassidy arc only about them being straight?)

and not advancing either the story
What does that mean? "The" story? There are multiple stories being told in Taking Wing, and one of them is how a widower learns to move on with his life.
I'm not fixating on anything. I'd say that maybe I'm not the one fixating on something. I mentioned it in a larger post about the book. Other people keep harping on it, like I'm not allowed to critisize a subplot about gay characters because any critisizm is bad if the thing in question involves gay people, and you're evil/prejudiced if you think stuff like that is done badly.
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Old March 27 2013, 08:18 PM   #2017
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

kirk55555 wrote: View Post
I'm not fixating on anything.
If you weren't fixating on anything, then you wouldn't have brought up Keru's sexual orientation in the first place.
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Old March 27 2013, 08:41 PM   #2018
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

kirk55555 wrote: View Post
What do you mean, double standard? I said I'd call out any plot line like this that I felt was pointless, regardless of who is involved.
But you also admitted that you would not claim it was "about" the characters' sexual orientation if they were heterosexual. Don't move the goalposts here. You didn't just say it was pointless, you said it was "about" them being gay. That's the problem.


The difference is that, while they would both pointless to the story, Vale/a random person would just be a pointless subplot. The Keru stuff feels like a pointless subplot with the ulterior motive of trying to show "diversity" at the expense of the story.
And that false assumption is the double standard. It's a startlingly antiquated viewpoint. We live in a time where many works of fiction treat gay characters as simply normal, the same as any other characters. Plenty of Trek novels have done that; Taking Wing was just one of the first of many. And other shows have done it too. White Collar on USA has a supporting character who's in a committed relationship with another woman, and the characters and writers treat it the same way they'd treat a heterosexual relationship. The Canadian Lost Girl features a protagonist who's completely bisexual, and her involvements with women are treated exactly the same as her involvements with men, without any special attention being given to them. And the exact same thing goes for my original novel Only Superhuman, which you see in my avatar.

So we are years past the point where portraying gay characters in fiction had to be some kind of statement about diversity. Maybe in the '90s or early '00s that would've been the case, but today it's frequently treated as simply a normal thing. It's not a statement about diversity any more than including a black character or a Jewish character or an Irish character is a statement about diversity. Eventually diversity just becomes a given, a non-issue. Past that point, there doesn't have to be a statement because it's just taken for granted. That's where Trek novels have been since before Taking Wing even came out. That's where media culture as a whole has been for at least half a decade now. Somehow you just missed the memo.


If he wasn't doing anything strictly secruity, he was obsessed with his dead partner or the ensign was wanting to get together with him. It just felt like it was their just to call attention to the fact they are gay.
No, it was to develop Keru as a character. It was about the fact that he had emotions and relationships, not that he had "gay" relationships.


I can admit to being wrong about him being a placeholder (after all, I've only read two Titan books and didn't remember either of them very well before I started rereading them) but its just the impression book 1 gave me.
And the ongoing problem here is that you are defending your ignorance as if it were something you were entitled to, rather than recognizing that it's something to be corrected by seeking out more information.


I like several gay characters in other media, so regardless of what you seem to insinuate, the fact that the characters are gay isn't a problem to me, and its not causing a double standard.
I am completely unable to believe that given everything you've said here.
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Old March 27 2013, 11:19 PM   #2019
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

*scroll scroll scroll scroll...*
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Old March 27 2013, 11:33 PM   #2020
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Fine, believe what you want. No one can critisize anything with gay people involved, because if you do you're prejudiced I don't even know what to call that attitude. I never said it was about them being gay. I said the writers made it into that. They couldn't turn Vale/random guy into anything if they wrote that because its impossible to play something like that from a diversity standpoint. Hetrosexuality isn't a thing in most books. Calling attention to something like that is pretty much impossible.

My whole point is that there was special attention being given to the Keru stuff, far beyond what it needed. Taking Wing is 8 years old, long enough ago that, yes, it was surprising to have a gay character in a ST book (heck, I didn't remember much of it before this rereading, but I definately remembered it being the first book I ever read with gay characters) and it was still at a point where it was used as diversity compared to how sT books usually were. It was done in a way that seemed to just use it as a way to show diversity, but not add anything to the story or characters.

You want a gay relationship done well? Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Willow is one of my favorite characters, and the Tara/Willow stuff was probably the most effective romance stuff on the show. It always had a point, and the characters were amazing. It added something to the show, and it never seemed to be there just to be there. If I had to list the best relationships/romances/couples on TV that I've seen, Willow and Tara are probably in the top 2-3. After it first started while I was watching the show, I didn't even really think anything of the fact that they were together. By the time they got established as a couple, it was normal. It was also well written. The Titan stuff seemed to be written just to show diversity. The characters did very little else in the book, and if the Keru stuff was supposed to be just about a widower mourning, it wasn't done very well. It was pretty far removed from the actual event (Looking online, Taking wing seems to be over 6 years after first contact, since FC was 2373 and wikipedia says Nemesis was 2379) and even Sisko had stopped obsessing over his wife's death after six years.

Its interesting that I'm trying to stay civil while taking personal attacks. I honestly want to know what anyone finds offensive. Is it that hard to see where I'm coming from with my comments on Taking Wing? Has anyone even read this book recently? 1/4th of it is the book promoting how diverse the ship is. Except for the attack on the romulan prison and the short battle on the ship, most of the time Keru and the ensign don't even do anything outside of being walking advertisments. Sure, I like a lot of gay characters, and (living in Washington State) I voted for gay marriage and have never once thought they don't deserve the same rights as everyone else. But, no apparently that is not important. I thought that Demi-Gods Mangels and Martin used two gay characters as little more than walking diversity advertisments, so I'm evil and prejudiced because I though the part of a book with gay characters wasn't fair to the gay characters. The more you know, I guess.
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Old March 28 2013, 02:24 AM   #2021
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

I am still reading "The Message of John" by Bruce Milne (1993) but hope to get back to reading "Bloodletter" (DS9) again soon. I think I may have read "Taking Wing" last year for the first time. I posted some perhaps slightly confused posts about 'diversity' as I thought diversity was more about variety in systems of science based on underdeterminism of theories.

As for criticizing of books: (1) I recently acquired a copy of "Glossary of Literary Terms" by M. H. Abrams (7th ed.) and have not adequately read it to give intelligent constructive criticism.

Spider Robinson has perhaps said that a 'review' is when you read something and give gut feelings and a 'criticism' is when you have literary standards or criteria to point to with an analysis.

Must a plot always move on? Cannot we enjoy characters and character development without overdetermining it with suspense and action? Spaceship surrealism aside, if I were to critique writers' works, I would like to give reasonable details about the work and the authors' full names and other information. Hopefully, I would not be working on only one work by that author (whether very good or very bad).

Science fiction in general and space opera in particular have had time to develop into mature genre and subgenre. Based on authors' idiosyncrasies, I can put up with a fair bit of wasted words as long as there are interesting parts to the work.

Generally when doing criticism it is helpful to sandwich one's remarks.... I enjoyed the part where ... but found the part where ... a bit frustrating because ... ; however, the part where ... was especially good. Oh, and a bad novel is a bad novel is a bad novel -- although it is surprising how little consensus exists even on this website! Are the exceptions to such consensus outliers? Do some people rubber stamp anything with the Star Trek trademark as a good read?

PS: I have not done any criticism or reviews nor have I really read the reviews accessible from this site. Well, maybe some though. And, I do have a large science fiction library as well as literary materials on the genre. I do subvocalize (although mostly silently) when I read and do know that this has been put down among some of the literary writers. Not well-read but persistently and gradually becoming more aware of the literature that's out there. In counselling you may have to earn the right to ask a person a question. In literary criticism you may really have to work to earn the right to give even a value judgment.
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Old March 28 2013, 03:03 AM   #2022
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

kirk55555 wrote: View Post
Fine, believe what you want. No one can critisize anything with gay people involved, because if you do you're prejudiced
No one has said this.

I never said it was about them being gay.
Your exact words:

kirk55555 wrote: View Post
It would have been pointless regardless of their genders, but the fact that almost every scene they were in was about them being gay
kirk55555 wrote: View Post
if the Keru stuff was supposed to be just about a widower mourning, it wasn't done very well. It was pretty far removed from the actual event (Looking online, Taking wing seems to be over 6 years after first contact,
You mean sort of like how First Contact, a story about a man falling into a desire for revenge from his former tormentors, was set six years after "The Best of Both Worlds?"

Its interesting that I'm trying to stay civil while taking personal attacks. I honestly want to know what anyone finds offensive.
I'm offended that you claim it was just about Keru being gay and refuse to concede that it was about Keru being a widower. Hate to tell you this, but there had been plenty of gay characters in Treklit before Taking Wing.
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Old March 28 2013, 03:12 AM   #2023
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Finally conquered Death in Winter. What a slog. I can't figure out what exactly turned me off about it, either.

Anyway, about to start in on Titan: Taking Wing and I'm quite excited for it. I love Riker and Tuvok so I hope this scratches those itches.

I also go through the past two Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary eBooks, which were quite enjoyable. I think much better than the first installment.
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Old March 28 2013, 03:43 AM   #2024
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Sci wrote: View Post
Hate to tell you this, but there had been plenty of gay characters in Treklit before Taking Wing.
Not "plenty," actually. We did get a very subtle, tentative portrayal of romance between two of the female leads of The Best and the Brightest, but Keru was really the first prominent, recurring gay character in Trek Lit -- although of course Taking Wing was his fifth appearance and came out four years after his first. (In addition to three prior Mangels/Martin works -- Rogue, Trill: Unjoined, and "Improvisations on the Opal Sea" -- he appeared in Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang.) There were probably a few others in that interval, but I'd say the majority of LGBT characters in Trek Lit came along later.

Certainly when early novels with Keru, including Taking Wing, first came out, there were some readers who saw it as shoving a "gay agenda" in their faces because it treated gay characters' personal lives the same as everyone else's, but I would've thought that by now, nearly a decade later when such portrayals have become commonplace in both Trek Lit and beyond, it wouldn't be seen as somehow exceptional. I mean, it's been years since I've seen a post like that.
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Old March 28 2013, 04:23 AM   #2025
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

I remember when DC reinvented Batwoman as a lesbian, there were certain comic book fans who, all of a sudden, decided that romantic subplots and love interests were pointless and irrelevant and had no place in a proper superhero comic.

"Why do we have to know about Batwoman's love life anyway? Why can't she just fight evil and stuff?"

Never mind Lois Lane and Mary Jane Watson and Steve Trevor and, basically, seventy-plus years of comic book love interests and romances. Those were apparently okay, but Batwoman having a girlfriend was "unnecessary" and "pushing an agenda."

Sigh.

I suspect some of us have been dealing with this double standard for so long that we automatically bristle at the first hint of it, but I'll give kirk5555 the benefit of the doubt when he says he likes Batwoman and Willow. . . and voted for marriage equality in Washington State. That counts for something (says this expatriate Pacific Northwester).
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