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Old February 7 2014, 05:13 PM   #1
The Overlord
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Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

They never really directly addressed homosexual rights in any of the star Trek movies or TV shows, but I thought it be interesting to speculate on the state of homosexual rights in the Star Trek universe.

I assume the Federation allows for equal rights for homosexuals and I heard in some of the novels the Klingon Empire respects homosexuals as long as they are competent warriors.

I doubt the Cardassian Union would tolerate homosexuals, their society seems to be obsessed with preserving nuclear families and they don't have much time for orphans, so it seems there would be no place for homosexuals in their society. Likewise the Romulan Empire seems to perform a sort of eugenics program, with a Romulan officer saying they dispose of any children with any physical problems (like blindness) from birth, that doesn't seem like the kind of place that would tolerate homosexuals.

It also seems that the Ferengi Alliance would not tolerate homosexuals, given how sexist the society is, any Ferengi who displays any sort feminine personality traits (like being attracted to men) would likely be treated as an outcast.

I'm not sure about the Bajorans, they seem pretty religious, so maybe not, but then again we don't know if their religion is against homosexuality.

Finally, I guess homosexual rights is a moot point in both the Borg Collective and the Dominion. The Borg don't have sex and the Vorta and Jem'Hadar do not seem reproduce sexually and I am not sure they have sex either. The Founders do not seem to have the same type of sexuality that humanoids do.
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Old February 7 2014, 05:53 PM   #2
Greg Cox
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

The Overlord wrote: View Post

I'm not sure about the Bajorans, they seem pretty religious, so maybe not, but then again we don't know if their religion is against homosexuality.
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Apparently not. Kira, who is about as religious as they come, didn't even blink an eye when Jadzia got together with a woman in "Rejoined" and encouraged Jadzia to pursue the relationship.

Which was a nice touch, I thought. No reason why an alien religion would have the same taboos as certain Earthly religions.

Homosexuality is clearly not an issue as far as Bajorans are concerned. And good for them.
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Old February 7 2014, 06:02 PM   #3
Bad Thoughts
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

I think it's difficult to judge attitudes toward homosexuality based on a culture's attitude toward religion or masculinity. There have been societies in which sexual conjugation, including between male priest, was considered a spiritual ritual, and many ancient societies allowed space to warriors to pursue intimacy with younger men outside of their marriage, though they might condemn exclusive homosexuality. The Cardassians might be a hard case to judge: the image of a stable and intact family plays and important role in the individual's political position, though extramarital dalliances didn't seem to impair Dukat or Damar.
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Old February 7 2014, 06:11 PM   #4
The Overlord
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

Bad Thoughts wrote: View Post
I think it's difficult to judge attitudes toward homosexuality based on a culture's attitude toward religion or masculinity. There have been societies in which sexual conjugation, including between male priest, was considered a spiritual ritual, and many ancient societies allowed space to warriors to pursue intimacy with younger men outside of their marriage, though they might condemn exclusive homosexuality. The Cardassians might be a hard case to judge: the image of a stable and intact family plays and important role in the individual's political position, though extramarital dalliances didn't seem to impair Dukat or Damar.
Except Dukat lost his position as a Legate when it became known he had a daughter out of wed lock. It seems like Cardassian society has a lot of rules that many in the officer class are willing to deviate from, but if you get caught, then you will be punished. I think sometimes in the Cardassian Union, people are willing to look the other way or sweep things under the rug for a bit, but if you get caught defying Cardassia's cultural norms in public, then you will be punished for it. It doesn't seem like a place where you could openly gay, maybe if you were a Legate, you could have a gay lover on the down low, but it doesn't seem like the kind of thing you can be open about.
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Old February 7 2014, 06:13 PM   #5
USS Triumphant
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #113: "Always sleep with the boss."

Since those rules are for Acquisition, which females weren't allowed, and this one refers to the boss, who would be male for the same reason, then I conclude Ferengi are at least gay-tolerant.
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Old February 7 2014, 06:20 PM   #6
Bad Thoughts
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

The Overlord wrote: View Post
Bad Thoughts wrote: View Post
I think it's difficult to judge attitudes toward homosexuality based on a culture's attitude toward religion or masculinity. There have been societies in which sexual conjugation, including between male priest, was considered a spiritual ritual, and many ancient societies allowed space to warriors to pursue intimacy with younger men outside of their marriage, though they might condemn exclusive homosexuality. The Cardassians might be a hard case to judge: the image of a stable and intact family plays and important role in the individual's political position, though extramarital dalliances didn't seem to impair Dukat or Damar.
Except Dukat lost his position as a Legate when it became known he had a daughter out of wed lock. It seems like Cardassian society has a lot of rules that many in the officer class are willing to deviate from, but if you get caught, then you will be punished. I think sometimes in the Cardassian Union, people are willing to look the other way or sweep things under the rug for a bit, but if you get caught defying Cardassia's cultural norms in public, then you will be punished for it. It doesn't seem like a place where you could openly gay, maybe if you were a Legate, you could have a gay lover on the down low, but it doesn't seem like the kind of thing you can be open about.
I definitely agree that it's not clear cut, and that those at the apex of power have leeway others don't enjoy. However, it's not entirely clear cut why Dukat fell. The dialogue suggests at least that the direct cause was being abandoned by his family, not the revelation of Ziyal in itself.
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Old February 7 2014, 06:27 PM   #7
Greg Cox
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

USS Triumphant wrote: View Post
Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #113: "Always sleep with the boss."

Since those rules are for Acquisition, which females weren't allowed, and this one refers to the boss, who would be male for the same reason, then I conclude Ferengi are at least gay-tolerant.
If there's money to be made, I'm sure the Ferengi are perfectly happy to provide gay holo-programs . . ..
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Old February 7 2014, 07:00 PM   #8
Shik
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

I don't even think it's an issue. Who one wants to diddle seems a bit absurd in the larger picture of why to oppress/hate another group.
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Old February 7 2014, 07:02 PM   #9
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

In the Trek novelverse, it seems every species has equal rights. I vaguely remember a male Klingon having a husband in one of the Enterprise post-finale novels. There is also a lesbian Vulcan in Vanguard.

As for the Cardassians, Andrew Robinson played Garek as bisexual - something that although never explicitly stated on air made it into Robinson's superb Garak life story novel A Stitch in Time. Andorians seem to have the most trouble for not conforming to their traditional four-gender system, owing to their population crisis.
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Old February 7 2014, 07:19 PM   #10
The Overlord
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

Bad Thoughts wrote: View Post
The Overlord wrote: View Post
Bad Thoughts wrote: View Post
I think it's difficult to judge attitudes toward homosexuality based on a culture's attitude toward religion or masculinity. There have been societies in which sexual conjugation, including between male priest, was considered a spiritual ritual, and many ancient societies allowed space to warriors to pursue intimacy with younger men outside of their marriage, though they might condemn exclusive homosexuality. The Cardassians might be a hard case to judge: the image of a stable and intact family plays and important role in the individual's political position, though extramarital dalliances didn't seem to impair Dukat or Damar.
Except Dukat lost his position as a Legate when it became known he had a daughter out of wed lock. It seems like Cardassian society has a lot of rules that many in the officer class are willing to deviate from, but if you get caught, then you will be punished. I think sometimes in the Cardassian Union, people are willing to look the other way or sweep things under the rug for a bit, but if you get caught defying Cardassia's cultural norms in public, then you will be punished for it. It doesn't seem like a place where you could openly gay, maybe if you were a Legate, you could have a gay lover on the down low, but it doesn't seem like the kind of thing you can be open about.
I definitely agree that it's not clear cut, and that those at the apex of power have leeway others don't enjoy. However, it's not entirely clear cut why Dukat fell. The dialogue suggests at least that the direct cause was being abandoned by his family, not the revelation of Ziyal in itself.
Except Dukat was considering killing Ziyal to keep her existence from becoming common knowledge on Cardassia. I think that's pretty clear evidence that her existence had a lot to do with Dukat's down fall.
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Old February 7 2014, 07:22 PM   #11
Shik
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

Yeah, but that's not because she was born out of wedlock. It was because he was THE LEADER OF THE CARDASSIAN OCCUPATION ON BAJOR & he had a half-breed daughter by a love slave.
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Old February 7 2014, 08:05 PM   #12
-Brett-
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

The Overlord wrote: View Post
I assume the Federation allows for equal rights for homosexuals and I heard in some of the novels the Klingon Empire respects homosexuals as long as they are competent warriors.
.
.
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Likewise the Romulan Empire seems to perform a sort of eugenics program, with a Romulan officer saying they dispose of any children with any physical problems (like blindness) from birth, that doesn't seem like the kind of place that would tolerate homosexuals.
If we're going by the novels, then the current Romulan Praetor (current as of the time I got disgusted and stopped reading) is a lesbian.

Even ignoring the novels (as we probably should), I would think that the Romulans would be more accepting of homosexuality than their Vulcan cousins. Romulans embrace emotion, including love and lust, where Vulcans would view sex as a purely reproductive act, and being attracted to the same sex would be illogical.

Last edited by -Brett-; February 7 2014 at 08:20 PM.
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Old February 7 2014, 08:17 PM   #13
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

I don't think it's safe to assume that other cultures place the same religious and cultural importance on heterosexual relationships.

I might even argue that the reason an aversion to homosexuality arose was because in a nomadic tribe context where resources are scarce and the survival of the collective was at risk, there was a survival disadvantage to having homosexuals around because they would be less likely to produce offspring. But then in a modern technological context where genetic pools are larger and there is no threat of collective extinction, there is no evolutionary advantage to that aversion. If that were the case, then most worlds probably started out as homophobic, then homophobia died out once they globalized.

Since most of the planets the Federation interacts with had technologically advanced at least a few hundred years prior, there is probably very little homophobia. Even in Ferenginar, because women have no rights they might illegalize female homosexuality, but men probably just do it and nobody cares.
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Old February 7 2014, 08:22 PM   #14
Shik
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
... Even in Ferenginar, because women have no rights they might illegalize female homosexuality, but men probably just do it and nobody cares.
This reminds me of how Elizabeth I reenacted the Buggery Act of 1533 but made no provision for lesbianism because she refused to believe it existed.
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Old February 7 2014, 10:28 PM   #15
CTGuyton
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Re: Homosexual Rights in the Star Trek Universe

I think it's a bit of a stretch to even assume that homosexuality even exists in other species. We see it in only a few here on Earth, and just because they're humanoid, doesn't mean that they're really that similar to us. I wouldn't expect to see it in Klingon, and as mentioned before, it's illogical to a Vulcan.

But to the point of the OP. I would think that each world even within the UFP would have their own laws governing the situation. The gay marriage debate may be unique to Earth. In our laws, we currently outlaw all marriages unless you receive permission (license) from the government. Most states and countries with those laws only grant that permission to heterosexual couples. This may be seen as outrageous to other cultures throughout the galaxy, that a society would allow their government so much control over their personal lives.
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