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Old July 11 2014, 04:13 AM   #1
junkdata
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Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

Well maybe trans, if we consider some of the aliens, but turning back the clock, sci fi has been responsible for some of the most forward thinking tv in history. Mixed racial kisses - Star trek! Russians working with americans on the same side - Star trek !(and WW2 of course). The twilight zone was responsible for a lot of forward thinking stuff too.

But Rod Serling was a homophobe who made public videos talking about gays like they were pedos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkzSVR2Oqck

And gene roddenberry took a while to see LBGT as part of the larger civil rights struggle, pushing the idea of gay couples into TNG, just before he died.

My attitude toward homosexuality has changed. I came to the conclusion that I was wrong. I was never someone who hunted down 'fags' as we used to call them on the street. I would, sometimes, say something anti-homosexual off the top of my head because it was thought, in those days, to be funny. I never really deeply believed those comments, but I gave the impression of being thoughtless in these areas. I have, over many years, changed my attitude about gay men and women.
So in the future we are left with no gay humans of any kind in all the federation and only one bunch of androgenous aliens and some "old man in girl on girl" action on DS9 to go on.

Am I gay? Nope.

Do I think graphic representation of homosexuals on a childrens program is questionable? Maybe, but less so frankly as time goes on.

Should we have shows set in the future, that creates a world this big and has zero even in mention of LGBT? Of course not. Its silly.

Sci Fi and ST has a long history of addressing issues and isms. Its one of the hallmarks and value claims of Sci Fi. Yet its painfully absent from Star Trek.
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Old July 11 2014, 04:20 AM   #2
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

Similarly themed thread active last week:

http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=237445
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Old July 11 2014, 04:24 AM   #3
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

The moral debate is irrelevant. You couldn't get a character like that past the censors in those days. And remember, the censors work for the people who fronted a good portion of money to get your series made. You upset them enough, they'll pull their money and you won't have any show period.

TOS pushed it very far having minorities in intelligent command positions on the Enterprise and Roddenberry was damned lucky he got that. He lost having a woman being second in command. He did win with Nichelle Nichols having the right to wear a mini-skirt, which was a victory for the women's movement in the 60s.
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Old July 11 2014, 04:27 AM   #4
junkdata
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

Melakon wrote: View Post
Similarly themed thread active last week:

http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=237445
Bloody big one too. Thing is, they are looking at it from within the world itself. I have no such need. I know, and you know, and we all know, this old football must have come up for kicking many times in the history of the production of the show, and only in the smallest ways did anyone touch on it.

One of the hallmarks of the TOS is they didnt give a s___ when it came to something like Kirk kissing Uhura. TNG went into a great many places, and handled some serious issues, but it never really went near this. DS9 had license and took some liberties with it. Voyager basically has a captain who seems quite gay. The motion picure has a gay star. But this is all evidence more of the fact some people are gay, and this includes openly gay actors, where they are more scarce than openly gay footballers. Takei came out as well.

So pretty much every incarnation has had a gay actor, but no gay characters and zero in the way of gay storylines, other than ultra insider allusions to storylines.

Someone should have bit the bullet and just gone full homo at some point and fuck the consequences, but I guess the "family show" tag was just too much of a constrictor. Sad really.
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Old July 11 2014, 04:30 AM   #5
junkdata
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

Anji wrote: View Post
The moral debate is irrelevant. You couldn't get a character like that past the censors in those days. And remember, the censors work for the people who fronted a good portion of money to get your series made. You upset them enough, they'll pull their money and you won't have any show period.

TOS pushed it very far having minorities in intelligent command positions on the Enterprise and Roddenberry was damned lucky he got that. He lost having a woman being second in command. He did win with Nichelle Nichols having the right to wear a mini-skirt, which was a victory for the women's movement in the 60s.
Simpsons has had gay characters...
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Old July 11 2014, 04:41 AM   #6
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

Anji wrote: View Post
The moral debate is irrelevant. You couldn't get a character like that past the censors in those days. And remember, the censors work for the people who fronted a good portion of money to get your series made. You upset them enough, they'll pull their money and you won't have any show period.

TOS pushed it very far having minorities in intelligent command positions on the Enterprise and Roddenberry was damned lucky he got that. He lost having a woman being second in command. He did win with Nichelle Nichols having the right to wear a mini-skirt, which was a victory for the women's movement in the 60s.
If I recall correctly, Majel Barrett as Number One, was scrapped because she was Roddenberry's Mistress, not because a Female First Officer was unacceptable in itself.
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Old July 11 2014, 04:46 AM   #7
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

junkdata wrote: View Post
The twilight zone was responsible for a lot of forward thinking stuff too.

But Rod Serling was a homophobe who made public videos talking about gays like they were pedos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkzSVR2Oqck
A PSA from the 1950s referring to child molesters as homosexuals is itself pretty flimsy evidence of homophobia in its narrator.

That said, and despite whatever influence The Twilight Zone had on how sci-fi was presented on TV in the 1960s, what do Rod Serling's specific views one way or another on the subject of homosexuality have to do with either General Trek issues or homosexuality or the lack of it in Star Trek, particularly in the spin-offs from the 1980s onward?
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Old July 11 2014, 04:49 AM   #8
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

Serling's been dead since 1975, so I don't even know why he's being dragged into this.
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Old July 11 2014, 04:53 AM   #9
junkdata
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
junkdata wrote: View Post
The twilight zone was responsible for a lot of forward thinking stuff too.

But Rod Serling was a homophobe who made public videos talking about gays like they were pedos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkzSVR2Oqck
A PSA from the 1950s referring to child molesters as homosexuals is itself pretty flimsy evidence of homophobia in its narrator.

That said, and despite whatever influence The Twilight Zone had on how sci-fi was presented on TV in the 1960s, what do Rod Serling's specific views one way or another on the subject of homosexuality have to do with either General Trek issues or homosexuality or the lack of it in Star Trek, particularly in the spin-offs from the 1980s onward?
They are neck a neck for the two greatest sci fi shows in history.

Both are responsible for demonstrable and profound ground breaking moments in TV history, especially when it comes to the area of civil rights and representation on television.

The twilight zone became known for this. Star trek also is forever known for kirk kissing uhura and a lot of other stuff.

So I think TZ is relevant, when setting up the context of this discussion. If there is a third show that could claim anything like the impact of TZ and ST, in the history of sci fi, I cant think of it. Both traded in ground breaking tv, and specifically used their detached from our world settings to do so.

Its sad that even in the twilight zone and outer space, much like Iran - "there are no gays".
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Old July 11 2014, 04:59 AM   #10
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

Anji wrote: View Post

TOS pushed it very far having minorities in intelligent command positions on the Enterprise and Roddenberry was damned lucky he got that. He lost having a woman being second in command. He did win with Nichelle Nichols having the right to wear a mini-skirt, which was a victory for the women's movement in the 60s.
This stuff has been pretty thoroughly debunked over the years.
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Old July 11 2014, 05:00 AM   #11
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

@junkdata: To borrow Melakon's succinct way of putting it, the subject of my question was, why are you dragging Rod Serling into this? The scope of general Star Trek extends from the mid-1960s to the present day, but Serling's been dead since 1975.

And even if it had a place in this forum, you didn't back up your claim regarding Rod Serling's personal beliefs.
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Old July 11 2014, 05:01 AM   #12
junkdata
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

BillJ wrote: View Post
Anji wrote: View Post

TOS pushed it very far having minorities in intelligent command positions on the Enterprise and Roddenberry was damned lucky he got that. He lost having a woman being second in command. He did win with Nichelle Nichols having the right to wear a mini-skirt, which was a victory for the women's movement in the 60s.
This stuff has been pretty thoroughly debunked over the years.
Why would minorities in command positions be a censor violation in the land of the free, where all men are created equal? Surely minorities have been in command positions for years in the US military.
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Old July 11 2014, 05:08 AM   #13
junkdata
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
@junkdata: To borrow Melakon's succinct way of putting it, the subject of my question was, why are you dragging Rod Serling into this? The scope of general Star Trek extends from the mid-1960s to the present day, but Serling's been dead since 1975.

And even if it had a place in this forum, you didn't back up your claim regarding Rod Serling's personal beliefs.
The Moderator of the Cafe was forthcoming. As he told me in response: “In one of the biographies of Serling, it's reported that Serling used anti-gay epithets to describe at least two actors who were allegedly gay. According to the same source, one of his old paratrooper buddies ended a letter to Serling by signing "Love, (name of old paratrooper buddy)." Serling reportedly wrote back to say how unhealthy he thought that was, and that his old paratrooper buddy should get psychiatric help. I think this all comes from Joel Engel's biography, but I'd need to check. Both biographies of Serling (by Engel and Gordon Sander) have been criticized as being more unreliable than they should be. Even if Serling was anti-gay in the 1950s and '60s, it's very conceivable that his views would have changed over time.”


Well, that didn’t make me feel any better. Nor did this response from another member of the Cafe: “It was definitely in one or both of those biographies, that Rod used the three-letter "f" word to describe gay men. . . “ Wonderful: He was given to throwing around the gay equivalent of the “N” word for African-Americans! Rod, I thought, how could you...?


Further discussion of Rod’s anti-gayness with people at the Zone Cafe, and other people I knew, brought me around to the basic fact of Rod Serling’s place in the continuum of history. Rod was a man born in the 1920s, who died in the 1970s. He lived at a time when the closet for gays was much vaster and deeper and more inescapable than it’s become since Stonewall; a time when gays lived in a self-loathing almost as cruel as the loathing that the rest of the world felt for them, when gayness itself was classified as a pathological disorder. He was like Thomas Jefferson, who believed in the equality of men but couldn’t apply the principle to the African descendants he kept as slaves. His progressive thinking was circumscribed by his times. He was as enlightened as his place in history allowed him to be. Rod Serling’s homophobia, in short...was real, but it wasn’t his fault. It was still a bitter pill to swallow, but understanding that made it go down a little more easily.


In these past few months I’ve made my peace with Rod’s unenlightenment, even as the little aliens who died from the supernova made peace with their fate in “The Star” (1980s Zone Christmas special). In fact, I’ve taken to thinking of it in terms of Gene Roddenberry’s experience. I read in Gene’s biography, Star Trek Creator, that Gene, a former Los Angeles Police Officer, either had borderline-homophobic tendencies of his own, or tolerated them in others. And then, during the 1960s Star Trek and The Next Generation, he became friends with William Ware Theiss, the costumer who created the original Starfleet uniforms. Mr. Theiss died of AIDS, but in his friendship with Gene, he put a human face on gayness for the man who envisioned a future that affirmed all humanity in all its differences and diversity. And Gene learned better. I’d like to think that Rod Serling, had he lived long enough, could have learned better. Rod died of heart disease from his heavy smoking in 1975. If he’d been with us longer, if he could have seen the AIDS epidemic and the courage with which people faced it, and the strides that gay America has taken in its wake, he, like his colleague Gene Roddenberry, might well have broadened his own perception of humanity. Rod could have learned that it is no more right to ostracize gays than it was for “The State” to ostracize a beautiful woman for not being ugly (“The Eye of the Beholder”). Rod could have “gotten it,” just as Gene did. I really like to believe he could.
http://the-quantum-blog.blogspot.co....nt-so-rod.html
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Old July 11 2014, 06:52 AM   #14
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

junkdata wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post
Anji wrote: View Post

TOS pushed it very far having minorities in intelligent command positions on the Enterprise and Roddenberry was damned lucky he got that. He lost having a woman being second in command. He did win with Nichelle Nichols having the right to wear a mini-skirt, which was a victory for the women's movement in the 60s.
This stuff has been pretty thoroughly debunked over the years.
Why would minorities in command positions be a censor violation in the land of the free, where all men are created equal? Surely minorities have been in command positions for years in the US military.
The network didn't want to alienate the market. It was easier to just not put Uhura in a command position than deal with stations refusing to play the show. That's how I understood it, anyway. A lot of stations in the South were mightly pissed at the interracial kiss in Plato's Stepchildren.
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Old July 11 2014, 08:27 AM   #15
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Re: Slightly pathetic that theres never been LGBT characters in ST

Serling died the year after homosexuality vanished from the DSM. I can't and won't speak to his reputed homophobia, but given pervasive attitude, even in much of the medical and psychiatric community during Serling's life, it wouldn't surprise me if he wasn't terribly tolerant in that regard. It's one of the reasons Harvey Milk said everyone must come out, because when gay people are not visible in day to day life, people don't realize how many of them they know, work with, and love.
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