Malcolm Reed and his love-life *** minor spoiler ***

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Echtzeit, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. Echtzeit

    Echtzeit Lieutenant

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    Somewhere on the internet I read, that Dominic Keating said something like "God knows I played him gay." I have always considered that a stupid comment intended to be a joke or something.

    But what if Reed really was gay? I know, there's been talk about female companions over the course of ENT, but it's not unheard of that some people have discovered they're gay later in life. Or better, came out later in life for whatever reasons.
    Personally, I would find it cool if he came out as gay. The infertility storyline from recent ENT novels wouldn't even contradict it; some homosexual people have a desire to have children, too. Plus, it's the oh-so-sohphisticated 22nd century era, where we have evolved from all things bs.

    Since we know next to nothing about his background, it would just be a natural character evolution for me if he came out. His reasons could be the infertility, that he no longer wishes to hide now that he's captain, or maybe he just fell in love with Tobin Dax... who knows. There's lots of ways to tell a story that doesn't sound too far-fetched.
    What do you think? Gay or nay?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2014
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^No story ideas, please. But I can't think of a reason why someone in the 22nd century would need to hide being gay in the first place, so there'd be no closet to come out of. Malcolm has certainly shown plenty of interest in women, although of course that doesn't preclude being bi.
     
  3. Echtzeit

    Echtzeit Lieutenant

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    Sorry, this wasn't intended to be a story idea. It was more like a question. But I can see where you're coming from.

    Maybe this can be moved to a better forum location?

    Back to topic: Maybe he never really "hid" his sexuality. And this "plenty of interest" was never really shown they way Archer and Trip had female encounters. Even Travis. Or maybe I'm just mistaken here, I don't know. But I have to re-watch ENT to tell if he ever had a female companion on screen or even if there was talk about a past girlfriend.

    Anyway... like I said, maybe he just never spoke about his sexuality, because it was never relevant, but now that he - hypothetically - fell in love with someone... why hide it?
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  4. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Have you not seen the Reed/Hayes fight in "Harbinger"? It is probably the most homo-erotic scene in all of Star Trek.

    Had the PTB made Reed being gay, it would've been the best thing about ENT--finally giving Star Trek a gay character.
     
  5. CaffeineAddict

    CaffeineAddict Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    As for the past girlfriends, in "Shuttlepod One" reed and trip discover they both dated Ruby, and in "Silent Enemy" one of his friends from the academy says he used to go to a fish restaurant because he liked the waitress, despite hating fish.
     
  6. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Not to mention the silly amount of goodbye letters he was writing in Shuttlepod One.

    Reed's straight, or at the very least bi. I'm all about equality, but I would be disappointed if an established character, who had shown no inclination towards same-gender love, suddenly come out of the closet as a PC thing to do.

    I love how TrekLit has covered the issue of being gay sofar, with it simply being. That's it. It's a non-issue. I love that they didn't make a big fuss out of creating gay characters, because to me it shows a hope that the authors and editors have for real life. That one day, it simply won't matter.
     
  7. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I felt like they played with it a little bit here and there in ENT, acknowledging the rumour without really doing anything about it. Like the aforementioned sweaty man-pummelling of "Harbinger," revealing that he never got married or had a family in "E2," or the deliberate cut after the question "Were you attracted to him?" in "TATV."

    As for the possibility, it is possible that a person's self-definition can change over time without them ever being closeted, deceitful or straight-washing themselves. It was obviously a missed opportunity on the show, and cowardice on the part of the writers no doubt, but not completely out of the realms of possibility for the character to move in that direction now in the Lit.

    .
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Except now that I've read a thread where it was proposed, I can't do it. This is why we have rules against posting story ideas in this forum.
     
  9. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, a discussion of Reed and his sexuality really should have been in the ENT forum. Too late now, the damage is done.

    But on topic, yes many people made jokes about Reed being gay over the years, including Dominic Keating. And it is true, Reed's relationship with Major Hayes had a lot of homoerotic subtext. Hell, it almost seemed in Countdown that if Hayes wasn't killed then him and Reed would develop a romantic relationship.

    Although, I doubt the ENT writers ever intended the character to be gay. Even if we ignore his interest in women expressed in season 1 to simply be him being in the closet for whatever reason, certainly by season 3 he was firmly established as straight. In E-squared when he learned that his other self never married his immediate reaction was to try to chat up the first woman he saw, hardly the attitude of a gay man, even one in the closet.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah... I certainly wouldn't mind establishing a central character as gay, but everyone in the core cast is pretty much already established as heterosexual. Well, although Phlox is kind of ambiguous -- each of his three wives has two other husbands, but they were never described as being his husbands as well, so it's unclear how that works (though it is a question I intend to tackle before much longer).

    I'm pretty sure Ensign Grev is gay, though.
     
  11. borgboy

    borgboy Commodore Commodore

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    Rumors about Malcolm being gay have been going around since he was first introduced. The OP didn't invent that idea, so I don't see how that prevents it being used. But...
    I don't think it would work to have an established heterosexual come out as gay, because I don't believe that in the 22nd century of ST that the closet would exist any more. Someone having to come out would betray the spirit of complete lack of prejudice that is so important in ST.
    He could be bi, and I wouldn't hate it, but I'd rather see original gay characters be created, and the established gay characters, like Tripp's brother and his husband for example, be used.
     
  12. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Indeed, I agree with posts #10 and #11.

    I'd like to point out, though, that the 22nd century is especially interesting in Human development because it is halfway between our contemporary prejudiced society and the utopian 23rd and esp. 24th centuries. So, we know being LGBT is totally okay in the 22nd century but there still are other types of prejudices, e.g. against aliens (ENT "Home", "Demons", MyrU "A Less Perfect Union").

    Some of these prejudices have a firm or deep root (March 3rd, 2153 and farmer Moore as per F:150Y), others may stem from unfamiliarity (Doctor Liao's reaction to Tobin Dax's secret). Unusual groups always have to fight to gain recognition from Humanity, be it blacks, LGBT, and even artificial life in the 24th century.

    The bottom line is, whether Reed is straight or bi-curious, there's no closet for that on 22nd century Earth. That doesn't rule out that there're still prejudices against some aliens and/or their lifestyles (cf. Trip's reaction to the Lorillian weaning).
     
  13. CaffeineAddict

    CaffeineAddict Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I can't say I see the character as anything other than straight, but for arguements sake say he was bi - I don't think Reed would need to be in the closet (even if one existed in the 22nd century) for people not to know - it's not like he was ever a character that felt comfortable sharing personal information. Remember how much difficulty they had trying to find out what food he liked for his birthday?
     
  14. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I'll be interested to see how you interpret Denobulan sexuality. The Denobulans have always intrigued me - I thought Enterprise did a very good job with Phlox regarding his personal qualities and overall manner, relative to what was revealed to us about Denobula. Such a crowded planet, his outward demeanour of cheerful amiability and occasionally puzzling detachment made perfect sense to me. Add to that their lack of sleep, and it seems they're a people who learn from a young age to deflect discomfort and project a friendly indifference.

    I think this collects together most of what we've learned canonically about Denobulan family life:

    Denobulan mating practices are complicated. Denobulans dislike prolonged physical contact, despite their tendency to congregate in large groups. Therefore, in order to convince the male to mate with her, the female Denobulan naturally releases potent pheromones during the mating season. The pheromones sometimes work too well, however, and males competing for mates can become violent. The drug Niaxilin can be successful in helping them settle down, but even with this medical assistance male Denobulans are unusually volatile during the mating season. The actual act of mating, known as Jaa-uu-gah, can require medical supervision. Because they’re adapted to respond to pheromones, Denobulan males get severe headaches when exposed to those of Orion females. Because of the discomfort a Denobulan feels when touched, outside of the mating season lovers do not kiss or hug one another, but instead show affection by inhaling each others’ scent, deliberately and demonstratively.

    Denobulan families are large and complex; the family of Phlox, a typical member of the culture, had 720 members, with 42 romantic partnerships. An individual usually aims to acquire three spouses, each of whom will themselves have two other mates. Other combinations are not unknown, but tend to be frowned upon by mainstream Denobulan society. Mates tend to be chosen, not arranged, although the mating selection process can involve combatants, if multiple males respond to a single female. Both sexes contribute to the nurturing of the offspring: Denobulan society in general appears to have moved beyond gender-specific social roles. Sexual relations outside of marriage are not unusual, as Denobulans have no taboo against remaining sexually available after acquiring all three spouses. In fact, a Denobulan will often express pride when one of their mates is pursued by others; it suggests that they’ve chosen well. Lovers can also seem to treat long periods of separation incredibly casually to Human eyes. When Phlox was reunited with one of his wives for the first time in four years, he cheerfully informed his Human friends that he was in no hurry: another minute or two of separation wouldn’t make a difference.
     
  15. Echtzeit

    Echtzeit Lieutenant

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    I already said I was sorry. "Damage" is a pretty harsh word. I mean, I'm not the only one who ever came up with this idea, and I can't recall demanding something like "Make him gay, writers!" All I wanted was to ask a question and because of the fact that I am unused to this forum, it ended up in the wrong section apparently.

    So, again, I'm sorry. It wasn't my intention that this simple question would cause such "damage".
     
  16. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Don't worry about it. :) No harm done; it's just worth reminding people that story ideas aren't permitted here. Certainly no need to beat yourself up over it.
     
  17. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think Reed is straight but he has a massive war boner and that makes men like Hayes very attractive. Hayes is probably not the first man he found a lot more viscerally attractive than women. He's a bit of a juvenile with women, tittering about bums.. but with Hayes it's all manly business.

    He's portrayed (on the show) as a product of english same sex boarding schools (not literally, that is just the type), gravitating to males for friendship, excitement, reassurance.. and oh the women, we need them for sex of course. But really he'd be better off just forgetting about them and going for broke(back).

    Kind of a stereotype for repressed british guys. But well played for sure and an interesting character in many ways.

    And Echtzeit you will get lots of positive feedback if you post in ENT on this topic :D
     
  18. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Funnily enough, one thing I'd like to see more of in the novels is people who simply aren't interested in sexuality, or are extremely selective in their choice of sexual partners so that the subject rarely if ever comes up. People who aren't looking for any sort of engagement. Not everyone relates to sexual partnership as some fundamental or essential part of their lives, and I'm not just referring to the asexual. I'd prefer a Reed who just wasn't interested to a Reed who was holding back (though as others have said, that would clash with a lot of the snippets about his earlier sexual interest in a number of women).

    Personally, on a somewhat related note, I think the Federation is rather unbalanced in its attitude to sexuality - we have any number of sexually promiscuous cultures where sexual contact and pursuit of intimacy is a celebrated aspect of interpersonal life - Risians, Deltans, Argelians, Efrosians (though each of these are distinct in how they express it and the reasoning behind it, which is nice), but relatively few cultures who take a more conservative and cautious approach; we have the Arbazan, apparently, but they've never been explored, and we have some (generally well-played) exploration of the "Selkies" and the Andorians, and the consequences of ignoring or violating cultural taboos on sexuality within those cultures, which again is much appreciated, but it would be nice to have some acknowledgement that sometimes sex really doesn't matter that much. ;)

    There does seem a tendency among viewers and fans of all shows and franchises to speculate on characters' sexuality, especially if they rarely show active interest in flirtatious behaviour - well, sometimes sexuality isn't a very defining impulse. If someone doesn't have a member of the other sex on their arm or doesn't show much interest in the other sex, it seems to be the given thing to insist that they're homosexual, rather than just... not the type to be particularly given to seeking intimate company. Doesn't mean they couldn't be homosexual, and I imagine the understandable desire to see homosexual characters in a franchise that canonically hasn't featured any contributes to it in these cases, but I personally find it a little tiresome when it's assumed that the reason for a lack of engagement with the other sex is automatically a hint at preference for the same sex.

    Although personally, it sounds like Reed had a very active (heterosexual) sexuality, and was appreciative of female company, only his general pained reticence means it rarely comes to the fore outside of particular contexts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  19. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Agreed. The thing about national stereotypes is, you'll sooner or later find plenty of people in your country who really are like that ;) (I think it's just as important to realize that while it's foolish to make assumptions about peoples' behaviour and manner based on things like nationality, there's also going to be those who fit it rather well! Generalization in these matters is foolish, over-exposure or over-use of the tropes are tiring, unsympathetic or exaggerated portrayals can offend, but simply having characters who seem to fit isn't really problematic). When I went to university, for instance, some of the people there were just so British it was amusing, and rather eye-opening. Since then I've rarely had any issue with most "neutral" national stereotypes, since my perspective is "Yeah, I've known fellow countrymen who are like that. This exists, and it is largely "our thing"".

    Although maybe that's because most stereotypes about my country's people are rather neutral. They could be interpreted as negative, but they could equally be viewed as rather flattering, depending on how you look at it...
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Is all of that from canon? There are bits of it that I don't remember.


    Nothing personal -- but professionally, writers have to be extra-careful about even the appearance of plagiarism. Hence the forum policy.