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

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

  1. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    I think more than likely they weren't seriously planning to make anyone gay, but just said they were undecided in the interview as not to offend anyone with a direct no.
     
  2. borgboy

    borgboy Commodore Commodore

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    I kind of thing that's a possibility. Another example of how badly this issue has been handled. Then they tried to pass off the mind meld prejudice on ENT as being gay subtext.
     
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    With race /skin color, it's on display as soon as we see the character for the first time. With being gay the writers have to let the audience know at some point or the character effectively isn't gay.

    So a "medium deal" has to be made of it, for the majority of the major characters a "deal" was made of their sexuality at some point.

    If for example TPTB wrote Wesley Crusher as gay, and he come out in say season two or three, what would be wrong with that?

    There's also the internal aspect of coming out, the self-realization, it can be a gradual process or a sudden personal epiphany. Coming out can also be when you discuss the matter with the people you trust and go to for personal advise.

    Unless you feel that people in the future don't do that.

    I did kind of get the feeling that Reed didn't have any close friends among the crew, friendships yes, but not close ones. If he did in his adult life begin to realize that he was gay, who he would talk to about it on the ship is unclear.

    I've never seen the assumption that some fans have that the Federation has basically a single culture, some species cultures would practice acceptance, but it's unlikely that all do.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014
  4. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well I think ANYTHING is possible in fiction :) But I think that would be an interesting angle to explore, especially considering Vulcan culture is on one hand extremely conservative, yet on the other hand, aren't, since they are basically pacifists and profess the IDIC philosophy, I would like to see how that dynamic is explored. Vulcans are like walking contradictions as a whole, and I just think there would be a lot of possibilities for a writer to write about a transsexual/transgender Vulcan.

    Yeah I do remember when Enterprise was on air, some fans wanted him to come out as gay. I'd have to rewatch the episode of the Reed and Hayes fighting. I'm not saying it wasn't there, just saying that if there was any subtext, I didn't see it.

    And generally speaking, when people talk about subtext, it is really, really subjective. I mean sure there are some cases where the subtext is real (IE Xena, Rizzoli and Isles), but even then, that often is reactionary to the fan base, and the writers are catering to that fan base. But in the beginning, that subtext is often unintentional.
     
  5. borgboy

    borgboy Commodore Commodore

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    I agree, subtext is subjective.
    On the subject of a Trek character coming out...people only come out when there's a closet. The closet only exists when there's a need for people to hide, because of homophobia and heterosexism. In the idealistic world of Trek, there would be no homophobia, not on Earth, and I don't think any Federation worlds. Without homophobia gay kids would never have a reason to hide their true orientation, so they'd never have anything to go into the closet for, so they wouldn't have to come out.
    So if Wesley were going to be gay as T'Girl suggested, I don't see how he could be in his mid teens before he was expressing himself as being gay. He'd have had normal middle school crushes just like anyone else, so a reboot Wesley coming out in season 3 would betray the idealism of Trek. It would be like having Uhura deal with racism on Earth.
    Gay people only accept their true orientation at a later age than straight people because of social pressures that wouldn't exist in Trek.
     
  6. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    I found the subtext became noticeable after their fight. Countdown especially (the episode where Hayes was killed) I remember while watching the first time that the episode practically made them look like lovers.
     
  7. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    The problem lies in how to do it.

    Wesley has realized he's gay, and basicly simply tells his mum. He'd probably be as shy as any teenager admitting he's in love, but there will be no shock from Beverly whatsoever. That's it. No problem.

    However, now you have to write an episode where it happens. For some people, both straight who support this and people in the LBGT community, doing only this and nothing more, could feel insulted for having it only as a 1 minute clip in an episode and that's it. They've wanted a gay character for so long, and now it's almost nothing more then a footnote.

    So, you want to write a whole episode about it. Having it being a problem for Wesley to come out of the closet and being scared of people's reaction, would seem unrealistic for the 24th century, because we can asume by now that there is no more closet to come out of. Everything would just seem odd, forced and overly dramatic.

    So, let's say, Wesley has realized he's in love with a male ensign, and they are somehow stranded on an alien planet, with a species that is completey against being gay, they punish/imprison/kill them, and they have a way of 'detecting' gay. Everything about an episode like that would sound contrived, convenient, over the top, to obvious, silly, stupid, whatnot. There's really only a small change that episode will be properly written and will do the cause of exceptence for gay people any good when it is basicly a bad episode.

    The only thing that really would work, is to have a character on a show established as being gay, and just being gay. No fanfare, no big deals, no akward reactions from fellow humans, or aliens that are part of the Federation really, since one of the conditions for being allowed membership is no bigotry. He/she simply is, and that's cool.
     
  8. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, to me, these two look like they want to kill each other. I don't see any gay subtext here, personally:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8eMvA-7Iho

    As for after that fight, I always got the impression it was more a mutual (grudging) respect thing going on between them, but like I said, I am not saying its not there, just I don't see it. I don't remember Hayes' death scene, but if they seemed close, that doesn't necessarily mean sexual. When people go through battle together, they often form attachments to one another, but it is more like as siblings, than anything.

    I read that Reed/Hayes thing more as two guys in similar jobs who see each other as rivals, but probably more so on Reed's side. I think that was because the MACOs were brought on board in the first place because Starfleet felt Reed and his security team weren't getting the job done, and Reed took it personally. So, Reed had an inferiority complex, and took it out on Hayes. Later on, when they serve together, they gain respect for one another.

    But as far as if they were to write an Enterprise male character as gay, I agree Reed would have made the most sense of the main cast members. He wasn't attached to anyone, and I really think he was mostly just married to his work as security. The only two times he seemed interested romantically in anyone (besides talking about Ruby) was in T'Pol (I think most of the males on Enterprise were, though), and the female tac officer on Cogenitor. So, had they written Reed as gay, or even bisexual, I think it could have been done, and done well.
     
  9. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    That's an interesting idea. :) As you say, Vulcan mainstream culture might have an strong opposition to transsexual identity and the resulting decisions because they're seen as being based in emotion or in sub-rational, "instinctive" matters of identity, rather than hard logic? Which is to say, it's not so much the idea that one wishes to live as the other sex that they have issues with, so much as the motive for doing so being at odds with what they consider socially responsible. Whereas a non-Vulcan might think "okay, you feel like you're really the other sex, sure, I'm not stopping you" (and a Betazoid, say, might insist that "if that's how you feel, you must of course follow it through") a Vulcan might say "You feel that you are rightly or more satisfactorily a member of the other sex? That is not logical. Feelings are to be suppressed, as when indulged they are the enemy of rationality". Which is interesting, because it's not transexual identity itself that they would be opposing, it would be the means by which that identity is arrived at. So I agree that transsexual Vulcans would be an interesting thing to explore!
     
  10. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Plus, opposition to varying forms of expression, sexuality and/or family structure can take many forms, and exist for many reasons. Bucking tradition or failing to live within the structured norms of whatever culture, society or community a person originates in can be difficult for reasons other than simple flat-out rejection of homosexuality. It can be a case of guilt over "letting others down" regarding their assumptions as to what you'd do to keep their traditions going, the extinction of a family line, rejection of arranged courtships that are seen as ensuring social stability, etc. It's entirely possible for someone to face difficulty in admitting that they're homosexual, not because their families/communities have a blanket opposition to homosexuality, but because the fact of their homosexuality will cause complications to a particularly tradition-bound culture. It's entirely possible that a person might face "you're homosexual, oh, that's disappointing" without facing opposition to the existence or legitimacy of homosexuality.

    That is to say, it's far more complex, particularly in traditional, conservative, tightly-knit and highly structured societies (which we know exist within the UFP, and quite logically) than "EWWW, Gay" (if you'll excuse me there). Acceptance of homosexuality as "legitimate" doesn't necessarily mean that it's easy for a given person to announce that they're homosexual. In some cultures, sure; in others, often not so much.

    So, I can certainly see why "coming out" might still be an issue in some situations even if no-one generally blinks an eye at homosexuality. Or, even more generally, acceptance of variety and difference doesn't necessarily translate into everyone feeling they have the social freedom to be different. Most people are torn between individual expression and societal pressures, and expectations regarding family, sexuality and courtship are among the most powerful. Which is why encouraging social acceptance of homosexuality in many parts of the real world requires more work than simply discarding homophobia. A necessary place to start, for sure, but things are never that simple.
     
  11. borgboy

    borgboy Commodore Commodore

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    On the subject of Vulcan trans characters, I just wanted to add that there is definitely gender differences between male and female Vulcans, at least in some ways. They at least sometimes dress differently.
    Federation planets are supposed to be free of bigotry, but I couldn't help but think of the really interesting development the Andorians have gotten in the novels. I'd think that an Andorian whose sexual orientation didn't embrace the four gender marriage would face some social stigma. An Andorian who wanted to be with only one or two partners and/or wasn't attracted to the other three genders wouldn't be able to reproduce if they were true to their orientation.
    As for how to handle Wesley having a gay relationship, I'd say the point would be to do it the same way his heterosexual relationships were. Wesley had a few episodes where his love interest was the main story. You give Wesley a boyfriend as the main story of the episode, but the point of the story isn't about gender or orientation, any more than it was when he had girlfriends on the show. A story featuring gay characters doesn't have to be about homosexuality any more than a story featuring straight characters has to be about heterosexuality.
     
  12. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Exactly. Andorians who didn't embrace the cultural standard faced intolerance, not because their orientations were seen as inherently immoral or provoked disgust - which would be the equivalent of true homophobia - but because their desires and identities were obstacles to the convention seen as socially responsible and required of all citizens. Which is the equivalent of a given homosexual person facing negative judgements or disappointment when "outing" him/herself even in the absence of true homophobia. Which is why, while I agree that in most cases homosexuality wouldn't bat an eye among cosmopolitan federates, there's still reason for certain homosexuals to face "coming out" issues of a sort in their native communities, if one wished to explore that. After all, announcing to a bar full of mixed-race Federation citizens that you're homosexual would just earn you a reaction of "And? What's the issue?", but announcing it to the elders of your village on Arbazan might be quite harrowing.

    Indeed. The problem is finding a balance, because of course to some people - those who have been frustrated by the odd lack of homosexual characters in a franchise like Trek - it is a "big thing", something they want to see very much, but simultaneously to make an issue of it would be as bad, in terms of acceptance, as ignoring it. The urge to play a homosexual relationship as a "HOMOSEXUAL relationship" rather than a "homosexual RELATIONSHIP" would be strong, and in one way entirely understandable, but in another way... very problematic.
     
  13. borgboy

    borgboy Commodore Commodore

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    I think as long as the relationship received fair screen time, and the relationship were handled well - a normal amount of affection - people who want gay characters would be happy. I don't recall anyone ever asking for a gay story - just gay characters.
    Although I liked Ezri Dax I thought it was disappointing that the next Dax wasn't a man. Worf's reaction alone would've made it worth it! But that would've left DS9 with only one female lead, which would've been a problem.
    I would think that once an Andorian was past their fertile age, that it wouldn't be such a big deal if they were then in an untraditional relationship. It's worth pointing out that on Andor, exclusive heterosexuality would be just as scandalous I would expect as homosexuality. Anything outside of being attracted to the other three genders would be a cultural taboo. I am really fascinated by the Andorians.
     
  14. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Exactly. Vulcans are all about suppressing emotion and urges. A transgendered Vulcan is almost the very antithesis of this suppression and as you say, choosing a gender is very emotional and about how it makes one feel. It isn't a logical decision. At the same time, Vulcans are also supposed to accept infinite diversity in infinite combinations. How would Vulcan society accept this? How would other Vulcans treat a transgendered Vulcan? How is Pon Far handle? So many possibilities from which to write about, in my view.
     
  15. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    True; we have seen that in the books (partially as a way to explain why Shran, for instance, mated with Talas, but still something that made sense). Whether that sort of pairing or other non-standard matings are truly accepted or just something people turn a blind eye and a shrugged shoulder to, is perhaps worth exploring. We know that tezha, bonding with only one partner (or two, I guess) is considered the height of irresponsibility in young Andorians (sort of loosely analogous to sex before marriage in many Earth cultures), but the situation post-fertility is far more complex.

    As others have noted, the books are potentially placed to explore this further now that we have zh'Tarash, who is raising her thei with a single partner (albeit not by the quad's mutual choice, since her ch'te and th'se were killed in the Borg Invasion). And with Bashir's Miracle, Andorian society is going to face a lot of upheaval in terms of an increased liberalism (and possible resistance to it), I think.
     
  16. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's exactly what Selar's brother faced with his parents in NF: Excalibur: Renaissance. Among other things, Selar's dad considered it an illogical waste of genetic information because his son wasn't going to procreate.
     
  17. borgboy

    borgboy Commodore Commodore

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    IIRC, I think Selar's dad's issue was more that it was a waste of time to have a sexual relationship if it wasn't required by Pon Farr...possibly an attitude of why have sex if you aren't going to reproduce kind of attitude. So while he'd have disapproved of a hetero relationship in the same situation, he would disapprove of any homosexual relationship. So not specifically homophobic maybe, but close enough.
     
  18. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Hell, the MACOs did essentially take over NX-01's security when they arrived. Seriously, aside from Reed, there's what, two or three Starfleet security officers seen in seasons 3 and 4? Hell, in the MU, Reed himself is a MACO.

    There was also Silent Enemy where Reed's friend tells Hoshi Reed frequented a seafood restaurant because he had a thing for the waitress, despite the fact he actually hates seafood. Also, in Shuttlepod One he composes messages for several ex-girlfriends. And also, the example I provided earlier from E-squared where he laments not being married in the other timeline and then proceeds to try and chat up the first woman he sees.
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The second season episode The Dauphin would have been a good choice, replacing Jaime Hubbard with male actor. The episode was non-sexual, there's (iirc) a single kiss. The storyline deals with Wesley's feeling of love and attraction for Salia.

    I'm not sure, but I believe this was Wesley's first romance.

    :)
     
  20. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    a lot of those examples rely on him referring to off-screen girlfriends, though. They could be just as easily fictitious, or just passing flirtations that Reed is making a bigger deal about them than they were.