Trill and Sexual Orientation in Star Trek

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by Too Much Fun, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    I was watching "Dax" recently (and also remembering Jadzia Dax's line from an earlier episode about it being a long time since she's been a woman) and couldn't help but wonder about how sexual orientation factors into Trill host selection. There has been a lot of speculation from Star Trek fans (and even non-fans) over the years about how homosexuality fits into this universe. I've been asked myself, "if it's such a perfect society, how come we don't see any universally accepted homosexuality in it? I think it's interesting to ask this question while taking the Trill into consideration. Would a Trill be uncomfortable with having to change genders due to sexual orientation? Might only 'bisexual' individuals be considered as possible hosts for this reason? A friend of mine was teasing me about liking Jadzia Dax by saying, "she used to be a guy", and it made me think, yeah, but how come nobody else attracted to her cares? Are all Trills bisexual, or does homosexuality not even exist in the Star Trek universe because everyone is bisexual?

    It seems like a Trill being a heterosexual or homosexual might cause problems and/or confusion. This is only hinted at in "The Host", but I thought it raised an intriguing question. Beverly Crusher didn't want to pick up where she left off with her Trill lover upon discovering that it had become a woman. This was supposedly because Crusher is not a lesbian or bisexual (writers had not yet created the rule that Trills cannot consort with lovers from past lives, so we can assume Crusher was unaware of the rule, so it wasn't her reason for backing away from the relationship).

    The fact that the gender change didn't faze Beverly's lover suggests to me that Trills could be what we consider bisexual. Furthermore, I'd wager they probably think beyond sexual orientation and believe love transcends gender, which is something I've heard argued by people who aren't simply heterosexual but do not being like grouped into a category like 'homosexual' or 'bisexual'. If that's the case, the Trill actually ends up being a creation that metaphorically seems to have a lot of sympathy and understanding for those with such sexual orientations, much like the mutants in the X-Men films. What do you think?
     
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  2. DS9 Gal AZ

    DS9 Gal AZ Captain Captain

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    There's also the fact that in - "Rejoined," I think it was called? - Dax falls (back?) in love with the current host of the Kahn symbiont, Lenara. Her previous host, Toban, a male, was married to one of the Kahn symbiont's previous hosts, a female, and Toban died tragically. When they met up again, both the hosts were women. What prevents them from staying together, IIRC, is not the homosexuality angle, but the fact that it is taboo for a Trill to pursue a romantic relationship with someone (Trill or non, host or symbiont) he/she was involved with in a previous lifetime.
     
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  3. Chaos Descending

    Chaos Descending Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, let me ask this, do the Trill symbionts themselves even have a gender at all?

    If the symbiont is genderless, then the gender (or even sexual orientation) of the host becomes much less important.
     
  4. DS9 Gal AZ

    DS9 Gal AZ Captain Captain

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    *waves at Chaos Descending* Hello, fellow Arizonan! :)

    Well, that's a good point, I don't think they ever specified if the symbionts have genders.
     
  5. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    I've always assumed the Trill themselves were gender-less. What I wonder is if the sexual orientation of a potential host affects their eligibility to be a host.
     
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  6. RyuRoots

    RyuRoots Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The answer to that being that in real life the lowest common denominator are ignorant, angry idiots who would be up in arms if Trek ever did that. People who think it's wrong, improper, or other such bullshit. IIRC, Rejoined got a bit of flak, even with the specific context of Dax and Kahn.

    So I like to think that it IS accepted in Trek, or at least the Federation, even if it's something you can't show openly because people are idiots. That no one in the cast even brings up the same-sex as a reason not to pursue the relationship in Rejoined is a good sign of that, at least.
     
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  7. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Why would it matter? The host has their own sexual orientation and chooses partners accordingly - if they're heterosexual, partners of the opposite sex, if they're homosexual, partners of the same sex, if they're bisexual, either sex; the symbiont doesn't care either way.

    Jadzia, for instance, seemed to have preference for men since she kept choosing them. But she had nothing against relationships between people of the same sex.
     
  8. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The symbionts may be without gender, but the hosts do have it. And, the TNG Trill episode notwithstanding, the symbiont doesn't obliterate the consciousness of its host. Whatever orientation the host had before joining, it will probably have after.
     
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  9. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe the entire concept of sexual orientation doesn't exist amongst the Trill. Maybe all Trill humanoids are universally bisexual.
     
  10. Chaos Descending

    Chaos Descending Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hi there, nice to meet you!
     
  11. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Since only a minority of Trill are joined, I find that unlikely.
     
  12. Expendable

    Expendable Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I tend to believe that the symbiont is asexual and the gender/gender-identity/sexual preference is determined by the host.

    I also tend to believe that Jadzia was heterosexual as far as her personal preferences as evidenced by her relationships with men. I don't think a bisexual girl would have only a male dancer at her pre-martial party.

    The question of why Jadzia Dax was interested in Lenara Kahn seems to be a question of familiarity and love possessed by the two symbionts, Dax and Kahn. In prior hosts the two symbionts were married.
     
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  13. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    That was one of the possibilities I suggested in my original post.

    Yes, but don't you think it would be confusing for a host that is for example a heterosexual male to be succeeded by a host that is homosexual male? After all the new host retains the memories of the previous host.

    I was just imagining the possible gender/sexual identity confusion that would occur if the hosts kept switching sexual orientation every time the trill started with a new one.

    That's why I thought it would be a lot easier if all Trill were bisexual, but the question has never been answered explicitly, so I thought it's ripe for speculation.

    Right, but then she was still attracted to Lenara based on and feelings and memories she had of Lenara as a man, wasn't she? So does this mean she has a preference for men or could be attracted to both men and women?

    I know the show tried to keep it vague because they didn't want to directly address homosexuality (I suppose to avoid pissing off some people uncomfortable with that, as someone else in this thread suggested), but I can't help but wonder.
     
  14. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    On her own, she has a preference for men, but when influenced by other hosts' memories, she can be attracted to a woman. But 1) this is irrelevant since she's not supposed to get involved with the previous host's lover anyway, and 2) she (and presumably other Trills) don't have any sort of prejudice towards same-sex relationships.


    Trill culture doesn't seem to put such a strong importance to gender and sexual preference. That doesn't mean that people don't have it, just that it's not a big deal. Maybe it's even something on the level of 'do you prefer blondes or brunettes'.

    Memories of a person of a different sexual orientation would be just as confusing as memories of a person with a different personality, tastes, eating and sleeping habits, etc., not to mention gender. It must be very confusing overall, which is why there is such a rigorous process of training and selection of a new host. But in the end, joined Trills enjoy the opportunity of having all those different experiences.
     
  15. wolfroy

    wolfroy Ensign Newbie

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    there is another point that seems to have been overlooked. if the number of symbionts is so limited, why would the trill invent a stupid rule that would effectively mean the death of one or more symbionts ? also who controls who ? if symbionts are so powerful, and respected, why don't they just get the rules changed or, go on strike until they are ?
     
  16. wolfroy

    wolfroy Ensign Newbie

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    Earthworms are hermaphrodites; that is, they have both male and female sexual organs. The sexual organs are located in segments 9 to 15. Earthworms have one or two pairs of testes contained within sacs. The two or four pairs of seminal vesicles produce, store and release the sperm via the male pores. why they would need hosts, except to leave their pools, is surely the real question. fish don't leave the ocean worms don't leave the soil, and would we, volunteer to host a tape worm ? so in a way the question of sex for a symbiont is Irrelevant
     
  17. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    I tend to think there always was homosexuality and gender fluidity in the Trek universe, just the cameras were never pointed at it because they were designed for 1990s TV.

    Trills are an interesting case. It's implied at least in that episode that the memory of being attracted to someone can override the pure physical body chemistry.

    It's possible joined Trills with many lives of memories are inherently bisexual even if their current host's body chemistry leans one way or the other.
     
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  18. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    On this board it's frowned upon to followup to a thread that's been dormant for six years.

    I'd expect that trills would get their sexual preference from the host, since the symbionts are bisexual. However, I'd also expect that having the memories of both male and female hosts would help the trills, at least joined trills with a few lifetime's experience, be flexible in their outlook and not box themselves into a single gender role.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    One wonders why the orientation of the host would matter. Why would he or she get a say?

    When Odan took over Riker, it also dictated Riker's sexual advances, in this case towards Crusher. Riker himself had no say, and although we miss the awkward aftermath where he would next confront Crusher, now free of the symbiont, we can surmise the actions of Odan were not to his liking.

    Other joined Trills claim the symbiosis is mutually beneficial and supposedly gives the host plenty of freedom. But these have been joined for quite some time, not to mention the hosts have been extensively brainwashed with Trill propaganda beforehand. And when Jadzia is allowed a brief respite in "Invasive Procedures", she's tired and sedated until Dax again takes her over. We really have little reason to think the hosts would be anything short of utter slaves.

    The symbionts seem to exist as a species, so the default assumption would be that they reproduce. They certainly would have difficulty reproducing after insertion, so they would be likely to get that out of the way at an earlier stage of their lives. Sexuality after joining would then be pure hedonism for them; it would be weird for them not to experiment with pretty much everything in the upcoming centuries. Sticking to one orientation would be about as unlikely as sticking to one political view, considering the time available and the changes of hosts and their social contexts (not to mention of the times!).

    In that science fiction sense, I don't think the Trill setup has much to say about current issues of sexuality or sexual orientation. It's a fictional reality of its own, with parameters that make mere human concerns rather irrelevant.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Savage Dragon

    Savage Dragon Your Savage Overlord Moderator

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    This is true, but I try to be lenient when it's a new member since they can't be expected to know all the rules.

    For future reference, if a thread has been dormant for over a year please just start a new thread and link back to any relevant material from the old thread if you want to address a specific point. Thanks!