Pop Rocks: Zachary Quinto Comes Out, And So Should These Star Trek Characters
Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto, in news that was apparently a surprise to absolutely no one, is now the second actor from the sci-fi franchise to come out of the closet (do they have closets in the 24th century? Maybe he was in a holodeck version):
The 34-year-old, who also played Spock in the 2009 remake of Star Trek, twice referred to himself as a "gay man" in a feature for New York magazine.
The actor has played several gay roles on stage and screen but has never publicly confirmed his sexuality.
Writing on his blog, Quinto also said the bullying and recent suicide of 14-year-old American Jamey Rodemeyer prompted his decision to come out.
Far be it from me to question a guy's motives, but Quinto's latest movie (Margin Call) also comes out this weekend. Certainly, Quinto's decision was a difficult one and he obviously feels horrible about Rodemeyer's death, but let's just say Lionsgate's PR folks don't have a problem with the timing of this announcement.
But I don't care about all that stuff. I mentioned Quinto is only the second Trek alum to publicly disclose his homosexuality (the first, for those living on Mars and/or not Howard Stern fans) was George Takei. Obviously two dudes barely constitute a list, so I decided to turn my attention to actual characters from the Star Trek universe who might have been gay.
Now, in case you weren't aware, LGBT characters in the Star Trek television/movie universe have been the source of some controversy, mostly because there's never been one. Reading a history of the issue reveals a long series of mealy-mouthed copouts from executive producers Rick Berman (who reportedly shelved "Blood and Fire," David Gerrold's AIDS-allegory Next Generation script) and Brannon Braga, coupled with a steadfast unwillingness to correct the situation.
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Oh sure, Kirk probably "accidentally" slipped it into an unintended orifice a couple times (possibly during a famous weeklong orgy dubbed the "Tholian Lech"), and we know Riker fell for one of the androgynous J'naii in the TNG episode "The Outcast," but "Soren" was played by a female actor. And anyway Riker was back to pleasing alien booty of various shapes and hues the very next episode.
There were also the Trill, symbiotic life forms whose habit of switching host organisms occasionally led to hot host-on-host action (DS9's "Rejoined"), but questions of sexuality are pretty vague when dealing with hermaphroditic aliens.
As a Serious Entertainment Journalist, I am loath to create fabrications, but those assholes at Paramount have left me with no choice. Without further ado, here are the best guesses my "gay sensor array" could come up with.
Evil Kira Nerys - Deep Space Nine Mirror universe Kira may not have had a goatee (just that weird headband thing), but she was bisexual. She appeared in four episodes of DS9, so I guess she wasn't a "major" character, but she certainly had the hots for her counterpart from our universe. What's the term for being attracted to your evil twin? "Twincest?"
Q - The Next Generation According to events in Voyager, Q was partner to a female Q and she bore him a son (Daddy Q's hope was to revitalize the Q Continuum, following the civil war he'd started earlier in order to oh god I've wasted my life). He also made reference to being Picard's lover in an alternative universe (TNG's "Tapestry"), and I wouldn't put it past him to have done it solely to mess with Picard's head.
Though I wouldn't recommend trying that shit with Sisko.
Harcourt Fenton Mudd - Star Trek: The Original Series Did anybody really buy that Mudd was married to the horrid Stella? I'm not one to deny anyone their own particular sense of sartorial flamboyance, but on the other hand, look at that mustache. That's straight Village People right there.
Lt. Sean Hawk - Star Trek: First Contact Hawk was conn officer on the Enterprise-E when it went back in time (like that ever happens in Star Trek) to stop the Borg from preventing humanity's first warp flight. Hawk was also [SPOILER] assimilated by the sinister collective but shot and killed by Worf [/SPOILER]. More importantly, he was rumored before the movie's release to be the first "out" LGBT character in the ST universe. Berman, naturally, issued a press release putting an end to that foolishness.
Trelane - Star Trek: The Original Series True story: As a kid, I thought the guy playing Trelane was Liberace (and not, in fact, Dementia 13 actor William Campbell). To be fair, I was only 5 or 6 when I saw "The Squire of Gothos." I didn't see Dementia 13 until I was at least 10.
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