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Star Trek Producer Regrets Not Including Gay Characters On Show

Producer/writer Barannon Braga opens up to After Elton on why there were never any gay characters on any of the Star Trek shows and films he has worked on. Obviously, he's not speaking about the original show here, but about the The Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise as well as two of the films in the 1990's, Generations and First Contact.

 "It was a shame for a lot of us that ... I’m talking about The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and there was a constant back and forth about well how do we portray the spectrum of sexuality. There were people who felt very strongly that we should be showing casually, you know, just two guys together in the background in Ten Forward. At the time the decision was made not to do that and I think those same people would make a different decision now because I think, you know, that was 1989, well yeah about 89, 90, 91. I have no doubt that those same creative players wouldn’t feel so hesitant to have, you know, have been squeamish about a decision like that."

BbHe goes on, referring to the people involved on the The Next Generation non-progressive thinkers.

"I think it was, not so much a young man’s [issue], it was a syndicated family show, showing at six o’clock, you know, in Salt Lake City, so you had to deal with each separate affiliate rather than one network. And things like that. It was not a forward thinking decision. Knowing the players involved, knowing the decision makers, knowing it was that they felt reluctant about, you know, we’re not saying “yes,” we’re not saying “no,” we’re not just not going to touch that right now."

Maybe that's why Trekkies have sometimes had to resort to "creating" their own gay characters on the show.

While there aren't any gay characters on Terra Nova, the new FOX show Braga is executive-producing alongside Stephen Spielberg, that might change. He tells After Elton, who pointed this out to him: "I’m glad you bring it up because it’s something we should be attending to."

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  1. EX-producer. While Braga was at the helm he steered the franchise into the ground. He's been let go and its up to JJ to create a true to Star Trek universe.

    Posted by: mld | Jan 29, 2011 11:02:45 AM

  2. AfterElton does a great job of not letting Producers and network execs get off the hook with a simple platitude -- they speak in nothing but vagueries and spin, like politicians -- but AfterElton pushes them at these junkets, which is terrific.

    By the way, Mr. Braga: "we’re not saying “yes,” we’re not saying “no,” we’re not just not going to touch that right now." actually means you ARE saying no.

    Posted by: Strepsi | Jan 29, 2011 11:15:25 AM

  3. While it would have been nice to have a gay "regular" on one of the Treks, they did flirt with the idea in several storylines, most notably Jadzia Dax on DS9 and her rather wide-ranging sexuality based on the uniqueness of her symbiosis. There were a few others as well.

    Posted by: Michael Colford | Jan 29, 2011 11:17:01 AM

  4. I love Star Trek (don't call me a "Trekkie", I'm a "Trekker"), but the absence of gay characters throughout the whole mythology was- by far- my biggest disappointment with the creator/producers.

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Jan 29, 2011 11:31:53 AM

  5. @MLD: You're thinking of Rick Berman, not Braga.

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Jan 29, 2011 11:32:49 AM

  6. Michael. The Dax stuff was pretty much thanks to Ron Moore who reportedly had to fight tooth and nail for the story, AND had it cut to shreds in order to be less 'challenging'.

    What's always amused me about the Trek producers timidness towards GLBT characters is their seeming inability to grasp how gay and gay friendly their fanbase is. I have a friend who goes to Trek cons a lot and he calls them the Meat Markets. Basically, its a big gay mixer with Spock ears.

    Posted by: Scott | Jan 29, 2011 11:34:02 AM

  7. Yes, Moore had to fight tooth and nail for the Dax stuff, AND. Garak and Bashir were originally written to be a romantic couple, but the networks shut it down. Both the actors were on board with it, as were the producers, the cast thought it was a great idea, but because it was a 'family show' the networks just wouldn't let them get away with it. And it's freaking sad. I really, really hope JJ has more guts when it comes to facing this stuff down.

    Posted by: Sonneillon | Jan 29, 2011 11:40:49 AM

  8. Gee, well as long as they regret it after the fact when there's no Star Trek being produced in which to correct the situation...

    So what? I'm taking a pass on this one.

    Posted by: Baraeris | Jan 29, 2011 11:42:00 AM

  9. I don't think the Trek fan base is as forward thinking as we would like to believe. For example, if you take a look at a poll on right now asking if there should be a gay character in the next movie about 40% say no and almost 20% aren't sure.

    The poll:

    Really disappointing.

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 29, 2011 11:45:47 AM


    I hope this clarifies everything this man said.

    Posted by: Kyle Sullivan | Jan 29, 2011 11:56:16 AM

  11. @nike

    wow, chicken little much?

    You forgot to mention that poll has the majority 47% supporting = =YES to a gay star trek character

    yeah, one would expect it to be higher but no need to be all debbie downer when the majority 47% voted YES

    Posted by: | Jan 29, 2011 11:59:45 AM

  12. well I play Startrek Online ..and my character name is GAEMON of the USS EDWIN HUBBLE JPL (Intrepid class starship) ..on my bridge crew I have a male character named Bimann, also - I have a few other ships:

    Posted by: Disgusted Gay American | Jan 29, 2011 12:07:52 PM

  13. Always had a crush (pun intended) on Wil Wheaton.

    Posted by: sylvatica | Jan 29, 2011 12:48:31 PM

  14. It's certainly ironic that a show that pushed racial, sociological, and political buttons in the 1960s became increasingly timid from Next Generation onward. It's not just that the later Treks avoided the issue, they killed or watered down scripts in which it was raised - such as "Blood and Fire" (nixed) and "The Outcast" (watered down).

    Blood and Fire has been since made by the fan production Phase II.

    Posted by: Hank | Jan 29, 2011 1:03:17 PM

  15. @rodney, no, i am not excusing one over the other.

    braga is star trek's nixon administation to berman's bush administration, to roddenberry's kennedy administration :)

    ok trekked it up enough in here.

    Posted by: mld | Jan 29, 2011 1:04:14 PM

  16. Fat lot of good that is going to do us now that the franchise has been terminated.

    Posted by: Wrecks | Jan 29, 2011 1:33:50 PM

  17. The glaring lack of gay or bi characters in any of the 3 most recent series made me fearful that the Star Trek universe would try to account for it in some ex post facto way involving doctors removing "gay genes" in urtero as if its some standard medical proceedure when a "defect" is detected or some other similar rubbish.
    I am very much relieved to know the subject matter is still on the table for future Star Trek "projects."

    Posted by: Coco Vonloco | Jan 29, 2011 1:46:59 PM

  18. Yeah, yeah, "family" syndication, Salt Lake City, blah, blah, blah.

    Gene Rodenberry went ahead on The Original Show and included the first inter-racial kiss ever broadcast on network television and let the bigots be the ones to decide not to air it if they wanted (as reportedly some Southern stations did).

    It made Rodenberry look good, and those Southern stations look bad, and when folks talk about Rodenberry, they can say he helped make a positive difference historically in the culture.

    Braga, on the other hand, by being a wimp who chickened out, will be remembered for nothing of the sort.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Jan 29, 2011 1:58:18 PM

  19. Star Trek's presentation of an all-straight future is ludicrous and pathetic.

    Posted by: Matt | Jan 29, 2011 2:02:54 PM

  20. Regardless of the gay issue, why was a cure for baldness never found?

    Posted by: milo | Jan 29, 2011 3:03:19 PM

  21. How nice that he's regretful. 20 years later. When he doesn't have to take any heat for having an opinion, or risk having to take a stand.


    Posted by: Grant Thornley | Jan 29, 2011 3:20:46 PM

  22. During the first season of TNG, David Gerrold wanted to add a gay character. Gene Roddenberry said absolutely not! After Roddenberry passed they were able to get two shows that had very vague undertones. "The Outcast," and "The Host." The storyline for "The Host" underwent dramatic script changes so it was only vaguely gay toned in the end. Originally it was the whole episode. Had it not been for Roddenberry, there probably would have been gay characters on there.

    Posted by: Garrison Howard | Jan 29, 2011 3:35:55 PM

  23. @milo: there is a cure for baldness, its called self esteem

    Posted by: mld | Jan 29, 2011 3:39:29 PM

  24. @Garrison Howard:

    You're mistaken on several points. It was not Gene Roddenberry who nixed homosexual storylines, it was producer Rick Berman. Second, "The Host" was produced during Roddenberry's lifetime.

    Had it not been for Rick Berman (who, admittedly, Roddenberry appointed), there would have been gay storylines.

    Posted by: Hank | Jan 29, 2011 3:48:05 PM

  25. Roddenberry didn't have much choice in the matter. He was getting old, weak and somewhat senile toward the end, and after the disaster of the 1st & 2nd seasons of TNG, the studio pretty much mandated a producer be brought in.

    I just want to point out that Babylon 5 had a bisexual major character in, what, 1996? And it was syndicated. The fact that Trek could never bring itself to have a single LGBT character, even thru Enterprise in the middle of this last decade, is pathetic. And the blame for it lies with that hack Braga.

    Posted by: Jacknasty | Jan 29, 2011 4:01:47 PM

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