The Instigator
thegodhand
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
bluesteel
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

Star Trek has hidden gay messages?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/24/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,805 times Debate No: 14133
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (4)

 

thegodhand

Pro

I am a Trekkie myself, and I will continue to be even now.

But looking through some episodes, I found some hidden-message like things.

The fourth season episode of Deep Space 9, Rejoined, is pretty obvious about it (gay kissing). But this may just be to deaden the viewer to other, more subtle messages.

Slightly more subtle, though fairly obvious, is the seeming Kira-Dax relationship through DS9. They never kiss, though the seem attracted at certain points.

Also with that is The Outcast, a Season 5 episode of The Next Generation. The plot goes like this, in my own words-

The episode centers around a race of androgynous creatures (thank god we never know how they reproduce), where one of them has it in its head it is female, as the entire race seems to have female characteristics. This is shunned by society.

In both the Trek and real-life versions, gay people-

Seem to have it in their heads they are different, in extreme cases.
In all but minor cases, they are shunned by 99 percent of society.

Well? Is Star Trek a carrier of hidden gay messages? Or are these valid plotlines to carry the show?
bluesteel

Con

Thanks for the debate thegodhand.

==Definitions==

From Princeton's Wordnet, "hidden" means "designed to elude detection" http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

"gay" means "homosexual" or "having a sexual attraction to persons of the same sex" http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

"androgynous" means "relating to or exhibiting both male and female sex organs" http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

"message" is "a communication that is written or spoken" http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

==Burden of Proof==

My opponent as instigator and pro has the burden to show that Star Trek contains hidden gay messages.

He must prove:
1) That the situation is actually homosexual in nature.
2) That the message was "designed to elude detection" (hidden).
3) That there are more than one of these messages (since it is plural in the resolution).
4) That the scene described was designed as a communication intended to convey a certain meaning.

==Rebuttal==

My opponent has three examples.

R1) DS9 gay kissing

This violates the #2 of the BOP. Since gay kissing is very explicit, it does not count as hidden - it is not designed to elude detection. Gay kissing is supposed to make the homosexuality fairly obvious.

R2) DS9 Kira-Dax relationship

This fails the #4 of the BOP. Although there may be speculation on homosexual attraction among fans, two characters potentially being attracted to each other is not a "message." It is not designed to communicate any sort of idea.

R3) Outcast plotline

This fails the #1 of the BOP. Gay means exhibiting sexual attraction towards the same gender. My opponent specifically states that the alien species is androgynous, which means it does not have distinct genders. Androgynous species cannot be considered gay.

The theme of being shunned by society for asserting one's difference is not unique to homosexuals. Star Trek explores many of the racial differences between the different alien species and the friction that these differences cause. In X-Men, the mutants are treated like outcasts because they are different from the normal humans. Many movies and books explore how the mentally ill are shunned for being different. In fact, an alien with both male and female reproductive organs (androgynous) who asserted (s)he was actually solely female would better be classified as "mentally ill" than "homosexual."

Negated.
Debate Round No. 1
thegodhand

Pro

The Rejoined and Kira-Dax thing... I expected that ball to be returned, but you did a good job on hitting the "Outcast" curveball. I'll try to throw it again.

True, the species IS androgynous, no denying that.

BUT-

In real life The Outcast
The Outcast is persecuted
Gays are persecuted, because she is different.
because they are different.

In both cases, these individuals are persecuted because of their orientations.

This also qualifies as a hidden message, because it is not overt after a casual watch. But it is easy to see when looking for it.

Take subliminal one-frame ads. These are normally undectable, but when you see the words "OMGOMG WATCH THIS SUBLIMINAL MCDONALDS AD!!!!!!!!.!>!>!!!!" you can easily see the subliminal.

See where I'm going with this? In both real-life and on Star Trek, this is a sort of hidden meaning to an episode seemingly about not fitting in. This is easy to do because, as you know, all of us have problems fitting in. So while we think we are receiving a message about simply being an outcast, we are, in fact, seeing something about being rejected because of sexual orientation.

-The Godhand
bluesteel

Con

Thanks, thegodhand.

==Rebuttal==

R1 and R2 my opponent drops - he says, "The Rejoined and Kira-Dax thing... I expected that ball to be returned."

R3)

My opponent says, "True, the species IS androgynous, no denying that." He agrees then that the species has both male and female sex organs. So for a member of this species to assert that it is solely female, when it can look down and see both types of sex organs, would better be classified as a mental illness than as homosexuality. This still violates the #1 of the BOP - the situation is not homosexual in nature. A species with no distinct genders cannot have homosexuality, by definition.

Being an outcast is also not synonymous with being gay, as my opponent suggests. Anyone who is different or asserts difference is branded an outcast in our society, whether that person's difference is being a mutant (like in X-men), being mentally ill, being a different race, or publishing secret information (like Julian Assange). The alien is persecuted for asserting difference, but the difference in this case isn't homosexuality.

Lastly, if there is a subliminal message here, I ask my opponent what the message is supposed to convey. Is this episode telling us that we should not assert our difference? Is it saying that we should not persecute people who are different? What is the message?

==Burden of Proof==

My opponent loses. Remember the #3 of the BOP - messages is plural in the resolution, so my opponent must win at least TWO of his points. But he drops all but one. He thus cannot prove that there are messages (plural), only potentially that there is one message. The debate is over at the point where he dropped all his arguments but one.

Negated.
Debate Round No. 2
thegodhand

Pro

"So for a member of this species to assert that it is solely female, when it can look down and see both types of sex organs, would better be classified as a mental illness than as homosexuality. This still violates the #1 of the BOP - the situation is not homosexual in nature. A species with no distinct genders cannot have homosexuality, by definition."
No, a species with no genders cannot have homosexuality. I think you missed what I was trying to say. What I meant is as follows- the creature has a different sexual orientation, and is persecuted for such. This is homosexualistic. This also "hides" the message in a sense.

"Being an outcast is also not synonymous with being gay, as my opponent suggests. Anyone who is different or asserts difference is branded an outcast in our society, whether that person's difference is being a mutant (like in X-men), being mentally ill, being a different race, or publishing secret information (like Julian Assange). The alien is persecuted for asserting difference, but the difference in this case isn't homosexuality."

The "other outcasts" are almost totally irrelevant. Almost. You have a good point there. Here's the thing- all of these other types of outcasts- mentally ill, being a different race. All of these are explored in Star Trek. And in no other case does the show even slightly attempt to obscure these differences. It never shows a species who usually has mental ilnesses. It does not obscure from the viewer in any way, form or fashion.

"Lastly, if there is a subliminal message here, I ask my opponent what the message is supposed to convey. Is this episode telling us that we should not assert our difference? Is it saying that we should not persecute people who are different? What is the message?"
Good point, Bluesteel.

The message conveys that it's okay to be a homosexual and that it is wrong to persecute someone for this. In the same vein of what is mentioned above, the series never shows a mental patient being persecuted because he is different. It shows him receiving tender, loving care from kind doctors. He is not being persecuted because of this type of difference. But the homosexual is.

The Godhand
bluesteel

Con

Thanks for the fast response thegodhand.

==BOP==

My opponent still has only one example left and thus, at best, can only prove that there is one hidden gay message in Star Trek. Since he cannot prove multiple messages (plural), he cannot fulfill the BOP.

==Rebuttal==

R3) Androgynous species are species in which each individual has both male and female sex organs. Some species of slugs are androgynous. Since each individual has both sex organs, homosexuality is not possible. This still fails #1 of the BOP - an androgynous individual trying to ignore his/her male body part is a mental illness, not homosexuality.

In fact, according to a description of the plot of "Outcast," the alien species treats Soren (the "outcast") as mentally ill, not homosexual. [1] In addition, the same source says that Soren is attracted to a human male from the Enterprise. A female being attracted to a male is not "gay."

My opponent claims the "message" of the episode is that being gay is okay. Actually, the episode ends with Soren being "rehabilitated" by the mental health doctors, with Soren agreeing that he/she is androgynous, not female. [2] The message seems to be that being different is wrong and people need to be rehabilitated if they are different. This seems to be a pretty negative message, if it is a message at all. It is probably better not to read too much into a TV show, which is meant to be simply for entertainment purposes.

==Citations==

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...(Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation)
[2] Same source (ibid)
Debate Round No. 3
thegodhand

Pro

"Androgynous species are species in which each individual has both male and female sex organs. Some species of slugs are androgynous. Since each individual has both sex organs, homosexuality is not possible. This still fails #1 of the BOP - an androgynous individual trying to ignore his/her male body part is a mental illness, not homosexuality. In fact, according to a description of the plot of "Outcast," the alien species treats Soren (the "outcast") as mentally ill, not homosexual. [1] In addition, the same source says that Soren is attracted to a human male from the Enterprise. A female being attracted to a male is not "gay."

In a sense, a female being attracted to a male isn't gay. Not the way we perceive things. But we don't know this creature is female. They possess female characteristics, but we do not know they are female. For all we know, they seem androgynous but are, in fact, similair to us and it really is gay love.

And, alternatively, once again, orientation! Since we cannot conclusively prove that this creature is female or male, we may assume it is androgynous. Therefore, androgynous/male relationships are out of the question because of "normal" androgynous/androgynous relationships. This means that it is being persecuted for being... abnormally oriented.

"My opponent claims the "message" of the episode is that being gay is okay. Actually, the episode ends with Soren being "rehabilitated" by the mental health doctors, with Soren agreeing that he/she is androgynous, not female. [2] The message seems to be that being different is wrong and people need to be rehabilitated if they are different. This seems to be a pretty negative message, if it is a message at all.
Once again, persecution! Soren was quite clearly titanium in its beliefs. What could make someone reverse their mind on such a thing? Persecution- torture, humiliation, you name it.

"My opponent still has only one example left and thus, at best, can only prove that there is one hidden gay message in Star Trek. Since he cannot prove multiple messages (plural), he cannot fulfill the BOP."

In that case, I shall name another one.

According to the script, Guinan was supposed to start telling Lal, "When a man and a woman are in love ..." and in the background, there would be men and women sitting at tables, holding hands. But Whoopi refused to say that. She said, "This show is beyond that. It should be 'When two people are in love.'" "
—TNG research consultant Richard Arnold, as quoted in "Gay Trek", Salon (2001)

Two people. That could be interpreted any which way. Man/woman, woman/woman, man/man. This may not have been originally written into the script, but the fact remains- this is a semi-subliminal possible homosexual message in Star Trek.

"It is probably better not to read too much into a TV show, which is meant to be simply for entertainment purposes."

You got me.

The Godhand
bluesteel

Con

Thanks again, thegodhand.

==BOP==

My opponent does offer a second example, but he must win both to win.

==Rebuttal==

R3) "Outcast"

The show explicitly treats Soren as mentally ill, not gay. They have her undergo "psychotectic therapy," which is a clear play on psychotherapy. This still fails #1 of the BOP - it is not a homosexual situation.

In addition, someone of two genders being attracted to someone with only one gender is not homosexuality. If one person has a penis and the other a vagina, it's not "gay."

Lastly, my opponent claims the message is about persecution. Is my opponent suggesting that persecution is good? Because in the end, the persecution succeeds. If the message were "persecution is bad" then the plot would end with the destruction of all of the aliens except Soren or some other cathartic experience that proves that persecution is bad.

And again, "persecution is bad" doesn't relate back to homosexuality; it's just a generic theme.

R4) Script change

The significance here does not come from the show itself. In fact, the only thing that is significant is the fact that the script changed, but the average viewer would never know what the original script said. My opponent could reference homosexual scenes that got cut from the script, but these would not be relevant since they are not part of the show. Thus, script changes cannot be used.

This also fails #2 of the BOP - to be hidden, something must be DESIGNED to elude detection. The script change was very explicitly designed by Whoopi Goldberg to sanction gay love as legitimate.
Debate Round No. 4
thegodhand

Pro

Ok, Bluesteel, the final round is here and the winner shall be decided! And sorry it took so long, I became sleepy.

"The significance here does not come from the show itself. In fact, the only thing that is significant is the fact that the script changed, but the average viewer would never know what the original script said. My opponent could reference homosexual scenes that got cut from the script, but these would not be relevant since they are not part of the show. Thus, script changes cannot be used. This also fails #2 of the BOP - to be hidden, something must be DESIGNED to elude detection. The script change was very explicitly designed by Whoopi Goldberg to sanction gay love as legitimate."

You actually said that the average viewer would not notice. That makes it hidden, in a sense. And possibly homosexual.

"The show explicitly treats Soren as mentally ill, not gay. They have her undergo "psychotectic therapy," which is a clear play on psychotherapy. This still fails #1 of the BOP - it is not a homosexual situation."

Mentally ill in her sexual orientation. Since this is abnormal, it could be interpreted as homosexual.

"In addition, someone of two genders being attracted to someone with only one gender is not homosexuality. If one person has a penis and the other a vagina, it's not "gay."

Well, since we don't see a nude Soren, even if Soren looks female it is very possible she has entirely different sex organs.

"Lastly, my opponent claims the message is about persecution. Is my opponent suggesting that persecution is good? Because in the end, the persecution succeeds. If the message were "persecution is bad" then the plot would end with the destruction of all of the aliens except Soren or some other cathartic experience that proves that persecution is bad."

The persecution succeeds, yes. This is like saying we should persecute all homosexuals. Of course, this could be interpreted differently if Soren had normal mental illnesses.

The Godhand
bluesteel

Con

Thanks for a good debate thegodhand.

==BOP==

Remember, my opponent must win that both his examples are 1) homosexual in nature; 2) designed to be concealed, and 3) intended to convey a certain message.

==Rebuttal==

R3)

Homosexuality is not the same as a mental illness. Homosexuality is not the same as being born with two sex organs but thinking you only have one. Soren attends psychotherapy sessions to be cured. The Star Trek episode The Outcast clearly treats Soren as mentally ill, not gay. This thus fails the #1 of the BOP.

My opponent changes his stance, as well, and claims that the new message is: "persecute all homosexuals!" This is unlikely considering his argument is that the next message in R4 is "homosexuality is good and acceptable." A show would not be so internally inconsistent. Since my opponent fails to explain what "message" is hidden in The Outcast by failing to explain the meaning the episode is meant to convey, he fails the #3 of the BOP here as well.

R4)

Whoopi Goldberg literally said, "this show is beyond that!" In the situation my opponent describes, Lal is an android asking about how human love works. Whoopi made it very explicit to anyone reading about the script change that she is adamantly supporting including gay love in the explanation to Lal of how human love works. This thus fails the #2 of the BOP - Whoopi did not intend, in any way, to hide her message. Thus, the message was not "designed to be concealed," failing the #2 of the BOP.

Although I believe I've disproved both examples, if you, as the judge, believe that my opponent upheld one example, but not the other, you must still vote con because "messages" is plural in the resolution.

Thank you thegodhand for the debate and thank you for reading this far. I urge a Con vote.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by anonymouse 6 years ago
anonymouse
I recall those episodes and never thought of that. I summed it up to aliens, but I have to say no because I like Star Trek and don't want it to be ruined.
Posted by Maikuru 6 years ago
Maikuru
I'll favorite anything Trek-related.
Posted by m93samman 6 years ago
m93samman
Bluesteel never fails to impress.
Posted by Koopin 6 years ago
Koopin
Star-Trek*
Posted by Koopin 6 years ago
Koopin
Oh, I thought you were a real trekkie fan. Of the REAL star-treck.
Posted by Koopin 6 years ago
Koopin
HA HA HA HA Ha!!!
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by RedDawnJensen 5 years ago
RedDawnJensen
thegodhandbluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Trekkies for life!! This certainly was an interesting argument, but the homosexual centered themes in star trex are certainly NOT hidden or even the least bit ambiguous. The TNG episode with the androgynous biengs is outright homosexual in nature. And remember, everyone.. Its okay to be Takei! ^^
Vote Placed by Funkymonkey 6 years ago
Funkymonkey
thegodhandbluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: you need help
Vote Placed by adealornodeal 6 years ago
adealornodeal
thegodhandbluesteelTied
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Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
thegodhandbluesteelTied
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