Why I Like Slash

2017-11-13

I am a queer person, and I use the term queer to describe non-heterosexual/non-cisgender people. If you don’t like that term, you may not want to read this article.

There’s a nasty stigma around slash fiction that all the enjoyers and creators of it are crazy fangirls that fetish same-sex relationships between men. But in my experience, that’s only a very tiny minority. Most slash writers are women, yes, and queer women at that. Here is a forum that talks a bit about the phenomenon of transformative fiction, and why generally women and other minorities are drawn to it more than to straight, cisgender, white men. Basically, minorities enjoy expanding past, or even straight up changing, canon because they crave representation, and material they are able to relate to.

But I’m not here to get into a big conversation about demographics and socio-political zeitgeists. I want to talk about why I like gay fanfiction.

To clarify, when I say “gay”, I don’t mean just mean gay male fanfiction. I have almost as many female/female ships as I do male/male. It’s sad that, as many queer women are involved with fan fic, that the amount of femslash pales drastically in comparison to dudeslash and het fic. (More on that at this link.)

First of all, fan fiction is not exclusively smut. Sex scenes do take up a good portion of the medium, but in most cases, smut accompanies real plot lines, usually a buildup of romantic tension between characters. Most fan fiction sets up the scenario where the characters in question finally admit their feelings for each other…which is usually then followed by sex as a form of catharsis for all the romantic and sexual tension that’s built up over time. The sex is usually a celebration of the getting together, not just porn for the sake of porn.

Second of all, I mentioned above that most slash fan fiction is about two (usually white) cisgender males, written by female-aligned persons. My friend Gemma made a YouTube video about that phenomenon, which you can watch here. It’s easy to pass off male/male fan fiction as young straight women using it as masturbatory material, but, I also stated that most slash fiction writers are queer themselves. So why would gay (I’m using that as an umbrella term here) women spend their time writing about the relations between two men? Sexually, aesthetically, and emotionally, what do homosexual relationships between men have to do with us?

Right now, on Fanfiction.net, the dominating fandom in TV is Supernatural, with over 120,000 fan fictions written for it. On Archive of Our Own, the number of fan fictions is over 170,000. Of those AO3 fan fictions, the top three most commonly written about pairings are all gay relationships between two white men, one of which is incestuous. Dean Winchester/Castiel (Destiel) takes up almost 40%, Dean Winchester/Sam Winchester takes up 14%, and Sam Winchester/Gabriel takes up 6%.

The loathsome BBC Sherlock series has 102,021 fan fics (as of this writing) on AO3, and over 50% of them are Johnlock. Again, two white guys. This leaves the next dominant pairing of the fandom, Sherlock/Molly, in the dust with only 6855 (currently) fics to its name.

And the pattern continues. Marvel Cinematic Universe? Steve Rogers/Bucky Barnes, Steve/Tony Stark, and Clint Barton/Phil Coulson. BBC Merlin? Merlin/Arthur. The entire pantheon of Star Trek? Kirk/Spock. All of Star Wars? Kylo Ren/Hux. ALL WHITE GUYS.

But, maybe with the exception of Kylux, pretty much all of the fandoms I just named all feature white men as their main characters. They are the most developed and central to the story. And usually, their connection to each other is the most meaningful, even though both parties may have female love interests in their life:

  • Except for his brother, Dean Winchester’s most important connection is to Castiel. The angel even says himself that he and Dean have a “profound bond”. Even though Dean’s supposed “love of his life” is a woman named Lisa, who is promptly shunted to the side whenever the plot shows up and eventually put on a bus, never to return to the show.
  • Bucky Barnes is Steve’s best friend for life, and when forced to choose between Bucky and his loyalty to the Avengers (not to mention his own personal freedom and safety), Steve picks Bucky without a moment’s hesitation. Even though Steve is maybe? dating Peggy Carter’s niece?
  • And everyone, even non-slashers, sings praises to the deep friendship of Kirk and Spock, the slash pairing that more or less started it all. Even Gene Roddenberry himself wrote into the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture that their connection “had been the touching of two minds which the old poets of Spock’s home planet had proclaimed as superior even to the wild physical love which affected Vulcans every seventh year during pon farr” and called them soulmates. Even though Kirk is the essential “ladies’ man” and Spock is “supposed” to have no feelings.

Even a fandom like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which is dominated by strong female characters, a good amount of which are lesbians/queer, the second most popular relationship tag on AO3 is a non-canon m/m pairing (two white dudes, of course; ones who have little to no significant interaction, I may add). The first and third are het couples, and the very prominent lesbian pairing that is canon comes fourth.

However, there are exceptions to every rule. The Once Upon A Time fandom (I wrote a bit about feminism, or lack thereof, in the show in this post), despite the fervor of the Emma Swan/Captain Hook shippers, currently has more Emma/Regina Mills fics on AO3 than any other pairing. A f/f pairing! And one of them is sort of a WOC! (Lana Parrilla is Latina, but her character isn’t necessarily. I mean, Mills is a pretty white last name.)

But this is not about me trying to convince you to ship what I ship, or even have a deep in-depth conversation about the nuances of fandoms in cases of race, gender, or sexuality. I’m just trying to explain why I like slash.

Kirk and Spock. Dean and Cas. Steve and Bucky. Holmes and Watson. These are indelible bonds that endure the test of time. Kirk loved Spock so much, he threw away his entire career just for the chance to bring him back from the dead. And to quote the greatest movie of all time: death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.

When I ship characters together, it’s not because of how attractive they are or if I think they’d have hot sex scenes together. I see this connection between them, this kindredness in their souls that scream that they are at their strongest together, and that they make each other feel whole and content. And I’m sorry to say, but I usually see that in pop culture between the main man and his “bro” rather than between the two heterosexual love interests. Very seldom do I see the protagonist and their opposite sex partner share that intense yet tender bond (there are the exceptions: Buffy and Angel, Smallville‘s Clark and Lois). Maybe that’s because screenwriters don’t know how to write meaningful romance. Or maybe actors have trouble portraying that deep need. Whatever the cause, for the most part, slash just seems to work better. So until Hollywood dramatically improves its m/f relationships, I’m gonna keep on shipping the gay. ~TRL

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Gender Starts At Childhood, Not Birth

I’ve been a member of the LGBT community for a few years, and I’ve had friends scattered all over the gender identity and sexual orientation spectrums. I don’t claim to know everything about the nuances of sex, gender identity, and romantic/sexual orientation, but I would consider myself an accepting individual, and am always open to learning more about people and their identities. So when I first encountered the idea of gender fluidity and non-binary identity, I was intrigued.

When I was born, I was declared female and I was pretty much raised that way. That’s not to say I was a girly-girl: I loved playing in the mud, I disliked jewelry and the color pink, Legos were my favorite toys, and I opted to play on the boys’ team when participating in girls vs. boys games on the playground. But I wasn’t a tomboy either; I loved playing Barbies and dress up (even though usually I was a firefighter or a railroad engineer), and I didn’t really have an interest in sports (although that was mainly because I was never good at them, not because they were “for boys”). I guess you could say that my gender expression as a young child was fairly gender neutral.

I do remember one instance when I was six where I was insisting to my mother that I was a boy, because at that time I thought of myself as a tomboy because I wasn’t super ultra-feminine like the other girls at school. Finally, my mother convinced me that I was a girl because I peed sitting down rather than standing up. But my notion that I was a boy never stemmed from a desire to actually be a boy, but rather that I should be because of the gender roles society enforces on us at youth. Never in my life have I suffered from “penis envy”. I’m glad I was born female, and I doubt I’ll ever change that.

That being said, now that I’m older, and have learned from my friends and my online community that there’s more than two genders, if I was asked, I would say that I don’t really feel like I have a gender—that I’m agender, if you will. Sheltered from such ideas until up into my late teens, it never occurred to me that I could be anything other than what my parents, my doctors, and society had classified me as. I still wear feminine clothing, but that’s because I find women’s clothing appealing. I dress for me, not my gender identity. I go by feminine pronouns (she/her) out of convenience, not because those pronouns particularly feel right or wrong.

But I always come back to that one moment when I was six and my mom convinced me that I was a girl.

I think it’s important to listen to children, because despite popular opinion, they aren’t stupid. No one knows us better than ourselves, and childhood is one of the most important developmental stages in our life, second only perhaps to adolescence. If our teenage years are the time that we come into our own identity and realize who we are, then childhood is the time that we collect the building blocks—morality, opinions, personality—that will someday form into ourselves. When my parents made me believe I was a girl, that had an indelible effect on who I am as a person, and I’m not unhappy the way I am. But I’ve often wondered: what if I’d been allowed to continue believing I was supposed to be a boy? Would I still be the person I am today, or would I be someone completely different? Would I dress the same, act the same, have the same beliefs? Our actions can shape people in ways we can’t imagine, and our parents arguably have the largest effect on us all.

I decided a long time ago not to have children of my own, but someday I might adopt kids. If I ever do, I know what kind of parent I want to be: a loving, understanding one. One who her children can confide in about anything. One who really listens to them. One who her children aren’t afraid of, but who rightfully earns their respect, and respects them in return. One who will sit on the front row at their wedding and cheer them on, no matter who they’re marrying, or whether they’re wearing a tuxedo or a wedding dress. ~TRL

More Like The…GAY Gatsby

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Two bros, sittin’ in a yellow car, five feet apart ’cause they’re not gay!

Pretty much every American high school graduate has read The Great Gatsby…or least seen the film adaptation starring Leo DiCaprio. It’s a really short novel, only nine chapters, and it’s one of my favorite books ever. Mainly because…it’s really gay.

Damn, Catie, at it again with the seeing gay subtext everywhere. How could a novel written in 1925 focusing on a heterosexual romance possibly be gay, you ask me as you roll your eyes in disdain. Well, my close-minded friend, as a queer writer who has aced nearly every English class she’s ever taken, let me educate you.

First of all, the author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, may or may not have been queer himself. His close writer friends were Gertrude Stein, a raging lesbian, and Ernest Hemingway, who several historians suggest might have been bisexual, and also F. Scott allegedly once showed his penis to him? Also his wife suspected they might be having an affair, but then again, she was mentally ill, so it might have just been paranoia.

I’m not claiming that any of this is solid proof that F. Scott was less than heterosexual, but he did have at least one queer friend, and queer people do tend to flock together. Plus F. Scott was notably prim in his appearance and femininely beautiful, and was admittedly the “woman” in his marriage to Zelda Fitzgerald–not that straight men can’t also dress impeccably and have soft features and be submissive to their female partners. But you know, if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and hangs out with other ducks…there’s a good chance it’s a duck.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that Truman Capote wanted to adapt the novel into a movie—in Capote’s version, Nick Carraway, the main character, was supposed to be homosexual and Jordan Baker was a lesbian. For some reason, his screenplay was canned.

But now, onto the book itself. First of all, I propose that Nick Carraway, even though he did have a girlfriend briefly, is gay and infatuated with Gatsby. On the very second page of the book, Carraway describes Gatsby as gorgeous (although he’s actually applying that to his spirit rather than his actual physical appearance, but it still counts in my book). Then at the end of the second chapter of the book, a photographer named Mr. McKee invites a somewhat drunk Carraway out for lunch sometime and takes him back to his apartment to look at some photos he’d taken. And for some reason, it’s in McKee’s bedroom, while McKee is sitting in bed in his underwear.

“…I was standing beside his bed and he was sitting up between the sheets, clad in his underwear, with a great portfolio in his hands.”

I’m not saying they hooked up…but they hooked up.

When Carraway finally meets Gatsby face to face, Gatsby invites him out for a ride in his hydroplane. Jordan Baker then asks Carraway if he’s “having a gay time now”. That is actually the words she uses. And Nick replies, “Much better.” I know she means gay as in “fun”, but it’s still sniggle-worthy.

Then, when Carraway finally realizes that he’s actually talking to Gatsby, this is how he chooses to describe him:

“He smiled understandingly–much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”

TL;DR, Gatsby’s smile makes Carraway feel like the only girl in the world.

After that, Carraway immediately starts grilling Jordan for details about Gatsby, like a twitterpated teenager trying to get the lowdown on their crush. It’s adorable.

When the party is winding down for the evening, Gatsby and Carraway say goodbye to each other like, six times. No, you hang up. No, you hang up! No, you! You!

In the following weeks, Gatsby takes Carraway out on dates outings and seems really eager for Carraway to like him. “Look here, old sport,” he asks him one day, “what’s your opinion of me, anyway?” Then he shows off his medals of honor he earned in the army. What sucks is that in truth, Gatsby is really trying to get in Carraway’s good graces because he’s trying to use him as an in with Daisy Buchanan, Carraway’s cousin and Gatsby’s old flame. But if you think about it, does Gatsby really need Carraway to win Daisy back? He’s already conspiring with Jordan, who is Daisy’s bestie. He doesn’t really need Carraway to have an excuse to see her again. I think he just really likes hanging out with Nick, to be totally honest.

Also, a funny thing happens later on: Gatsby invites Carraway out for lunch and Carraway meets Gatsby’s business associate, Meyer Wolfsheim. Gatsby leaves momentarily and Wolfsheim says to Carraway that when he first met Gatsby, he “said to [himself]: ‘There’s the kind of man you’d like to take home and introduce to your mother and your sister.'”

Are you trying to set them up together or something, Wolfie?

One day, while Nick is wandering around Gatsby’s mansion, he spots of a photo of a man who Gatsby says is Dan Cody, an older man who was once his “best friend”. Later on, it’s revealed that Dan Cody met Gatsby and was impressed by him, so he took him under his wing and brought along on a sailing expedition, grooming him in the ways of the upper class and buying him a fancy wardrobe. He even left Gatsby twenty five grand when he died (although Cody’s mistress ended up usurping it from him).

That’s right–Jay Gatsby had a sugar daddy.

Anyway, blah blah blah, stuff happens, kiss kiss, bang bang. Then comes the last time Carraway sees Gatsby alive. He’s reluctant to leave him alone because Gatsby’s heartbroken about Daisy, but he has to go to work. But before he leaves, Carraway calls to him, “They’re a rotten crowd–you’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”

See, because that’s the thing about Carraway: he idealizes Gatsby in the same way that Gatsby idealizes Daisy. Gatsby disowned his parents because he was ashamed of them because they were poor, ran an illegal alcohol business, and tried to seduce a married woman–and he was willing to manipulate Nick to do it. But Carraway never cared about any of that. Until the very bitter end, Carraway still believed in Gatsby and adored him. And when Gatsby was killed, Nick was the only one who stayed with him. He tried to salvage Gatsby’s reputation because he knew that Gatsby was not a killer and that he never slept with Myrtle Wilson. He tried to arrange a funeral for him when no one else would. He was the only one who cared. “Me and Gatsby, against them all.

Oh God, now I’m sad again. ~TRL

Review: “Elena Undone”

I am a queer person, and I use the word queer as an umbrella term for for non-heterosexual/non-cisgender people. If you dislike the term "queer", you may not want to read this post.

Finding movies with LGBT+ characters is difficult. Finding movies that focus on LGBT+ people is even harder. Finding movies on LGBT+ people that isn't about AIDS or social condemnation or being rejected by family or any of the other depressing tropes that seem to come with queer narratives is damn near impossible. Most queer stories end unhappily, like Blue Is The Warmest Color, and most of the time in horrible tragedy, like Brokeback Mountain.

But as I was perusing the gay side of Netflix one day, I chanced upon a movie called Elena Undone, a lesbian romance between a pastor's wife and a free-spirited writer. It sounded like a cookie cutter lesbian romance (shy, innocent straight woman falls for mysterious, seductive lesbian and cheats on her neglectful husband with her), but I was bored, so I thought "what the hell" and hit play…and I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, as I predicted, it pretty much follows the standard formula for lesbian romance films, but I still enjoyed the movie. In this instance, the plot felt less like a tired old tread and more like a cozy blanket to wrap myself up in. Warm, soft, and familiar.

It's an indie film, and its format is unusual. Tyler, a mutual friend of Elena (the pastor's wife) and Peyton (the writer) narrates the film through his sparse cut scenes. Tyler is a "love guru" and believes in the idea of soulmates. Elena and Peyton's actual story is interwoven with clips from Tyler's informative video about finding one's soulmate, and therefore serves as a narrator of sorts for the evolving romance between the two women. It's an interesting idea, and works surprisingly well.

And then of course there's the electric chemistry between the two female leads. Both actresses exude affection, intimacy, and desire when they're onscreen together. Their making out/love-making scenes are luxurious and pulsing with heat. I haven't seen two lead characters with such a magnetic attraction since…well, since I watched the third season of Hannibal.

But the best part is, the women get a happy ending. They have their issues, as real people in real relationships do, but in the end, they find each other again and realize that they were meant to be together. It's a poignant yet simple ending.

The movie isn't perfect (the pastor character and the homophobic church member are a little flat), but it's a movie I'd gladly watch again. I'm a romantic at heart, and I've always loved the idea of soulmates, so I was glad to have found a real movie about two women were perfectly made for each other. If you can get past the dumb title, I recommend this film as an effective feel good story for when you're blue.

Oh, and for all you Supernatural fans out there, Peyton is played by Traci Dinwiddie, who was Pamela Barnes, the psychic who had her eyes burned out from trying to see Castiel. ~TRL

Book Review: “Killing Time”

Whaaat? Now I’m doing book reviews? Well, this is a special case. You see, this is a Star Trek novel, and if you’re a Spirk shipper, an absolute must read.

(**Spoilers ahead.**)

Killing Time is a short novel by Della Van Hise, originally published in 1985. When Pocket Books first put it out, apparently it was so gay that Paramount Pictures requested that the slashier parts be taken out. That didn’t end up happening due to a screw-up in editing, and the book was published as is. At least, until Gene Roddenberry read it and made the publisher recall it. PB had to put out a new, less gay version of the story.

I’m pretty sure the version I read was the censored edition, but even then, it’s still really gay. Let me show you what I mean.

To summarize, KT is about Kirk having strange dreams about being an ensign on a starship in an alternate universe, serving under Captain Spock. It turns out that Spock and several other members of the Enterprise, including one Jerry Richardson, are having similar dreams.

However, the dream soon becomes reality, and the Enterprise has been replaced with the starship Shi’Khar. No one remembers the other reality. In the new reality, the Federation was created not by mankind, but by the Vulcans. Kirk was wrongly accused of murder and offered a station on the starship as an alternative to prison. In addition, he’s also got PTSD connected with some disciplinary mental torture device they used on him in order to get a confession out of him, and his cabinmate keeps beating the shit out of him. This universe is not nice to our Jimmy. 😢

It’s soon established that the Romulans have a device they’ve used to pervert history so that humanity never formed the Federation. The leader of the Romulans, who happens to be a character we’ve met before – Thea, from “The Enterprise Incident” – is behind it all, wanting revenge on Spock for spurning and humiliating her. A big part of her plot is separating him from Kirk, since she knows they’re totally t’hy’la, so she can claim Spock as her consort.

Luckily, it doesn’t work, and Kirk, Spock, and Richardson finally realize the Romulans have changed history. They all work together to fix it, knowing that they and their reality will disappear if they set time right again. The three sacrifice their lives to undo the history-change, and Kirk wakes up in the right reality, once again Captain of the Enterprise, with Spock as his right hand man, with the other reality remembered vaguely as a bad dream.

This book is a Kirk/Spock goldmine. For one thing, it is established very clearly that Kirk and Spock are t’hy’la (duh), and they have a mental bond! (In Vulcan culture, mental bonds are developed between married couple. Hmmm…)

The first few chapters talk a lot about the close, personal “friendship” between Spock and Kirk, and they are very tender with each other. There’s even a part where Spock lays his hand on Kirk’s shoulder and Kirk covers it with his own (gee, good thing Vulcans don’t kiss with their hands or anything…oh, wait). Also, Spock muses several times on Kirk’s looks: “firm features, tanned flesh, expressive hazel eyes, and a compelling human grin. Single lock of gold-bronze hair falling to the middle of a high forehead.” Geez, Spock, we all know Kirk is a dreamboat, but come on.

Even when time is changed and they don’t know each other, Spock and Kirk yearn for each other’s company. Kirk wakes up from a bad dream and immediately calls out for Spock; Spock has a vision of Kirk and wonders possibly if this is his t’hy’la. You know…the Vulcan equivalent of soulmate.

Not to mention, due to the time corruption, Spock goes into pon farr (because no Spirk fic is complete without the ritual Vulcan mating frenzy!), and he dreams longingly about Kirk! (Unfortunately he ends up banging the Romulan chick out of desperation. She kind of takes advantage of his needy state. It’s a little on the squickish side.)

But the homoerotic subtext doesn’t end with the space husbands! There’s also some flirting between Kirk and Richardson, who calls Kirk “Juliet”. When Richardson dies, Kirk sadly calls him “Romeo”. I am not making this up. Also, there’s a romance between Richardson and this alien chick who works on the Enterprise/Shi’Khar named S’Parva, and they perfectly parallel Kirk and Spock!!!!

Toward the end after they’ve saved the universe, Spock is dying from a poison bullet wound, and the second reality is collapsing. And Kirk and Spock decide to die holding each other????? While melding their minds one last time????????? What kind of old-couple-cuddling-each-other-as-the-Titantic-is-sinking romantic tripe is this?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

These are are some lines that made me fangirl squee with joy:

Surely, he told himself, there would be someone with whom the Vulcan could bond, someone who could walk the path with him, balance him, love him. For a long time, Kirk considered that. (just platonically pondering whether or not your bro will have a life partner)

…when he opened his eyes again, it was to see Spock still standing, looking down at him questioningly. There was concern–and possibly Vulcan worry–written in the black eyes. Kirk held the penetrating gaze for a moment, then managed a smile when he saw the Vulcan soften. (And then he drags Spock off to the ship’s garden for a date I MEAN manly stroll.)

Absently, he reached out to touch the human’s cheek for confirmation, but stopped when Kirk’s eyes widened fearfully. (So Captain Spock notices a bruise on Kirk’s cheek and just casually reaches out to caress his face. #JustBroThings)

For an illogical moment, he found himself thinking of the future–with Kirk at his side. . . (THIS SPOCK BARELY KNOWS THIS KIRK AND HE WANTS TO SPEND THE REST OF HIS LIFE WITH HIM WHAT THE HELL)

The images whisper-walked through his mind. Blue and gold. Warmth and companionship. Stolen moments when the firm Vulcan mask did not have to fit so tightly. (I’M ABOUT TO EXPLODE I SWEAR TO SURAK)

He glanced up, meeting the Vulcan’s eyes. Somehow, shirtless, and with hair slightly dishelved, the Shi’Kahr’s legendary captain seemed almost vulnerable in the dim lighting… almost reachable. (Kirk checkin’ out Spock’s hot Vulcan bod, hell yeah.)

“Kidnap James Kirk, keep him from the Vulcan long enough … and Spock will do anything in his power to get him back safely, Sarela.” (Damn, Thea knows EXACTLY what Spock’s weak spot is.)

…what is dearest to him in all the combined universes… (This is what Kirk is to Spock, according to Thea. I MEAN)

Spock knew he must be there when his companion awakened… (So Kirk and this other crew member were in danger and Spock only had time to save one of them, and of course he picked his darling Kirky! Now Kirk is knocked out in sick bay, and Spock is longing to be at his bedside, calling Kirk his companion. Again, HE BARELY KNOWS KIRK.)

In seven years as command of the Shi’Kahr, he had never met a human who could arouse such forbidden feelings, who could wrestle emotion from him as easily as turning on the light. (*me, screaming* Also, they’re sexy anger-wrestling right now.)

“I need you. The Empire needs you. . . . What more can there be?” “James Kirk,” the Vulcan murmured without hesitation. (Lady, you just got REJECTED.)

“Can he be worth what you are doing, Spock? Can any one man be worth an entire universe?” The Vulcan’s response was direct and without hesitation. “Yes.” (JIM IS WORTH THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE TO SPOCK I CAN’T)

Kirk smiled wistfully, then reached out to touch the Vulcan’s arm reassuringly as he remembered the mind-fever he’d felt himself. Without explanation, it had vanished … and as he glanced at Thea, the reason became clearer. “As long as you’re alive,” he said quietly, absently projecting a warmth into his companion’s mind. (Kirk is “wistful” that Spock had sex with Thea. That’s not something I made up. Also, Kirk felt Spock’s pon farr????? Vulcan marital mental bond much?????)

He is even deeper in your blood than Vulcan. It was, he realized, a very simple truth. (*more screaming*)

“Perhaps it would be wise to discuss the matter in more detail later this evening,” he suggested. “Since we are both due on the bridge …” He let the sentence trail off, unfinished. (DID SPOCK JUST INVITE KIRK TO HAVE SEXY TIME LATER??????)

In the Vulcan’s quarters, Kirk sat slowly on the ornate meditation pillows (OH YEAH THEY DEFINITELY DID THE NASTY)

Remembering an ancient human proverb, he found some small comfort in the knowledge that Kirk was obviously laughing to keep from crying. (Again, they’re talking about Spock hooking up with Thea and Jim has laugh to keep from crying???????)

This novel is so perfect. ~TRL

On fair Vulcan where we lay our scene…

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One of Star Trek’s most famous episodes is “Amok Time”, in which seemingly unemotional science officer Spock undergoes pon farr, a biological mating ritual that Vulcans go through every 7 years. But while the plot focuses on Spock’s marriage to fellow Vulcan T’Pring, I say that “Amok Time” is actually a retelling of Romeo And Juliet. But the love story isn’t between Spock and T’Pring. It’s between Spock and Captain Kirk.

First, let’s establish some roles. You may think that, since Spock is the one engaged to a person he’s not in love with, he’s the Juliet of this scenario. But I think, actually, Jim is Juliet and Spock is Romeo in this case.

So, the story. R+J begins with Romeo pining for a girl named Rosalind. Similarly, Spock is longing for T’Pring so he can mate with her. Rosalind has spurned Romeo, just as T’Pring ends up spurning Spock for Stonn. It’s important to note that in R+J, Romeo’s feelings for Rosalind are presented more as lust than love. Spock barely knows T’Pring; their bond is solely physiological, not mental or emotional. But Juliet makes Romeo forget all about Rosalind…

…and this time, it really is true love.

(Spock is so overjoyed when he sees Jim alive in this scene, he literally twirls him around.)

(And I know that R and J’s romance is emblematic of adolescent idiotic love, but make no mistake, they are soulmates. “Star-crossed” means doomed – doomed to fall in love, and doomed to be destroyed. The forces of the universe literally pushed them together. And according to Gene Roddenberry’s novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Jim is Spock’s t’hy’la, a Vulcan word for “friend, brother, and/or lover” –  it’s basically the Vulcan equivalent of soulmate. So, yes, Jim is Spock’s soulmate.)

Meanwhile, Jim is forced to choose between his orders, or saving Spock’s life, much like Juliet’s loyalties are torn between her duty to her family and her true love. There’s even mentioned that T’Pau turned down a seat on the Federation Council, so while it’s not exactly like Spock’s clan and Starfleet are feuding, they are, respectively, the Montagues and Capulets of the story. And like Juliet, Jim ultimately choses love over duty.

Spock, like Romeo, is forced into a fight that he doesn’t want to be in (except it’s with “Juliet” and not Tybalt). And Jim, like Juliet, ends up faking his own suicide by taking a drug given to him by a trusted friend to solve the problem. Romeo and Spock are both despondent at their beloveds’ deaths. Romeo kills himself and Spock is prepared to hand himself over to authorities for murder (killing a commanding officer is a court martial worthy offense in Starfleet, so Spock is therefore committing suicide by cop). Luckily, in this version of the story, Juliet awakens and gets to stay with Romeo.

Let’s talk about the fight scene. Spock is literally in a “fuck or die” scenario. In Shakespeare’s time, people commonly associated death with sex. The French term for sexual climax was even called le petit mort, or “the little death”. The Italian madrigal, “Baci, soavi e cari” by Claudio Monteverdi, is basically about a person saying the kisses of the person they love make them feel like they’re going to die (read: have an orgasm). This pops up in Shakespeare’s works frequently as well. In R+J, the two young lovers perish after consummating their marriage. Jim “dies” during his fight with Spock. Remember, Spock had to have sex to survive pon farr, but he never actually got laid…or did he? Some moments in that fight scene sure look homoerotic… x

Maybe he got laid after all. 😉 -TRL

Is Making Sulu Gay Homophobic?

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GAYS: THE FINAL FRONTIER!

Last year, the third installment of the Star Trek reboot series, Star Trek Beyond, raised a big stink because writer Simon Pegg decided to make Helmsman Hikaru Sulu canonically gay, with a husband and a daughter. People objected to making Sulu gay because they felt it was homophobic to make a character gay just because his original actor, George Takei, is also gay.

I would like to say that, personally, I have no problem with Sulu being gay whatsoever, obviously. Representation is important, especially in such a universal cultural phenomenon like Star Trek. Maybe Pegg just wanted to sexually diversify the crew of the Enterprise and Sulu was the logical choice.

(Later edit): However, I’ve read that George Takei disapproves of the development, so…

But going back to logicalness…if he wanted to make someone on the Enterprise gay, there was a certain pointy eared science officer he could have chosen instead…

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I am just saying, the whole “I must suppress my human emotions” thing is totally a euphemism for staying in the closet. (Let him marry Kirk already. It’s been fifty years. It’s time.) -TRL