Just when I thought I couldn’t get any gayer, I joined a Battlestar Galactica-themed social club.
It had to be done. After the recent series finale, I found myself in a tailspin. Somehow, at some point, I had become fully obsessed with the story.
Musings on the epic tale began to seep into my thoughts, even as I begged myself to stop. There was nothing I could do but seek others of my kind and hope to find some peace and quiet among them.
In my travels, I have rarely found a fellow gay man who didn’t have at least some kind of passing fancy for the world of science fiction. It makes sense. Popular sci-fi — from the tripped out intergalactic shenanigans of Captain Kirk and his plethora of multi-coloured alien lovers to the stone-faced cool of Mulder and Scully — has always seemed to have a place in our hearts.
Gay issues have often made their ways into their narratives too. However, they are usually encoded, opting to replace any explicit homosexuality with metaphor. Any gayness is relegated to ambiguity.
This is the oldest trick in science fiction stories, to shed light on real life political and social topics though extraordinary and imaginative parallels.
Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a socially evolved universe never contained any outright homosexual beings. Though the show and its critics praised it for being “with the times,” Star Trek and its numerous spin-offs never really embraced a regular gay character.
Oh sure, you’ll find our space heroes befriending, sexing up or killing off genderbending entities, yet none of them are ever allowed to get comfortable on the bridge. I always hated those episodes.
There comes a time when these symbols and suggestions no longer cut it.
Although science fiction (and the realms of horror and fantasy) has been embraced by gay culture, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence that gay life can be supported in outer space.
Apparently sci-fi fanatics have been badgering the minds behind the Star Trek franchise to include a full-on, straightforward, no bones about it, gayer than the day is long regular character. Even performers like Billy Shatner and Patrick Stewart have expressed a need for more inclusiveness.
Still, it seems a nameless, shapeless being behind the scenes will never let that happen. I suppose the upcoming remake will take us where we have been far too many times already.
So what is it that we are able to identify with? What is it that holds our fascination? I am going to make the not-entirely-original claim that we (or at least I) have a tendency to see ourselves as the outsiders.
Sci-fi often involves a conflict between the known world (human life and experience) against an unknown force. It is these “others” that often become the antagonist. While I yearn to be an out and fabulous captain of a starship, I feel more like the eight-legged cyclops renegade soldier from the Planet Pootar.
Although fictional space seems to be void of thriving gay life, there have been some notable exceptions in recent years. Torchwood, involving a bisexual action hero lead and a gaggle of sexually free cohorts, came as a nice surprise. Battlestar Galactica included a relationship between two women (although one shoots the other and then blows herself up) and two men (although one gets his ass blown away by firing squad).
Somehow, somewhere The Rocky Horror Show came drifting through the cosmos. Here, all the homoeroticism and campy joy of B-movie heaven shone for all to see. It would prove to be one of the most influential films I have ever seen.
All this sci-fi soul searching leads me to one undeniable truth. I do believe I’m getting closer to figuring out just who and what I am. I am a geek.
Aside from even a remote understanding of mathematics and technology, I am pretty sure I qualify.
My first meet-up with my Battlestar group was nothing more than quick coffee with fellow aficionados. I could not tell if any of the boys present were gay or not.
Who knows? Love just might bloom over talk of organic memory transfer and cybernetic humanoid construction.
The gay geek will often forgo a night of social networking and clubbing in favour of a good DVD, a few handfuls of Smarties, a collection of downloaded porn and a vat of moisturizing cream.
However, I am not so sure these ingredients make for a full, satisfying existence.
It is high time I found a fellow dork to replace the moisturizing cream. Is there intelligent gay life out there?