Getting Crap Slash Past the Radar

Reading homosexual subtext into Star Trek is a venerable pastime which, I’m not ashamed to say, I take part in enthusiastically. It adds a particular richness to the stories, and realism too; would all these 23rd-century people really be so straight and, well, vanilla?

When it comes to Deep Space Nine my favourite male pairing is O’Brien and Bashir, but I have to admit there’s much more potential in Garak/Bashir. @jordanclaire pointed me towards the Tumblr Fuck Yeah Garak/Bashir, which is a vast trove of homoerotic moments. Like this scene, their first meeting:

“As you may also know, I have a clothing shop nearby, so if you should require any apparel, or merely wish, as I do, for a bit of enjoyable company now and then, I’m at your disposal, Doctor.”

COULD. THIS. SCENE. BE. MORE. GAY. (Read “The Queer Cardassian” for a more articulate take.)

And as it turns out, it was fully intentional. See TVTropes (under “Live Action Television”) for sources. Garak/Bashir shipper crowdog66 summarizes,

Little known fact: the scene was deliberately played by both actors with a homosexual subtext, which was fully supported by one of the show’s writers. Unfortunately Viacom had all kinds of fits at the idea, so it was cut out (at least officially), but Alexander Siddig was originally quite chuffed about being part of Star Trek’s first officially gay relationship and Andrew Robinson continued to play Garak as pansexual for (IIRC) the entire run of the series. 🙂

It’s reminiscent of that bit in The Celluloid Closet where Gore Vidal recounts how he introduced a gay subtext into the 1959 Charlton Heston epic Ben-Hur—but without Heston knowing:

We’ve now seen canon gay relationships in Buffy, Torchwood and Doctor Who. Will the rebooted Star Trek movies include anything more than subtext? Given the franchise’s past stodginess I doubt it, but one can always hope. And, in the meanwhile, ship.