You can search online and easily find commentaries about the lack of gay male characters in science fiction. I have tremendous respect for Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), so it did not surprise me that he took a risk and allowed a central male character in Caprica to be gay. That character (played by Sasha Roiz from 2012’s episode name Extracted) was a masculine and aggressively violent character. There were never any attempts to make this gay male character in science fiction into a stereotypical cliché. Too bad that this prequel to Battlestar Galactica on SyFy got cancelled before the series could be fully realized over several seasons.
Masculine and Aggressive
When I wrote my gay science fiction time travel novel, Baja Clavius: Moon Men Deep Inside, I deliberately wrote masculine and aggressive gay male characters. Because I am a gay man, I really would like to be as accepting of all gay men as possible–no matter what their traits might be. But, I find that after many years of field experience, I do not care much for flamboyant or effeminate gay males in either real life or in fiction.
My gay male characters are depicted as having sex with one another. They just are not stereotypical clichés. In fact, my gay male characters represent the bara genre, written by gay men for gay men, depicting gay male, same-sex feelings and sexual identity of masculine, muscular men who sometimes behave in aggressive, violent, or exploitative ways towards one another. I would choose to hang out with that kind of gay male any day of my life. I also happen to believe that, from a gay writer’s point of view, that kind of gay male character is science fiction is far more worth the time and effort. So much of the gay romances that you can find in print, on television, or in films come across as just one more stereotypical cliché.
Moral Codes and Sexual Behaviors
When I wrote Baja Clavius, I decided to jump right into writing about how I think the moral codes and sexual behaviors of gay males a couple of hundred years from now might look like to us here in the 21st century. I had a lot of fun writing about this futuristic speculation and I believe that readers will enjoy it, too.
The story in my novel concerns a ruthless agency that manipulates time to make sure yesterday turns out the way it was supposed to. They have a secret base deep inside the moon from which the agency sends young gay men on time travel missions to change history by using sensual tactics to gain power and control over men. So, by definition, these gay male characters in science fiction are ruthless and manipulative guys.
Sure, my gay male characters like sex with men, but my gay male characters are not all flowery and romantic in the boy-meets-boy-and-falls-in-love kind of stereotypical cliché stories you can find everywhere. I think in real life that after the stigma of being a gay male fades from cultures around this planet, there will follow a change in moral codes and sexual behaviors. Today it most likely would be considered immoral and wrong for any gay man to manipulate another man sexually. In the fictional universe I created the employer (secret agency on the moon) specifically required this kind of sexual manipulation as part of the time travel agents’ jobs. But, in the 21st century, such gay male behaviors is seen in a negative light.
Languages change over time and perhaps a couple of hundred years from today there will no longer be words in everyday use such as gay or homosexual or straight or heterosexual. However, I expect that male sexual behavior is not likely to change over the next few centuries. There will always be men who function well in sexual contact with other men and who are credible and convincing in such sexual contact. Men develop skills and talents to enable them to functions well, credibly and convincing in sex with other men. In the fictional universe I created for Baja Clavius: Moon Men Deep Inside the time travel agency (MMDI) only hires men to travel in time whose skills and talents enable them to functions well, credibly and convincing in sex with other men. Men like this can pretend to enjoy having sex with females by fantasizing during sex that they are with a man rather than a woman. Such a simple trick is one that gay men of today learn from personal experience whenever they are concealing their true sexual orientation.
In contrast, men in the fictional universe I created who have skills and talents that enable them to be credible and convincing in sexual behaviors with women are not be hired by the agency. This is because of the mission-critical need for time travel agents while they are in the past to manipulate men sexually. A man (regardless of the words used to describe him) who is unable to function well, credibly and convincing in sex with other men would have varying degrees of difficulty in man-with-man sexual activities. The need is for a time travel agent to be 100% functional, credible and convincing in his sexual activities in man-with-man intimacy. Any difficulties a straight man has with man-with-man sex would ensure that the mission he was on would fail.
Gene Roddenberry, who created Star Trek used to talk about avoiding depicting how he really thought people from Captain Kirk’s time would be in terms of their moral codes or sexual behaviors for fear of turning off the audience in the 1960s. In fact, Roddenberry took every opportunity to depict Kirk in sexual encounters with many different females, which during Roddenberry’s lifetime was a sure sign that a man is macho and worthy of admiration. There were no gay male characters in Star Trek during the 1960s, but even in retrospect, nobody should find that surprising given that era’s emphasis upon the desirability of straight male conquest of straight women.
I’m happy to have received feedback from readers who thanked me for writing about masculine gay characters instead of the other, more prevalent, kind. I hope you will read Baja Claviusso you can enjoy a decent break from stereotypical clichés.
Conflicting and Opposing Male Impulses
Baja Clavius: Moon Men Deep Inside explores conflicting and opposing compulsions that all men have whether they are gay or not. On one side there are impulses men have towards sustaining life, engaging in love, and being attracted to others. In the opposing direction are impulses men have towards being aggressive, engaging in violence, and, causing pain and death.
For centuries, artists and storytellers around the world have found inspiration in these two opposing human compulsions that no man is able to resist or impede merely by his conscious will alone. I happen to believe very strongly that just because you may be a gay man, your sexual orientation is not a reason for you to deny and submerge your natural male impulses towards being aggressive, engaging in violence, and, causing pain and death.
I will share one little secret with you: All the males that I have ever met in my entire life (whether they were gay or not) have shown me both sides of these classic conflicting and opposing compulsions. So, this may explain why I won’t waste my time with the sweet and innocent gay male characters who are created by writers only to reveal one-sided impulses towards sustaining life, engaging in life, and being attracted to other men.