Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Doctor Who And The Gay Agenda

Usually when you attach the sentence 'Doctor Who and the gay agenda', it's usually some miserable so and so whinging about the inclusion of LGBT characters in the series, accusing the show of trying to be PC. As a gay man, I'm pleased to see it because usually the characters actually add something to the mix and their sexuality isn't the be all and end of all of them.

Russell T. Davies provided plenty of LGBT characters over the course of his four season reign - Cassandra, Jake, Alonso, granny couple from Gridlock, Sky Silvestry as well as Jack and Ianto at different points in the series and while Steven Moffat's first year didn't seem to have any, it's interesting and quite pleasing his second year running the series has featured some. Opening two-parter, The Impossible Astronaut/Day Of The Moon gave us the absolutely excellent, Canton Everett Delware III, whose sexuality was alluded to in the first part and confirmed in the second part when Nixon denied him the right to marry his partner, who also happened to be black. I love the way that some fans ranted about this being another attempt of being PC but it's comments like this that highlight the importance to occasionally include an LGBT character into the mix and Canton was by far, one of the best the show has given us. Companion material if I ever saw any.
A Good Man Goes To War however gave us what will be known as the most discussion lesbian couple on TV this year. Sorry Brittana, but you've been usurped by Victorian Silurian (and eater of Jack The Ripper) Madame Vastra and her maid girlfriend, Jenny (no, not that one), who easily took down two clerics and also had moments of smuttiness ("She is definitely a girl", tongue lashing) but more than that, they were two fully formed characters. Vastra herself had previously tried to wreck vengeance on humanity, only for the Doctor to show her the error of her ways. Vastra clearly also had enough of a friendship with the Doctor, considering that she knew a lot about Time Lords and broached the possibility of Melody not being human before the Doctor considered the possibility himself. Jenny too was no spare part as she tried to comfort Amy upon Kovarian's success in snatching Melody. Plus, never mind being a lesbian couple - Vastra and Jenny were an inter-species one and while that's not exactly a first for Doctor Who, it does seem more noteworthy than past ones, right? Plus, I was far from shocked with the rapturous response these two ladies have gotten. I also want to see them again.

Less focused on but still delightful in A Good Man Goes To War was the married, gay, Anglican marine couple, oddly called the Fat One and Thin One. While Thin One largely interacted with Lorna Bucket to see how much she knew about the Doctor, Fat One ended up losing his head by the Headless Monks. Some of the most subtle but effective bits of acting in this episode was Thin One's tearful reaction when he discovered his husband had now become a Headless Monk and that's not including the obvious commentary of a gay married couple in both a religious and military order either. You have to hand it to Moff, the fact that he managed to slip in five memorable gay characters in the three episodes he's scribed so far for Season 6 has been an amazing feat. I hope that bodes well for the second half of the season.

You might find it odd that I'm including River in the article as well but the reason I am is apart from her obvious love story with the Doctor, there's been allusions in the series that River, like a certain Time Agent has a fluid sexuality. Femslash with her and Amy might be ruined now but we've seen River openly admitting to fancying everyone in her expedition (except Lux) in Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead and in The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang, she wasn't shy in mentioning that she had previous relations with a Nestene duplicate as well. Maybe that is a 51st century thing though but either way, it's another in a long list of reasons to love River Song.

And then there's Jack Harkness. Never mind Torchwood or anything else (or anyone else) whose breathed life into the character since 2005. Steven Moffat was the first person to introduce the character and he did that superbly in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. I loved the nonchalant way he did, not making Jack's bisexuality/omnisexuality a big issue but getting the message across in a clear, effective manner nonetheless. Moffat has also mentioned in recent interviews that he wants to bring Jack back into the show and hopefully at some point, he will do. The truth of the matter is that for all the whinging certain fans do about LGBT characters, the thing is that they've provided more good and no harm to Doctor Who and it's not like the Classic Series wasn't devoid of LGBT/camp moments as well. Long may 'the gay agenda' reign!

LGBT Guide To Doctor Who: http://www.nyder.com/stuff/whosqueer.html

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