Unfortunately, over the past two years I have noted an increase in homophobic undertones in Doctor Who since Steven Moffat took over as Head Writer and Executive Producer. It was not always like this, however, prior to that the show had come a long way in displaying homosexuality in a very positive manner.
Let’s start with kissing! One recurring thing throughout both writers tenure is same-sex kissing, but the take is completely different.
This first clip is from the Davies’ Era of Who, in the episode, The Parting of the Ways. It is actually not the first kiss between two men on the series, as that took place in the story, The Ribos Operation, during the 16th season. It is, however, the first same-sex ever happening to the character of The Doctor.
As one can plainly see, it is not portrayed as something to be ashamed of. It’s sensual, caring and expressive of the characters during this particular scene on how they really feel – not fear is visible.
This next clip, however, from Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, is far different both in context and in it’s display of acceptability. I have several issues with this particular clip.
The Eleventh Doctor is noted for being portrayed as alien-like and strange in behavior and characteristics, a difference from the Ninth and especially the Tenth Doctors who were portrayed as much more like a person. The act of kissing is also initiated by The Doctor. What does that mean in my opinion? Because The Doctor is portrayed as strange and alien-like, the act of two men kissing is associated with the person (The Doctor) who initiated this act. Furthermore, after The Doctor kisses Rory, it can be noted that Rory’s face contorts into one of disgust.
The next three clips are in regards to the characters of Madame Vastra & her assistant, house maid, and wife, Jenny Flint. The first is from A Good Man Goes To War:
This particular interaction seems to have underlying themes of homophobia:
JENNY: Clever, isn’t he?
VASTRA: And rather attractive.
JENNY: You do realize he’s a man, don’t you, ma’am?
VASTRA: Mammals. They all look alike.
JENNY: Oh, thank you.
It suggests there that an “attractive” and “clever” man can convert Vastra into a heterosexual again, which I find very problematic. It’s simply not possible, and it’s of extreme ignorance.
This next clip from The Snowmen is equally alarming in presentation:
When the foe, Dr Simeon, confronts Madame Vastra and Jenny regarding their relationship, it puts these characters on the defensive. In the 1880s, it was not acceptable for women to vote (i.e. Susan B. Anthony) and so this forces these characters to live in a constant state of defensiveness about their relationship. It’s not just a matter of including LGBT characters into a TV show that matters, but also having their display being taken as acceptable by the characters around them. In this case, it is clearly not acceptable, and so these characters are being displayed as strange and weird, making a direct statement on homosexual relationships. It’s degrading and uncalled for in a show being shown to children all across the UK.
Again, here is the Prequel, Vastra Investigates:
The reaction by the inspector towards their relationship is again made clear. He’s afraid of them. He doesn’t understand. He finds it strange. That’s the commentary being made towards same-sex relationships in this clip.
The next three clips is from the TV series, Torchwood, which features the character of Captain Jack Harkness:
This scene is actually my favorite one of all time within the Doctor Who universe. It’s absolutely beautiful and charming. It displays the utmost acceptability of homosexual relationships, as it doesn’t acknowledge that it was unlikely that their behavior would be considered even acceptable, yet still is displayed as such to modern audiences.
This next clip is from Torchwood‘s Series 2 episode, Adrift:
I love it. The last one is from the episode, To the Last Man:
The next two scripts display the two different styles being attributed to characters in Doctor Who. The first is from Midnight, during the Russell T Davies Era:
No, it’s just me.
Oh, I’ve done plenty of that. Travelling on my own. I love it. Do what you want! Go anywhere!
No, I’m still getting used to it. I’ve… found myself single rather recently, not by choice.
Oh, the usual. She needed her own space, as they say. A different galaxy, in fact. I reckon that’s enough space, don’t you?
Yeah… I had a friend who went to a different universe.
The next one is from A Good Man Goes to War during the Steven Moffat Era:
But why are they called the Headless Monks? They can’t really be headless?
YOUNG FEMALE SOLDIER:
They believe the domain of faith is the heart, and the domain of doubt is the head. They follow their hearts…that’s all.
You’re Lorna Bucket, aren’t you?
I’m the thin one, this is my husband he’s the fat one.
Don’t you have names?
We’re the thin, fat, gay, married, Anglican marines. Why would we need names as well? (sees monks standing behind LORNA) Oh! Looks like I’m off! Time for my conversion tutorial. See you in a bit. (leaves with monks) Do you lot have Lent?! Cos I’m not good at giving things up…
The one clear point seen is that in Midnight, Sky’s sexuality is treated as entirely inconsequential. The Doctor is clearly shown to relate to Sky’s experience in some manner. However, in A Good Man Goes To War, the Angelican Marines are treated as difficult to understand their surroundings, removed of their individual identities by being lumped into “the thin, fat, gay Angelican marines” who aren’t worthy of individual names or identities. It’s very shameful and accepting to treat homosexuals in such a jovial manner, esp. in this case regarding gay marriage.