Will
Battlestar Galactica's Lt. Felix Gaeta come
out?

Will
                Battlestar Galactica's Lt. Felix Gaeta       come
            out?

Queer fans of
Battlestar Galactica, the Sci-Fi
Channel’s postapocalyptic drama chronicling the
struggles of a human race to find earth after a group
of machines called the Cylons destroyed their home
planets, have noticed one thing missing from the
series: a gay character. To the casual viewer it should seem
odd that a fictional universe founded on postgender
ideology like Galactica would shy away from pushing
that cultural hot button—considering the show
includes such progressive characters as Laura Roslin,
who becomes a woman president (presumably not the
first) after the attack on their home world, with no one
questioning her leadership. Similarly,
Galactica’s captain, Lee
“Apollo” Adama, unabashedly becomes a sex
object for viewers whenever he struts his
six-pack in a tiny towel that always seems to
malfunction when the camera is on. The show also conveys a
decidedly liberal bias in often criticizing the war in
Iraq and the Bush administration in general. For
example, this season’s opening episode found
the humans under a Cylon occupation, being forced to
understand the Cylon culture’s concept of god
and religion while rebelling and killing Cylon soldiers.
Whatever the reasons for not playing the gay
card, allow me to speculate who among the
Galactica spaceship crew may be hiding in the
intergalactic closet. I’m betting it’s Lt.
Felix Gaeta (Alessandro Juliani), the tactical officer
on board who has been giving Cylon collaborator Gaius
Baltar the sexy eye for a long time. I’m calling
it now since we're on the verge of the season finale
and the show has made it clear his subplot
is going to deal with a secret he’s harboring.
But I’m not the first to wager on
Gaeta’s sexuality. During a radio interview in
Portland, Ore., Galactica lead Katee
Sackhoff, who plays the masculine Starbuck, was asked which
character on the show she thought was gay. Sackhoff
responded, “We think it’s Gaeta.…
The blooper reel from every single season has Gaeta always
hitting on someone [who is] a man.”
My gaydar first went off during season 1 when a
Cylon agent in disguise told the fleet that Baltar was
responsible for the attack on the home world,
furnishing a photograph depicting him bombing a military
base. Asked to authenticate the photo, Gaeta found
himself befriended by Baltar, who approached Gaeta in
the restroom and whispered how much he appreciated his
help in trying to clear his name. Gaeta’s response?
“Thank you, doctor. You have no idea how much that
means to me.”
Up until that moment, Gaeta’s admiration
for Baltar—having studied genetics in college,
he was a strong admirer of the doctor’s work in
genetic engineering—seemed innocent. But this
encounter suggested he had more of a crush on him.
Later, after the photograph appeared to be real
and Baltar was convicted of treason, Gaeta comes
rushing to him in his prison cell to tell him the
photo was fake after all, and that he’s able to prove
it by running additional tests on it. When Baltar
thanks him, and asks him why he would go out of his
way to help him, Gaeta responds, “I just knew you
could never have anything to do with that
attack.” Mm hmm.
Another moment that made me question
Gaeta’s sexuality was during season 2’s
presidential run between President Laura Roslin and Baltar.
Roslin, who was desperate not to let Baltar win the
presidency, tried to rig the election, only to be
foiled when Gaeta noticed some of the ballots were
invalid because Baltar’s name was misspelled. Baltar
ended up winning the election, and Gaeta left colonial
duty to become his right-hand man, where he carried
out all of Baltar’s questionable decisions.
Most recently, in this season Gaeta was seen
tossing and turning in bed after Baltar was imprisoned
again for treason, and he eventually goes to visit
Baltar in the middle of the night. By this point, every
character on the series has realized that Baltar has been
collaborating with the Cylons and offer him no
sympathy. But not Gaeta—refused entry by the
prison guard, he is obviously heartbroken and walks away
with his head down. As the episode progresses, Baltar
begins to mock Gaeta on a secret he knows about him.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that Gaeta
is the only character on Battlestar Galactica to lack
a romantic counterpart. Sure, he’s danced and
talked with some of the fleet’s girls on
occasion, but these interactions were mere seconds long, and
nothing in them suggested anything more than
superficial interest. The only character he has formed
any kind of relationship with is Baltar.
Gaeta has been a background character for much
of the series and has never had a plot centered around
him. Now that he is stepping into the spotlight with
his secret-related subplot, I’m guessing much is
going to be revealed about him in the coming weeks.

Maybe the secret
has nothing to do with his sexuality. But if the writers
blow over all these hints in favor of revealing Gaeta as a
Cylon agent sent to help Baltar during his trials, I
for one will be extremely disappointed. The
writers have the opportunity to play the gay card in a
way that isn't flashy or a cry for media attention.
Battlestar Galactica is the first series on
television that makes it a point to say that sex and
gender aren't important. Having a gay character and
not making his sexuality a big deal would be
groundbreaking.

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