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Kate by the Ocean

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Star Trek Shock Lesbian Love Affair

THE VENICE HERALD can exclusively reveal that Star Trek Voyager leading ladies Kate Mulgrew, and Jeri Ryan, who star as Captain Kathryn Janeway and her sexy robotic protégé Seven of Nine in the Gene Roddenberry spin-off saga which airs on UPN on Sunday night and weekday nights have been in a romantic relationship since meeting on the set of the pioneering Paramount Pictures series.

Photographed together holding hands, bathing and later having apparent sexual relations on a private stretch of Los Angeles beach late on Saturday night, the two women were unavailable for comment last night and are understood to be returning to their scheduled filming obligations this Monday morning despite some public commentators questioning their suitability to continue starring in this pre-watershed Paramount hit.

While Mulgrew, 43, a divorcee is not believed to have a current partner, Jeri Ryan has been married to her husband Jack Ryan for eight years.

"These women are bringing the sanctity of marriage between man and woman into disrepute, "commented Republican Congresswoman Tabatha Peterson in response to the news of homosexuality within the ranks of a prime-time television cast, "The Star Trek franchise is openly promoting homosexuality by allowing these women to remain employed."

The Congresswoman's sentiments are echoed by many including Voyager co-producer Rick Berman, a veteran producer of the Trek franchise, who today released a statement saying, "Ryan and Mulgrew's actions do not reflect the morality of the family values which the Star Trek franchise has always endeavoured to relate to viewers over its thirty year history. The indecent behaviour of these actresses has brought disrepute upon the franchise."

Berman later added that he would be personally investigating what he dubbed the "incident on the secluded beach", by requesting individual interviews with both Mulgrew and Ryan and their legal representation, along with the studios own.

But despite the criticism and accusations of indecency these two actresses have received from both the public and media spectators, they have also received strong words of support from many within the Star Trek family itself.

Actress and widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, Majel Roddenberry, who lends her voice as the starship Voyager's computer, today appeared before cameramen stating, "My late husband would be furious at the abuse these two brave and beautiful women have received from media and from spectators. And he would be appalled by the disgraceful words of Mr Berman. I myself am appalled and disassociate myself entirely from this man's blatant and cruel homophobia."

Roddenberry refused to comment on the alleged meeting between legal representatives of Ryan and Mulgrew, and of Paramount Studios which Berman had announced, adding only, "It is my dearest wish that the studio will treat these two women with a decency and humanity which Berman has not."

Robert McNeill, a second actor to who stars alongside Ryan and Mulgrew on the bridge of the Starship Voyager, became angry after he and his wife were approached by reporters last night to comment on the news of his lesbian co-stars, and responded to the incident with words of support.

"Leave them alone. They are adults. And my wife and I wish them all the best. Kate and Jeri have our full support."

Similar words of solidarity were echoed by actor Robert Picardo, who plays Voyager's holographic doctor, and Ethan Phillips, who plays an eccentric alien friend of the Voyager crew, who each gave separate statements insisting that each of their fellow actresses had their full respect and support.

The gay and lesbian community in Los Angeles have also responded to the news of Ryan and Mulgrew's romance with an outpouring of support and welcome.

Tessa Davies, the elected manager of the Los Angeles Lesbian Forum, an organisation which supports and promotes lesbian rights and well-being across the city and more widely across the state of California, commented, "We want the Star Trek actresses Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan to know that they have our full support and our friendship. They will never be alone in their battle against homophobia or sexism."

Davies added, "We, along with our friends and partners among other charities and organisations which protect women and the lesbian and gay community from abuse at the hands of the media, employers and the government, are willing to mobilise should Ryan and Mulgrew require more urgent support. We will not tolerate the abuse or public humiliation of any gay man or woman within this great state of California."

The Los Angeles Lesbian Forum, along with other related organisations both in California and beyond, including the GayLesbian Alliance of San Francisco, with the help of their donors, have also been quick to offer financial and legal support to the two actresses in their battle to retain their reputations and employment.

Star Trek Voyager is the first among the Star Trek franchise to star a woman, Kate Mulgrew, as Captain.

The revelation of Ryan and Mulgrew's secret lesbian romance and the subsequent social and political implications are extraordinary events which may be symptomatic of the American traditionalist way of life at odds with American modern living.

The Venice Herald has a long tradition of supporting lesbian and gay rights in this great city of Los Angeles and beyond.

Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan have The Venice Herald's full support.