I’d also heard that it was hard to get gay/lesbian/trans characters on TV back then, because they were still so entrenched in network garbage and had to make compromises. I doubt that was the only reason, but, it didn’t help.
I remember in Babylon 5, the second-in-command Ivanova fell in love and slept with another of the main characters, the commercial telepath Talia. They never showed the kiss on-screen, they just showed the morning after, and later, Ivanova talking about how she she loved her. But, of course, almost immediately after the Kill Your Gays trope seemingly kicked in and Talia died - the actress apparently wanted off the show and so they accelerated it and then concluded it.
“We had it growing since the very first episode of the first season. The relationship was about all of that mutual antagonism that really means they’re attracted.” Regarding a kiss that was never showed, Michael J. Straczynski added: “I didn’t show a kiss because, in my experience, it’s easier on all around if one steps into the shallow end of the pool first, and walks into the deep end rather than diving in and splashing everybody in the process.”
So, sucks that they didn’t push boundaries on that front, like Trek did with the first interracial kiss on TV. Hard to tell what the hell he meant by “splashing everybody in the process” - was he afraid of the network, or was he afraid of turning off audiences?
Also, it’s never been directly stated why Talia’s actress Andrea Thompson left. Maybe she didn’t want to do a part like that? I wonder if it was a fear back then that actresses that played lesbian or bi characters would get typecast or something. Could’ve been anything.
Christian suggested in several interviews that if Thompson hadn’t decided to leave the show, the relationship would have been developed further, over a longer period of time. Because Thompson wished to leave, it was escalated relatively suddenly and brought to an end in Divided Loyalties.
“I think that if Andrea Thompson had not left, we would have definitely explored the relationship further. That was the intention, but because she wanted to get out, we had to wrap it up quickly” (SFX, July 1997).
Both actors spoke positively about the relationship. Christian told The Official Babylon 5 Magazine (Dec 1997):
“I’ll be quite honest, I was like the lesbian poster child; I got a lot of people writing to me from the armed forces and so forth, who loved the fact that they thought I was going to be gay. I’m not gay in real life, and I don’t think I’m gay on the show, but I definitely think she had some kind of thing with Talia. I think a lot of gay women were hoping for that, and I didn’t want to disappoint them; I thought it would be fun… Then Andrea left the show, so that’s why it never came to fruition. The only reason it didn’t go further is because we had to get rid of the character because Andrea wanted to leave. It could have been a long relationship.”
In Signs and Portents, she described the bar scene in the first episode:
“I think it was good in showing [Ivanova’s] very tough facade slowly etched away by this person who has such insistence in talking to her. It was one of the nicer moments in Babylon 5, one of the most tender. And it was heavily laced with sexual overtones when we were shooting it because Andrea and I were just joking around so much”.