It’s June, and quite apart from it being warm and summery (at least in my part of the world) it is also Pride Month! Star Trek has a long history of racial inclusivity, from the earliest series onwards but the first main characters canonically portrayed as being a part of the LGBTQ community are Dr Hugh Culber and Lt. Paul Stamets on Discovery. Not that queerness hasn’t existed within the Star Trek universe before, it has, but portrayals of it are few and far between.
But which of those portrayals is your favourite? Let’s start with Culber and Stamets in Discovery; their personal home life is regularly shown in the series (one of my favourite scenes in the whole of Discovery is the one where the two of them are brushing their teeth) and I think we can all agree that they are an excellent example of representation.
What about Adira Tal in the latest series of Discovery? They are non-binary and came out to the aforementioned Stamets in one episode, preferring they/them pronouns. I thought this was an outstanding example of embracing the current shifts in thought and representing them on screen.
I know it’s passe to mention the JJverse in SB118, but I couldn’t let this poll pass without at least mentioning the existence of Hikaru Sulu’s sexuality in that adaptation. Or at least in Beyond, in which he’s shown happily embracing a same-sex partner (a kiss, however, apparently fell to the cutting room floor).
Finally, I will briefly pass over the small instances of LGBT inclusion in the older series. We had the genderless species of the J’Naii in The Outcast episode of The Next Generation. The focus of this episode was on Soren, who felt distinctly female, even admitting an attraction to William Riker (and having an affair with him). You had instances of bisexuality occurring frequently in Trill storylines; Dr Crusher and Odan in The Host, Dax and Kahn in Rejoined to name two, as well as Mirror Kira being romantically involved with Ezri in Deep Space 9.
Do you have other instances you’d like to discuss? Are there portrayals that aren’t good? Let us know what you think!
Which was the best portrayal of the LGBTQ community in Star Trek?