Gene Roddenberry told The Advocate in 1991 that gay crew members would been included in the fifth season of TNG. Unfortunately, he died later that year and Star Trek has yet to put an openly gay character on any of its television or film series. The reason for the lack of gay characters and content in Star Trek has been of great debate; however, this article will focus on one gay person’s experience and the role Star Trek has played in his life.
I should begin by saying that I am not a ‘Trekkie’ by any stretch of the imagination. I loved watching TNG growing up and have recently started watching some of the other series since joining the fleet. However, I am not really interested in the continuity of the series, movies, books, and comics. Nor do I have any clue what the science is that Star Trek ‘technobable’ is based on. Yet, I would argue that I appreciate and love Star Trek in ways that even the most dedicated Trekkie couldn’t begin to.
Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s there was not a lot of LGBT-themed content in pop culture. The content that did exist was most often detrimental to the social and psychological development of queer kids, most often, showing LGBT characters as victims, promiscuous, diseased, troubled or villainous. However, many LGBT kids and teens stumbled upon other series that gave us hope and less obvious, but more positive, role models. The two that appealed to me (and many other LGBT youth) growing up were the X-men and Star Trek series.