Making Gray “Truly Seen” In ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 4 Is “Hugely Important,” Says Showrunner

June is Pride Month, a celebration and recognition of the LGBTQ+ community. This inclusiveness has been a big part of Star Trek: Discovery since it began, and there’s more in store in the upcoming fourth season.

Making Gray seen

Over the weekend LGBTQ+ members of the cast and crew of Star Trek: Discovery took part in Outfest with a pre-recorded virtual panel featuring co-showrunner Michelle Paradise and cast members Anthony Rapp, Wilson Cruz, Blu del Barrio, Ian Alexander, and Tig Notaro. One of the issues discussed was how the trans character of Gray (Alexander) was introduced by being killed off and then only visible for the rest of the season to his partner Adira (del Barrio). Alexander said he was reluctant at first until he saw where things were headed on the show:

With my character, I know that I was concerned when I read the script and saw that Gray dies minutes into being introduced. But I really, really did like how it became this sort of this bonding moment between him and Adira. And Adira’s love for Gray is so strong that they are able to save him. Gray is able to live on in his own way and they both really help each other through this sort of difficult time.

Alexander’s comment could indicate that in season four, this connection with Adira is the key to making Gray seen by others. Michelle Paradise later confirmed that making Gray seen is part of the upcoming season:

Culber does make a promise in our season three finale to Gray that “you will be truly seen.” And we absolutely do pay that off in season four. It’s very much going the opposite direction of the trope [Ian mentioned about trans characters]… That storyline and making sure we pay it off is hugely important.

Making a new family

In season three, we saw Anthony Rapp’s character Paul Stamets take the young Adira under his wing. During the panel, the actor talked about how Stamets, Hugh, Adira, and Gray form a new kind of family:

Parenting – they’re not children but they are young people – the pressures of how to be available to be a mentor or guide or parent in the face of job responsibilities and sort of crises, that’s an interesting sort of sub-thread through the through the season… There’s more in the ways Paul and Hugh continue to evolve in their relationship is this certainly explored also in this season.

Cruz chimed in on the same idea:

Paul and Hugh have created a chosen family this season. It has been interesting to be a daddy all of a sudden.

Blu del Barrio noted how the real-world relationship between these actors mirrors the one on screen:

[Anthony and Hugh] are my dads, and Tig is who I want to grow up to be… It’s incredible to have both of you with us so much of the time because it’s like a massive blessing as well with all of the work that you’ve done throughout your lives, with your job with your community with everything that you’ve done. to have you as mentors is unreal.

They also talked about how honored they have been to have fans of the show who are parents to LGBTQ+ kids reach out:

I haven’t met any fans in person yet because of the pandemic. But I have gotten a lot of messages, not only from trans and non-binary kids, but from parents. It was the most mind-blowing thing for me to receive messages from parents who are like, “I’m cis, but my kid just came out to me, and we watch the show and we watch these characters and we just want to say thank you for that and making something that we’re able to see and show them and show ourselves.” That’s just really insane to me.

Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber, Ian Alexander as Gray and Blu del Barrio as Adira in “The Hope That is You, Part 2”

Making queer characters heroes too

Responding to a question on what makes Discovery different in how it portrays LGBTQ+ characters, Anthony Rapp said:

I’m just not sure that we’ve seen that many queer characters be so repeatedly heroic in the ways in which our characters are doing. That being centered and being part of the solution to literally save the universe. It’s not that it was necessarily a trope otherwise, but it just didn’t really exist to my mind.

Wilson Cruz backed that up and also mentioned the importance of Culber’s return from-the-dead storyline in season two:

I think that is absolutely true that we get to be the heroes of our own stories. We see LGBTQ+ people as part of the solution. I will that we did a pretty great job of burying the “burying your gays” trope. I think we put a nice big marker on it and it’s gone. Don’t do that anymore! And I am really proud of that. I love how detailed it was and how we used it to tell the story about resilience and how this person can rebuild from a trauma by reaching out. And that love is what saves you.

Anthony Rapp as Stamets and Wilson Cruz as Culber in “The Red Angel”

Notaro shooting all her episodes at once

In May we reported that Tig Notaro had arrived in Toronto to reprise her role as Jett Reno in season four. It looks like this panel was recorded around that same time as she can be seen in the same hotel room and she said she hadn’t started shooting yet. In fact, the following exchange with the moderator indicated she may be shooting her episodes in a special way:

Notaro: You are talking to the one who hasn’t even filmed their season yet – not a single episode. It’s all going to be crammed in two weeks. I feel sorry for the directors.

Moderator: Tig, is this just a thing where you are starting to record all of your projects separately.

Notaro: [Laughs] Yes. My whole career is me being placed in or cut out very quickly.

Notaro was most recently seen in the film Army of the Dead, where she shot all her scenes after production had ended, with her part replacing another actor and being inserted into the film. It’s possible that Notaro isn’t just in Toronto to shoot some of the later episodes of Discovery season four. Late last year the actress said producers wanted her for episodes earlier in the season as well, but she wanted to limit her travel time to Toronto during the pandemic due to health reasons. So, it’s possible that while she is in Toronto, Notaro could be shooting some pickup scenes that can be inserted into earlier episodes, as indicated by her comment, “I feel sorry for the directors.” Usually, it takes two weeks to shoot a single episode of Discovery.

Stamets got a promotion

One extra detail from the panel, as Anthony Rapp was introducing himself he let a little thing slip, saying:

I am Anthony Rapp… and I have the pleasure of playing Lieutenant Commander – and now Commander – sorry, is that a spoiler? – Paul Stamets.

When the season four teaser was released in April it appeared to show that some will pass between season three and season four. This helps explain the new uniforms, but also a number of characters in the teaser were seen with new ranks, including Tilly, Detmer, and Owo. And it appears Stamets has also bumped up. This gives him the same rank as Jett Reno, who is likely the chief engineer on the ship. With Michael Burnham now in command of the USS Discovery, it’s likely Paul Stamets is now in charge of the science division for the ship.

Tig Notaro as Jett Reno and Anthony Rapp as Lt. Paul Stamets in “Die Trying”

 


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Uh huh… And are they just going to be ‘the gays’ hanging out in the corner doing their own thing? Or are they going to interact with the rest of the crew in any significant ways? I’m already wary of what they’ll do with Stamets now that the Spore Drive has likely taken a backseat, and he’s not even the only one that can pilot it anymore. Half expecting him to just be there for the Gay-Team, and the Gay plots. Feels like they just don’t know what to do with them anymore, as actual people, and now they’re just tokens (Stamets and Culber anyway).

I also don’t like the idea of grouping Adira and Gray with them. Yeah yeah, you can choose your family, but because they’ve specifically chosen to create this queer family from a production standpoint, it’s hard to make it feel natural, that these kids have been taken under Stamets and Culbers wings, and just happen to be one flavor of queer or another. And because of that, it’s hard for it not to feel like they’ve created this safe space for them to be queer, when that shouldn’t be necessary in the future. It’s the same kind of issue I had with Adira ‘coming out’. It shouldn’t even be necessary to include at all, and that’s a huge detriment to what they seem to be trying to accomplish.

IMO, if Culber and Stamets ended up taking in a kid, their gender identity or orientation should have been non-factors, and the sole consideration should have been to explore something significant and meaningful with Stamets and Culber. In other words, there should be a particular reason why we would explore parenthood (of a sort) with these characters. And honestly, unless it’s to strengthen their relationship, I don’t see the point. If anyone should be exploring parenthood on that crew it’s Burnham. She needs a taste of what it’s like to deal with someone acting out or breaking the rules.

Plus, if there’s any reason for Adira to bond with Stamets it’s because they’re both intelligent and can relate to an interest in science and technology. If we show Adira interacting with Stamets on that basis, and maybe less with Culber, then that would seem consistent. If they all get along because of (tHe gAy) then that’s poor characterization, and tokenism. And if it turns out that Stamets and Culber are the only ones that could have assumed this parental/mentor status because their (Adira, and Gray) needs couldn’t have been met otherwise, then I’d also say they’ve really missed the mark. Please don’t shove all the queers together just because they’re queer…

The whole thing that’s silly is the way this show makes a big deal out of things that are supposedly not a big deal in the 23rd/24th centuries? It’s like they’ve regressed instead of progressed from where DS9/TNG/VOY were at.

Agreed, I mean yes the kiss between Uhura and Kirk was big at the time it happened but they didn’t make it feel “unnatural” it just seemed like a kiss between two people. Here everything feels “unnatural” and “Pushed” as if they were meeting some kind of quota to satiate the LGBTQ community. And this whole “LGBTQ Panel” shouldn’t even be necessary.

That kiss was SUPER unnatural in that they were being forced to do it against their will. And then Kirk was also forced to go after her with a whip! It’s a weird mix of progressive, but also pretty messed up, in a way that hasn’t aged well.

Yeah that was an odd statement. That kiss was as unnatural as you can get it lol. They were literally fighting it from even happening.

And while I know the kiss is ‘historical’ for being the first (mostly the first) on network TV, but it would’ve been nice to have a scene of mixed race characters kissing each other because they actually WANT to do it because they were actually attracted to each other. But then maybe that was the only way to get it on air.

These things are often heavy handed – “Who are you to dictate how people love each other” (TNG, The Outcast), “Who is she to make these decisions for us?” “She’s the Captain” (VOY, Caretaker), DS9’s Rejoined presented dialogue along the lines of “why is this a problem” to the point of exhaustion. At times, in particular the dialogue about Gray’s visibility where also heavy handed. I’ll take heavy handed over 52 years of Trek almost completely ignoring us any day.

I’ll quickly agree that heavy-handed is much better than no representation. But it’s pretty awful that Star Trek is acting like those are the only two choices. FFS, just write them like normal characters who are married. Star Trek has done married/dating couples before: Will and Diana, Worf and Diana, Miles and Keiko, Worf and Jadzia, Ben and Kasidy, Odo and Kira, Rom and Leeta, Julian and Ezri, Neelix and Kes, Tom and B’Elana, Trip and T’Pol. They were able to make these relationships normal parts of the storyline, and make the characters normal parts of the crew with good individual and joint storylines most of the time. I REALLY would like to see the people in charge of Star Trek now do that for Paul and Hugh and Adira and Gray. Paul and Adira already have a good mentorship relationship because of they are both sassy, snappy, super-smart scientists. Hugh could get involved if he figures out how to bring Gray back. but we really need to see them interacting with the rest of the cast in normal ways instead of being separated as their own little group.

I’ve never seen an example of Hugh and Paul being treated with a heavy hand. Their relationship seems quite organic and well written.

This is a really good point. If they wanted to make a statement about a better society, then make these normal characters in which the focus is on something other than their personal lives. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have personal lives, but rather that they should be interesting characters in the broader story first. DISCO gets this very much correct with Stamets-Culver, and it’s too bad they can’t seem to do so here.

Please don’t shove all the ciset together just because they’re streight… all this whining about nonciset storylines is boring borderline mental.

I have a better idea. Drop “cis” from your vocabulary, such a horrible word.

Seemed natural to put a kid (or kids) in need of a family with the only established family on the ship. So, perhaps some are making this more complicated than it needs to be?

There are a few problems with that…

  1. -The whole crew is a family. They say it over and over. So singling out an actual couple seems a bit pointless. They’d theoretically benefit from any mentorship from the rest of the crew.
  2. -Adira is what, 16? And is technically in Starfleet (somehow). They don’t need a parent, just a mentor if anything. So again, the rest of the crew can fill that role.
  3. -If an actual individual mentor figure is necessary, why not someone like Tilly? She could act as a big sister, it’ll help her grow up aside from being thrown into the captain’s chair prematurely, and Tilly does have issues with her mom, so I feel like some additional benefit can be mined.

However, this isn’t the only issue. There are also production optics to consider. They’ve grouped all the main queers together. And in S3, they had limited interaction with the rest of the crew. It just doesn’t look good, and doesn’t seem like a natural situation. It also calls way too much attention to the fact that they’re ‘different’. I’ll say it again, Adira should not have had to ‘come out’ to Stamets, or anyone. A quick seamless correction of pronouns, without the angst, should have been sufficient.

I’m also seeing another broader problem… They’re taking their relationships with one another as actors and blending it in with the characters. We’ve seen this with how they praised Georgiou after she left. And we’ve seen it with any of the character interactions that imply a level of familiarity that hasn’t been shown within the actual scope of the series. They’ve done this frequently. So if these actors are bonding through a shared queer identity as members of the LGBTQ+ community, I fully expect that to leak over into their character interactions, and that can be a bad thing.

Last edited 9 days ago by Ashley

The crew is a family, of sorts. I don’t think that invalidates the nuclear family Hugh and Paul created when they got married. 16 year olds still need parents. Coming out as non-binary seems like it would still be a thing if one appeared to be of a binary gender in a sexually dimorphic species. Adira didn’t demonstrate angst and pain in coming to terms with their identity. They simply made a statement – “I’ve never felt like a she”. No matter how progressive a society, a non-visible gender identity will likely always require someone to acknowledge it internally and then verbalize it, lest we enter a state as a society where we do away with gender pronouns all together. Until Gray is no longer only visible to Adira, they are a package deal. Adira became friends with Paul. Paul and Hugh are married. Adria needed a family. I think we’re trying to create problems if we have problems with this.

As for actors influencing character arcs and relationships, I have no problem with art imitating life.

Spot on.

I didn’t watch S3 of Discovery apart from a few clips here and there, so I could be wrong, but is Gray trans in the show or is he just portrayed by a trans actor? If it is the latter then sadly Paradise’s comment sheds a lot of light on the intent of the showrunners: that the story will be secondary to ticking/checking boxes and delivering a political message because it’s about making Alexander, a trans man, “truly seen”.

The sad thing is that generally us Trekkies adhere to IDIC and the idea of trans characters or trans actors to us is greeted with a “meh, good luck to them, what’s their arc and how does it fit into a good sci fi story”. If Paradise et al know this about Trekkies then sadly they are being very cynical and merely trying to do things that haven’t been done before for plaudits. Sadly, the result of this is an awkward couple with no real chemistry (unless in S3 Culber and Stamets showed some spark) awkwardly adopting one of the other three LGBT+ characters (and automatically being linked to a second in Gray) and hanging about with the third… I’m sure this isn’t the intention of the showrunners but there is in essence apartheid in the Discovery cast.

Personally, even as a straight white guy, I wouldn’t care if the entire crew were not white (in fact if you’re going for realism, make the crew predominantly mixed race), pansexual and gender fluid. It’s much better than as Ashley says having an LBGT subgroup apart from the rest of the crew… is that the future Kurtzman, Paradise and all want?

They’re imbeciles and charlatans and the sooner the keys to the Rolls Royce that is Star Trek are confiscated from them, the better.

I use the word “sad” and “sadly” a lot in that rant and not intentionally. I won’t be editing it to replace them with synonyms: sadness is what I feel when I think of modern Star Trek.

What are these morons going to do to Q, Guinan and Kirk in Picard and SNW? I despair to think!

Agreed 100%, Collector. I have been so disappointed in the product(s) these showrunners have put out there and done with this franchise, it truly saddens me – I’ve pretty much taken myself out of Kurtzman-Trek altogether. And as to what they’re going to do with many of our beloved established characters in Picard and SNW, I fully expect to be equally disappointed. Pic S1 was ‘ok,’ imo, so I’m not terribly compelled to see S2, but SNW should be something I’m really looking forward to, and I’m not. It’s a shame. And like you said, if they would center their efforts on writing solid stories and a little less on what groups are represented, these shows might be a heck of a lot better.

SNW is going to be moving forward all the time and going to hopefully be about exploring many different stories through the season and series as a whole like TNG, VOY, DS9 etc did and not just restrained by a focus on a serialised single story. That might be a good thing for those of us disappointed with Discovery. I’m a TNG fan but if they can tap into a nice mix of TOS and TNG story structure and beats with a modern spin then it could be a surprisingly decent show.
You should never write it off before it’s even started its run.
Discovery has ran 3 seasons now and obviously the dye is set on that, so if you don’t like it you probably won’t even really like it. I pretty sure I don’t really like it but maybe I’ll revisit it in future when it’s concluded a few years down the line.
In the meantime I’m just happy to keep my eyes open on other trek projects like Picard and SNW.

I agree with all of this. As someone rewatching the entire franchise, one of the things I realize I miss is just the fun standalone stories. I realize just how much I still love TNG because they probably did it the best IMO. I’m on season 7 now and sadly don’t want it to end because how much I enjoyed rewatching so many of those stories. But I still have DS9 and VOY to watch, which I’m watching DS9 right now as well and even though it’s early seasons like TNG weren’t amazing, it’s still nice to just watch individual stories (and that’s my favorite show) and I just love all the characters to death now.

That’s what is really become a minus with the newer shows and why I think others are having trouble watching them, besides the fact the seasons haven’t been amazing but because the serialize nature kind of zap the fun out of even the good episodes if you’re not enjoying the entire story as a whole.

As far as DIS, I DO like it more now for sure and I have defended it as much as I criticize it. But I get exactly what Collector and Danpaine are saying even I don’t completely feel that way. I don’t think they are in the minority either. Discovery is a very divided show. Maybe no more than a lot of Trek shows early on but I feel Discovery, despite ALL the changes it’s made in three seasons, is still pushing away fans more than bringing them in.

I hope SNW avoid most of the issues that show brought on day one and maybe its standalone format like classic Trek will get more fans on board, especially people who just want fun weekly adventures again and frankly what Trek excelled at although DS9 wan an amazing serialized show later on. But it was also waaaaaay better written as well.

c’mon, give us more tig / reno. this is such a fun character and her screen time in S3 was poor. more tig.

I’m so glad the people making these shows ignore the comments sections.

I’m not so sure that they ignore them, actually. They changed a number of things in Discovery based on fan feedback, such as the hairless Klingons and ret-conning why Spock never mentioned his sister.

I’m not talking about Klingon haircuts. I’m talking about straight dudes rambling about lgbt representation.

Considering how many changes Discovery has made in its very short three years, I think its the opposite. And Alex Kurtzman has said a few times now he DOES read comments and why there have been so many changes in the first place. Discovery is only a thousand years into the future because how much fans slammed season one canon issues.

I have no issues with what they are doing with the LGBTQ+ characters. I think it’s all fine, but I’m a straight guy, so I don’t pretend to know how WELL they are handling the issues for gay and lesbian fans but I have zero complaints on that side of it personally.

But if there are things that bother people, the credit I give them is that they DO seem to listen and make proper changes when its valid. That’s a GOOD thing and keep your show on longer.

Last edited 9 days ago by Tiger2

I’m going to get dozens of replies about “canon issues” now, I guess.

One of the biggest positives about setting it in the 32nd century is that we heard very little about canon issues after that. ;)

Discovery still has tons of issues for me, but I always give credit where its due and I think that was one of the bigger issues they manage to resolve IMO. Others may disagree though.

Last edited 8 days ago by Tiger2

To make “To be truly seen” theire Story is weird. It´s like giving a gay character a story where he actually sits inside a closet. It takes all this so literal, that it feels a bit ridiculous.

Personally I would prefer LGBTQ+ Characters in fully established positions to show off a future where LGBTQ+ lifes actually matter. This, now, it seems like there is only one story to tell, the story of emancipation.

And that is for sure a story to tell. But This is Trek and the possibilitys are endless… and all they come up with is making a trans character literally invisible and its all about making this character visible to others again.

I hope they will suprise me on that.

Last edited 9 days ago by jako

I’m happy that Disco continues to highlight LGBTQ+ characters. But I’m disappointed that the writers don’t seem to know what to do with Adira and Gray. Their storyline was one of the weakest parts of last season, and what I’m reading here doesn’t inspire me with confidence regarding what’s to come in season four.

I’ve a gay sibling and several friends in the community. They are over the moon that they’re finally getting much needed representation on TV. My brother is a discerning Trek fan. If the stories are done poorly, he will say so. I don’t understand what being part of the trans community even means, or how their life is. I’m a vigorously heterosexual white male. I hope DSC does a good job of making these characters organically appear in the tapestry of the show. I’ve met the actors several times and they are incredibly generous with their fans. I had Cruz and Rapp sign a DSC poster for my brother. They both stood up and gave me a hug. Cruz asked me to call my brother so he could say hello.

Oh most definitely these actors are just like you and me they are human they have feelings and they want to be loved and liked and I’m sure they love to portray their craft to you and us their fans. I myself have no problem with gays or anyone of any sexual identity. I do have a problem with big corporate or big Hollywood producers who wish to milk that new stream of income for pretending or pandering to it. I also have a problem when the extreme elements of said sexual society who get into such positions of power abuse it and try to take over older properties and reinterpret them in a way that holds nothing to the original only so it can be considered “inclusive”. I think there needs to be a happy middle ground and right now that is not where we are in many parts of Hollywood and corporate america.

Cruz is so great, and I agree with your point about representation. But representation won’t make bad writing better. (And to be clear, DISCO has also had some good writing — just not with Adiria/Grey to date.)

I can really relate to the chosen/found family experience. I’m excited to see where S4 takes these characters.

Problem with LGBTQ especially as it translates into Star Trek is the mere fact that the whole basis of LGBTQ is to be “Defined” by ones sexuality. This is something that just does not translate well because in reality we should never be solely judged upon who we have sex with but all the other aspects that make up an individual character. It shouldn’t be a “coming out” or “fully seen” as the person should have already been recognized for the character he is and what he provides to the ship and crew or in this case the knowledge he provides to the host he is inside. If all a person is recognized is for the simple fact he is gay or trans then that is all he is defined as and all the other character traits that should be more important fall to the wayside.

Say like with the new Loki series the showrunners just came out that he is “gender fluid” do you really think I care the man can literally shapeshift into a woman? Why do I need to have some kind of Gender role now to identify Loki? Why is the fact the “god” can change forms and become a woman be so darn special?

Say like with the new Loki series the showrunners just came out that he is “gender fluid” do you really think I care the man can literally shapeshift into a woman? Why do I need to have some kind of Gender role now to identify Loki? Why is the fact the “god” can change forms and become a woman be so darn special?

In the event anything happens to Tom Hiddleston (superstitious knock on wood), the showrunners would be able to replace him with a woman. An alternate theory: life goes on, Tom Hiddleston gets old. But Loki is a god, able to live forever, and usually never looks very old. So, then, this would be impetus for a new actor to fill the rather big shoes left by Tom.

The entertainment industry has a long history of suddenly having an awakening and then botching the inclusion of underutilized and underrepresented communities. To audiences it appears as if they’re trying too hard and that they STILL don’t get it, creating characters who producers feel are in response to the changing expectations of audiences as opposed to simply creating characters whose race, gender or sexuality is merely incidental. When TOS was cast they knew that they were making a statement, today far too many shows feel as if they HAVE to make a statement and quite often miss the mark. It’s what my daughter and her friends refer to as ‘rainbow capitalism’ from sales at Target to a show which includes a LGBTQ+ character. Do they appreciate it? Sure. Do they feel it’s always necessary or sincere? Not necessarily, no.

Producer’s need to focus on just telling a good story and trusting their audiences. The Arrowverse and The Walking Dead universe have pretty much nailed it for well over a decade, establishing how to be inclusive without leaving audiences feeling as if they’re being pandered to.

What leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth is that they all speak about inclusion and what a close family they are, but when push comes to shove behind the scenes , the gays and the blacks are the first who have to go, as we have seen in the Discovery production.

Adira Tal is a trill. Gray is their past host, who is dead and now exists only in Tal’s memories. Gray has no separate identity. Adira is Tal’s current host. So for Tal to be in love with a past host is for Tal to be in love with who they used to be. It means Adira is in love with who they used to be. It’s all very narcissistic, if not a kind of mental illness. It makes zero sense for them to attempt to bring Gray back to life. The symbiont can only be in one living body, after all. What do they ressurect? A version of Gray before he was joined? But that’s not who Adira fell in love with. On top of that, of all the many hosts Tal has had, why is the only one deemed worthy of being brought back to life?

Adira is a human host to the Tal symbiont. It has not yet been established why Gray is visible to Adira, but that he appeared to Hugh, Saru and Michael in the holographic environment suggests his existence is more than that of simply a past hosts memories. Somehow he exists separate from the other hosts, possibly because Adira and he were in love, that they are a human host, or a combination of those unique circumstances. I guess we’ll find out in S4

I’m also quite tired of this “bringing dead characters back to life” trope, and the ghost story tropes. Ghost characters didn’t work in “Sub Rosa.” They didn’t work in 13 REASONS WHY. The fact that the characters in question now (Culber, Gray) are gay or non-binary does not change this in the least.

Adira is simply not that interesting of a character. They have had their moments as a secondary character, like Barclay or Garak or whoever. Some of the relationship background was sweet, and kudos for the fact that Gray (and now Adira) is a cellist. But the character is no Saru and is not going to hold their own as one of the top-billed cast.

Discovery seems like it wants a participation trophy for showing (make that showcasing) its cast’s diversity (hey, look, our lead is a black woman! Four of our cast, and their characters, are gay!) rather than showing diverse characters doing their jobs well, like Uhura or Geordi or Sisko. They are doing their cast a disservice by making it all about identity rather than the characters’ competence as Starfleet officers.

By being so heavy handed they are effectively driving away a large number of straight men, the traditional largest number of Star Trek fans. Is there even 1 significant Human male character on Discovery who is straight? – Who has been with Discovery since season 1.

As a human I feel the focus on so many Vulcans, Klingons, Cardassians, Ferengi, Borg, and Andorians really is alienating me from the show. Don’t they realize Star Trek’s core audience is humans?

No its more about the claims of diversity and representation.

Yet they pretty much ignore a group that is probably about 45% of the population.

You can name the straight white guy in every iteration of Trek except Discovery. But before Discovery you could only name one black woman, one person with a disability and no hispanic men. If not seeing yourself in one series drives you away, you learned nothing from the 5 that preceded it.

I said nothing about ‘white’ so that is self projection.
Like I said this lacks representation of about 45% of the entire Human population.
It is not diverse and representative.

Again, you can name what you’re looking for in every version of Trek except Discovery, yet there are countless examples of only one or none throughout the history of Trek. If you’re upset that you don’t see a straight human male in one series, imagine being an LGBT hispanic woman who has never seen herself in Trek. Diversity doesn’t mean “must include a straight human dude”. But remove that overly represented character and the fragility erupts. If after 52 years of Trek you can’t connect with a series without seeing a straight human male, you’re missing the point of Trek.

Literary science fiction is replete with themes of transgenderism, intersex transhumanism, quaternary-sex aliens and the like. But it’s generally at the service of a larger, thought-provoking sci-fi idea from which the “representation” is a natural byproduct. So, good news- there’s a way to boost the self-esteem of youths while also engaging other segments of the audience.

I loved Adria in season three; Gray, less so. I think it’s good (duh) that Trek is being representative in this way; I just hope they don’t put the message before the story. TOS didn’t do that with any of its characters, and most of the later shows also dodged that bullet.

Why do I feel as if this one is going to step right into its path?

I think it’s good (duh) that Trek is being representative in this way; I just hope they don’t put the message before the story. 

Exactly.

This is a very important point. I feel like story must come first before anything and if you can put your message across that story then you are doing your job effectively, but if the message for some reasons takes the precedence over the story then you have a narrative problem.

If they want a to show off more trans characters then do it. This situation is one of the silliest in the show though. Everyone is so happy and supportive of this characters literal imaginary friend. I don’t care about the politics, I just find it silly. That and all the crying…otherwise, I like the show :D

“Literal imaginary friend” would mean that Gray is imaginary. He’s not. We don’t know why he exists separate from the other Tal hosts, but that others could see him in the holographic environment of the crashed Kelpian ship makes it pretty clear he’s not an imaginary character.

Doesn’t prove anything. Ever heard of mass hallucination. All those people are mental ill because of trauma.

I still don’t think it’s a good idea to have contemporary gender politics – which are incredibly divisive even within the commnity they’re supposed to “include” – as part of a SciFi show. And the way they’re doing it doesn’t even feel particular inclusive. It reminds me more of the worst days of tokenism.

I allways felt’s it’s hard to wirte good gay characters for a Trek show, since in the 24th century noone would really care about you’re sexual orientation – at least the Federation humans wouldn’t. So to write a Story you would in essence have to point a finger at the gay character, which is exactly the opposite of the point here.

Thats why the political themes allways worked better as allegories. You could tackle trans-problems wird Trill. And DS9 did it somewhat well. Discovery just used them as a coat of paint instead of a means to tell a Story.

But when it comes to gay characters in TV in general I allways felt, that you just need to get rid of the “case of the not gays” trope. Have two male or female characters just be close. For the straight people it’s a friedship for the gay people they’re a couple. As long as sexuality isn’t an important Part of the Story that’s really all you need.

And let actors be actors. A gay man is perfectly capable of playing a straight character and vice verca. And someone who considers himself “non-binary” is perfectly able to play someone who isnt. In fact the actor who plays blue played a little by and a little girl in “the OA” quite well.

Heterosexuality is everywhere on TV. It’s kind of ridiculous to have straight couples be completely open about who they are but then have the gay couple be viewed only as ‘close friends’. Seriously? And yes gay actors have been portraying straight characters for decades now….and rarely as themselves. That’s literally the entire issue.

Maybe just treat gay couples the same AS YOU TREAT straight couples? Not sure why that seems to be an issue, especially in 2021?

Last edited 8 days ago by Tiger2

Paul and Hugh are married. They never came out in the show. Hugh called Paul his partner in episode 5. That was pretty much it. This felt forced to you? Can you name a character who acted surprised or appalled? Seems like they are just two dudes who are married and no one cares. Except the audience. So….exactly what you’re asking for.

I’m all for the show organically developing LGBT characters, and Stamets and Culber are a decent example of that, but they have to do it better than the clumsy way they are doing Gray and, to a lesser extent, Adira.

Adira has good potential, they’ve just been a victim of the patchy way Doscovery drops and picks up characters. I can see a spark of the relationship with Stamets, but it was not given quite the right attention to make me believe there’s a strong family bond there yet. Made Stamet’s declaration of love for her under duress ring false. But there is potential, and Blu is an appealing actor.

I have been having a much harder time with Gray. He’s been a drag on Adira as a ghost boyfriend trope until it was revealed that was all just a “we see you” blunt metaphor, which was heavy-handed and ham-fisted in equal measures. Also, Ian Alexander’s acting is really not great IMO and even though we are in a positive transformative moment, the actor should probably wipe their Twitter feed of all their posts about being sick of white people.

And what is your problem with that? I’m sick with white people, too. So more power to him.

Nice racial hatred there.

I said nothing about ‘race’ so that is self projection. :)

 I used 'white' to describe a mindset not a 'race', because modern science agrees there is not such a thing like 'races' between humans. But even if there would be, don't be so sensitive. Not every form of mild criticism already equals hatred.

There is no need to fan the flames by specifically saying they are sick of “white boys” being famous. It’s just as prejudicial as the reverse when expressed that way. Better to champion diversity than to overtly say such reductive things.

I have no issue with the mere inclusion of LBGQ+ characters. I think it’s a good thing. I’m just thinking maybe in universe the idea that someone is such shouldn’t be made into a big deal by how the characters are written.

In other words make a great character first. Don’t make a person being LBGQ+ define their character. Straight characters don’t have their being straight define them. So why should it be the other way around?

Stamets and Culber were a good example of how to do it but I think they started to slip with Adira and Gray. Not enough time was spent on developing them for their skills and how they can be an asset to the crew.

In fact, from what I remember, most of the time was spent on their relationship and how they were different from the others. There wasn’t much interaction with non LBGQ+ characters either which should naturally happen if you are going to mimic real life. You can’t just put all them in a corner and hide them from the others. It’s not realistic and only draws attention to them in the wrong way.

Last edited 5 days ago by Mister Vulcan