The new issue of Out magazine features some familiar faces on its cover: Star Trek: Discovery stars Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp. The magazine did interviews with multiple members of the Discovery cast: Rapp, Cruz, Mary Wiseman, Tig Notaro, Blu del Barrio and Ian Alexander, and Emily Coutts. They created Collectible Edition covers for each, and filled out the interviews with fun, creative photo shoots featuring each of the actors.
Below, check out their covers and excerpts from their interviews.
Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz: Proud space dads
Anthony Rapp (Paul Stamets) and Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber)—referred to in the interview as “space dads”— talked about how important it was to them to be playing a gay couple on the show and the value of visibility. Rapp talked to Out about how their relationship has evolved on the show, through to the current season:
Paul and Hugh have been together for a long time and have gone through a tremendous amount and have earned a really strong sense of mutual respect and trust that is really important and meaningful to be able to represent on-screen. Hopefully, it’s a kind of role-model couple that’s not meant to be all shiny and perfect. It has little edges and corners that show up, but we make it through and we support each other.
Cruz talked about how he hopes the show is inspiring more representation in Hollywood:
When you watch this show, I hope you realize that you’re seeing something that is not the majority of the experience of television viewing. You are seeing an entire cast of people of color and queer people and a majority of women in lead roles. That this amazing, action-filled, heart-beating show is populated by people of color and queer people and marginalized groups that normally aren’t given these opportunities — and they’re hitting [it] out of the park.
Mary Wiseman: Diversity is built into Star Trek
Mary Wiseman (Sylvia Tilly) was queer and out long before her days on Discovery, but because she’s married to Noah Averbach-Katz, fans assumed was that she was straight. When someone described her that way during an interview, she ended up coming out publicly to Star Trek fans for the first time.
Wiseman had initially viewed the Star Trek franchise as something more conservative; her only exposure to the franchise (before she met superfan Noah) had been a conservative uncle who was a fan. But she told Out that now she sees the world of Trek in a different light:
This is our version of the world. This is our community. It’s diverse people from all over…keeping with the mission statement that Gene Roddenberry laid out very explicitly, which is that diversity is our greatest strength as a species. And the more voices we can include, the greater, smarter, more generous we will become.
She says playing Tilly has given her a lot of freedom, especially as she was encouraged to forge her own unique path:
We didn’t have to be like anybody that had come before, and particularly that she didn’t have to be slick or cool. Which I’m super grateful for, because it would have been a bit like a square peg in a round hole if I had had to play somebody as cool as, I don’t know, like Michael Burnham.
Tig Notaro: There’s more to Reno
While the role of Jett Reno was specifically written for her (which is why her dialogue couldn’t be written for any other character, Tig Notaro makes it clear that she’s not improvising. “This is very much a written TV show. I’m not just showing up and being myself and saying whatever I want, because if I said whatever I wanted, I certainly wouldn’t be saying the crazy [scientific jargon],” she told Out. “That’s not what would be coming out of my mouth.”
Early on, Reno reveals that she lost her wife during the war with the Klingons. Notaro suggested there’s a possibility we might get a little more backstory in the future.
I think that it is an interesting element to the character, but I think also relatable in ways that sometimes when you’ve been through something or struggling, the certain protective layer [Reno projects]…when you dig deeper, you find that there’s some pain or a hard road that somebody’s been down. I think it’ll be interesting to see what happens with that backstory. I really don’t know what’s coming.
Blu del Barrio and Ian Alexander: Still just kids
The newest additions to the show—both joined the cast in season 3—are definitely a couple, although we haven’t seen physical intimacy between them. Turns out, there’s a reason, and it has to do with the characters’ ages and not their sexuality. When asked by Out if they were going to hook up, Ian Alexander (Gray) answered, “I’m not sure! They are still children, but who knows what’ll happen once they’re legal adults?”
Costar Blu del Barrio (Adira Tal) says there may be an additional reason:
Yeah, it’s a very…it’s a weird thing, especially with Adira. There have been moments where I felt like, Maybe they’re on the spectrum of asexuality? I think their intimate relationship with each other is, maybe not super-explored for a reason?
Now that Gray has a body and has gone off to Trill to train with the Guardians, the couple will have to deal with the most traditional of challenges: a long-distance relationship. Showrunner Michelle Paradise chimed in on this one:
After getting a new body and settling into it over the course of the season, Gray is finally ready to restart his training so he can fulfill his dream of becoming a Guardian. Even though he’s going off to do that at the end of episode 407, he’s still part of our Discovery universe—and part of Adira’s life—so we’ll have to see where the stories take us moving forward. Stay tuned!
Emily Coutts: Out because of Discovery
Emily Coutts (Keyla Detmber) tells Out she was inspired to come out because of a Star Trek: Discovery script—specifically, the season 2 finale; he was reading it in her car and burst into tears. She said it made her realize something important about herself she hadn’t confronted before, that she could “stay where things are comfortable” or “go and grow” into her full self.
She’d known she was queer for a long time, but says that when she read the script, she realized she wanted to take the next step.
…when I read it, I was inspired to be brave enough to finally come out, and tell people that I was gay, and trust that my future would be a beautiful thing if I was living openly and freely. I’m really grateful for that experience and proud of myself for taking the leap.
Fans have been speculating on whether or not her character, Keyla Detmer, is gay; to that, Coutts says that Detmer may indeed be on a journey of her own.
I feel like she maybe is starting to accept herself in her own queerness, whatever that means…whatever the writers want to do romantically or not.
For the full interviews and accompanying photos, visit Out Magazine‘s website.
More Discovery ahead
The fourth season of Discovery will continue with weekly releases until the season finale on Thursday, March 17.
New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery premiere on Thursdays on Paramount+ in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. Discovery will debut on Paramount+ in 45 countries around the world in 2022.
Keep up with the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.
Those are fantastic covers!
Star Trek has gone a long way very fast from the infighting over Sulu being gay and having a whopping 30 second scene displaying it in Beyond; to now multiple characters on a single show being openly gay and very much ingrained into it a few years later. And people had problems when it was revealed there would just be ONE gay character on Discovery.
While the show is still far from perfect it has really pushed diversity along with gay and lesbian characters in a positive and multi-faceted way. To be clear, if there was not a single gay character on the show, being straight, it wouldn’t have remotely bothered me personally. But I’m happy there are so many now and I think about all our fellow queer fans who are probably ecstatic to (finally) have some representation of themselves in this franchise.
Was that scene really 30 seconds long? It felt shorter.
I was just generalizing. But yes to make the point stronger, it was shorter than even that.
One other difference there might be China. Paramount pushed hard for Beyond to be shown there. Discovery, on the other hand, I’m guessing… not as widely broadcast?
China was definitely an issue. I don’t have any doubt about that. And TV shows are different. They don’t have to rely on a global audience like movies do and it doesn’t really matter if any of the Trek shows are in China or not. In fact, I don’t think any of them (at least officially) are playing there now since none of the streaming sites that runs Star Trek are playing there. And I haven’t heard of any separate deals.
Thanks, I wasn’t sure if TV Trek was being shown there or not.
I did some googling around and found someone mention that Trek isn’t officially shown on Chinese television but they have seen DVDs in some markets. Probably on the down-low, I would imagine.
Yeah exactly. I have been to China twice since Discovery premiered and as far as I can tell it wasn’t there, but I don’t spend a lot of time watching Chinese TV when I’m there either. I could still watch Netflix in China for anything I downloaded and could get all the Trek shows that way, which I imagine a lot of people VPN there. Some of my friends from there watch Netflix that way too.
And I think if it was there, there would’ve been news about it somewhere.
Interesting. Thanks for the ‘inside scoop,’ as it were.
Indeed, I will say this for Discovery: it does a better job of delivering on the franchise’s de facto mandate for diversity and inclusion than all the previous shows. The Berman-era productions, as dearly as I love them, really weren’t nearly as progressive as they could and should have been; there were other shows of various sorts on American TV from 1987 to 2005 that had much far more / better representation for LGBTQ+ people than our beloved franchise did in that timeframe, and it kind of missed a golden opportunity to have been a leader in this area, when it was in so many others. Ah, well.
At least Discovery is finally delivering on the franchise’s promise here, though I kind of feel like in 2017 to 2022 and beyond it’s more like playing catch-up than really being at the forefront of representation on US TV.
Yeah say what you will about Discovery as a show (and there is a lot to say lol), it’s inclusion of race, gender and sexuality is probably the strongest out of all the Trek shows IMO. Of course it came out in 2017, it should kind of be a given by now, but it’s still great to see. And it has definitely broken barriers for sexuality far and away from anything we seen on Trek before, not just by having gay characters but the diversity within those characters as well.
And I too love the Berman era shows by a huge mile. I think that will always be MY favorite era of Star Trek (but really hoping to be proven wrong some day ;)). But yes the lack of gay characters is very disappointing for that time. I think even if there wasn’t a full time character there still could’ve been ‘A’ character who identified themselves as gay in one episode or something. But to be fair, I do think there would be fear of a backlash, even though gay characters were making strides on television then.
But for some reason you still rarely saw it in the science fiction genre. I’m not saying it didn’t exist at all, but it was still very rare when compared to comedies and dramas at that time. Star Wars didn’t show a gay character (of any kind) until the last movie two years ago and it was literally a blink and you miss it moment. And George Lucas is a pretty progressive guy himself. The prequels came out in the early to mid 2000s and still nothing.
As for Star Trek, I also think they probably thought it was already enough to have a black and woman lead in DS9 and VOY and that was ‘controversial’ enough. And remember how people reacted when they heard there would be a woman captain, which was still so bizarre to me even then. So I think there was a fear of looking too ‘woke’ at the time with those additions already in place (oh wait we didn’t have that word back then…I guess ‘PC’ was the term of its day ;)).
But yeah still, they could’ve done a little more for sure. They played around the edges with it in various episodes and DS9 (of course) probably was the most progressive with it. And I think Trills in general are really suppose to be a metaphor for alternative sexual identity. The symbionts themselves don’t identify with any gender which felt very progressive at the time.
So yes Star Trek is definitely playing catch up, but I think they have basically caught up at this point, especially with Adira and Gray in the mix. And as I said about the Trills, I don’t think it was a coincidence that’s why Gray in particular was made one.
SF literature is far different from ST and SW, and Hollywood movies on this subject.
Part of the problem “these days” is that no franchise feels indebt to an audience that reads.
Ok, but I’m talking about the movies and TV shows and what the mass audience is mostly exposed to.
But I agree, books can be more progressive in nature but not always adapted as so on a screen because once again you’re trying to appeal to a bigger audience who is not as always open-minded as a whole.
I know, totally. I think we have the same aspirations.
Eventually, I hope the mass mainstream audience will be open-minded, but it may take a while! When I find myself ocassionally slipping (prejudice can easly happen), I just remember IDIC.
To paraphrase – “I too experienced a brief moment of bigotry – most distasteful!”
Unfortunately though, there’s still a significant cohort of print SF readers that hold up quite objectionable print SF from the 60s and 70s as the classics that everyone must read to understand the genre.
I’m talking about writers who, through their writing, explored non-heterosexual aspects of their characters lives and expanded their reader’s minds. There are always examples that were bad then and bad now.
“Part of the problem “these days” is that no franchise feels indebt to an audience that reads.”
So true. : ( I’ve been a longtime Sci-Fi (and to a much lesser extent fantasy) fan and it saddens me that so many classic SF books will never ever be adapted by Hollywood. Well, at least we had some Philip K. Dick (although I was never a fan of his) and Dune and a silly adaption of Heinlein’s classic Starship Troopers.
Still no Ringworld (despite it being optioned), Mote in God’s Eye, and Michael Moorcock has given up hope of ever seeing his Elric stories on the large or small screens thanks to the copy cat Witcher books.
So, comic book characters, yes, classic sci-fi, no.
As I understand it, there were repeated attempts to introduce LGBTQIA characters to Berman-era Trek as far back as 1987 and each time Berman himself shut such attempts down. Blood & Fire, Lieutenant Hawk, Malcolm Reed are just three that I can think of. Given what’s come out about Berman’s sexist attitudes actresses such as Terry Farrel it’s not a giant leap to suggest that he may have been homophobic.
One reason Star Trek was behind in that regard was corporate hesitancy due to syndication; recall the culture of the time with it being major news that Ellen came out on her sitcom in the late 1990s. Trek lost that excuse with the UPN, which offered a mountain of entertainment yet missed an obvious opportunity for Malcolm of Enterprise to come out.
There had been LGBTQ characters on TV since at least the early 1970s, though. And the instances that almost made it into TNG were extremely innocent, such as Blood and Fire and Guinan’s line about “two people in love” rather than “a man and a woman.” Writers kept fighting to keep Roddenberry’s promise, but Rick Berman was consistently the roadblock. Even when UPN mandated that each show do an AIDS episode, Berman had to be dragged kicking and screaming even to do “Stigma,” which was slathered in thick layers of allegory.
I’d still like to see some religious representation in ST. I know Roddenberry, in the end, essentially said he was agnostic or atheist, but the original Enterprise did have a chapel and there are indications that some of the original characters were religious. The only way this dimension has been explored has been through proxies like the Klingons and the Bajorans and other alien races. I know I’m probably going to be slammed for this, based on strong anti-religious views (many of which I must say are well founded based on past and recent history), but I’d like to see people of faith in the future too being part of the UFP.
Doesn’t diversity and tolerance encompass religion as well as gender identity, culture, and race? We’ve seen religious intolerance in addition to intolerance of LGBTQ and colored folks as well, with attacks on churches and synagogues and innocent people of faith.
Didn’t Discovery say that Pike was religious? Or his father, at least? I vaguely seem to remember something about that from season 2.
If you include alien religions there was much more representation of religion in Trek than LGBTQ representation before Discovery came along.
Adding representation of specific Earth religions has the disadvantage that once you start adding one Earth religion you risk backlash from all the other religions unless you add them too. Let’s say, Trek suddenly added an openly Muslim character. Unless they also added an openly Christian character you can be pretty sure that there would be substantial backlash from Christians. You avoid that by keeping it vague or by featuring mostly alien religions, which still allows you to talk about things like religious persecution without pointing the finger at anyone specific.
“Didn’t Discovery say that Pike was religious? Or his father, at least? I vaguely seem to remember something about that from season 2.”
I haven’t gotten to Season 2 yet.
“If you include alien religions there was much more representation of religion in Trek than LGBTQ representation before Discovery came along.”
While that’s true, that’s not what’s bugging me. I’m referring to Earth religions. I just think it’s part of the lives of so many people that it would help people to identify with such characters, especially if they gave positive, reasonable, portrayals instead of being hateful fanatics. With the original show, we had a largely human and multiracial and national cast. I think, now, it would be a positive thing to go back to that. We have so many divisions these days, and I just think ST would offer an ideal vehicle to build bridges for a lot of people.
“Adding representation of specific Earth religions has the disadvantage that once you start adding one Earth religion you risk backlash from all the other religions unless you add them too. Let’s say, Trek suddenly added an openly Muslim character. Unless they also added an openly Christian character you can be pretty sure that there would be substantial backlash from Christians. You avoid that by keeping it vague or by featuring mostly alien religions, which still allows you to talk about things like religious persecution without pointing the finger at anyone specific.”
Well, you could say the same with characters of color, sexual identity, etc. I don’t see that as a factor given the franchise’s history.
I hate it, but both political parties in this country are using religion, race, and LGBTQ to push people apart, which, as Rep. Kinzinger just said yesterday is a danger to our Democracy. We need to try to bring people together again, not push them apart and let these folks who fan hatred and division for their own fame, fortune, and power win.
You should check out the episode of DSC 2×02 “New Eden.” It specifically talks about a colony of humans who develop a religion based on real-world religions, and talks about Pike’s father’s career as a religious scholar.
Will do, Eric. I’m on to season 2.
Still, it’s a new religion? I guess that would make sense, seeing as its Star Trek.
But I’d still like to see at least some characters with some sort of faith practicing it aboard ship. Yeah, Worf did it because he was Klingon and Kira did it because she was Bajoran.
But it looks like, despite the chapel on the original Enterprise, little more than a few decades latter, there’s no religion for humans by the time of TNG. Now, I’m aware that that was apparently what Roddenberry, an agnostic or atheist, was biased towards and maybe that was a rule like his no-conflict rule among all the human characters, since they were supposed to be more progressive, altruistic, and rational than us. Brannon Braga has called Star Trek something like an atheist’s mythology. So there’s that.
But then there’s J. Michael Straczynski had religion in Babylon 5. He didn’t think it would go away like Roddenberry thought in Star Trek.
FWIW, there seems to be at least one practicing Sikh aboard the Cerritos, seen in the background as a shuttle brings Ensign Tendi and other new arrivals to the ship in the first episode of Lower Decks. This is apparently the first time the franchise has ever shown a Sikh in Starfleet.
That’s cool. I’m not watching Lower Decks, though.
It is quite clear that each of the five shows is targeting specific audiences and Discovery is focused on woman and gender and racial minorities as well as legacy fans like myself.
And I have to admit, some of my more liberal friends who never watched Star Trek before are watching Discovery. I didn’t know who he was, but my friends’ daughter who loves musicals was impressed that a well known broadway star like Anthony Rapp is on the show. Haha I say Anthony Rapp is from Star Trek, she says he is from Rent! And another relative said they heard Tig Notaro is on the show, once again someone who never gave Star Trek a second thought before – so I guess they know what they are doing.
Now let’s hope the writers give this diverse cast good and better material and stories to work with. IMHO ever since midway through S1, the show has slowly but steadily improved – let’s hope S4 can continue that trend with a good conclusion to the season. If so, S4 would be the best season yet – that may not be saying too much, but I really want the show to succeed. Especially since it helped spawn SNW, Prodigy, Picard and LDs.
You’re right, Tiger2. ST definitely jumped in in the deep end!
“it would have been a bit like a square peg in a round hole if I had had to play somebody as cool as, I don’t know, like Michael Burnham”
I do get what she’s saying, but I can’t imagine ever describing Burnham as cool.
I frequently describe her as cool. I love her!
AS DO I !
She now seems a lot more relaxed and cool compared to her early days.
She does. I’ve had my fair share of Discovery issues in the past but Michael and Soquena Martin Green was never really one of them.
I Have described Burnham as cool.
And, you should know, to me, that description comes quite easily.
Thanks for sharing.
You know… when people post that as a response, they’re really saying “I have nothing to contribute to this discussion but I don’t want to feel out because I’m desperate for attention, so I’ll post something that I think will look clever even though it’s the lamest putdown out there.”
I think Burnham has become very cool by S4. Compare her to S1 Burnham. So insecure and impulsive that she knocked out her own captain. She’s a transformed character, and we barely noticed it happening. It was a natural journey.
It’s one of the things that really annoys me whenever the haters start off with the “bad writing” trope.
Also agree. I think I said around episode 4 of this season she feels like a much different character and more mellow as a captain. I never hated the character but never my favorite either. I’m really liking her this season. Not at the level I like Janeway, Kirk or Picard but she’s growing on me.
Yeah, similar, I like her more as she settles into her command.
She reminds me most of Kirk. I like her more than Kirk, though.
Wow you’re right. I totally didn’t even remember that from season 1!
I would have liked to see more of her transition from the free and joyous Burnham we got in early season 3, that went away too fast, but it certainly did give way to a more relaxed version of her. She’s still frustratingly written IMO, but I can’t deny there was a journey there.
The fact that it wasn’t a telegraphed metamorphosis really speaks to the acting ability of Sonequa- which is very often slammed by members of this community. I just hope that this puts to bed the argument that she isn’t a good actress.
Writing aside, it’s the pacing of the editing that did SMG no favors during the first two seasons. If your eye gets to watch the characters truly relate to each other without a quick edit to something flashy, you begin to believe. Her performance might not have altogether changed, but the slower pace in seasons 3 & 4 is a gift to SMG’s ability to command the dramatic sense and gravity of a scene.
She’s really excellent. She can do a lot with nuance, she can dial it up when needed without making it forced. It’s hard not to read the negative views of her without having to conclude there’s something else going on in those criticisms.
She is not a good actress.
The constant whispering and intense eyes are way overdone.
I’ve loved the way she’s grown over the past four years. It was subtle, and organic, but always the entire point of the show, to show her redemption and growth on her path to the captain’s chair. When people call her a Mary Sue, or someone who’s “right all the time” or who “always saves the day,” they really seem willfully ignorant to the ways in which the show has been explicit about when she was wrong and when and how she needed to grow as a person.
I don’t like Discovery at all, like even in the slightest, but I LOVE that it’s the gayest of Treks with a phenomenal cast!
That was more or less my attitude for the first three seasons, but I’ve warmed up to it during season four … so far, at least. Plenty of time for ’em to s–t the bed yet.
Same here about the show, but good for them. I’m glad they’re getting proper representation. Most other scripted shows have been doing it for years.
what the hell are they all wearing?
I think it’s 32nd century night clubbing wear! ;)
Break out the synthohol!
*Sees everyone wearing full-body spandex onsies* – “This is normal and okay with me”
*Sees a man wearing a blazer without a shirt* – “WHAT THE HELL”
A man with a blazer and no shirt is super normal. You’d find that on any catwalk.
Detmer / Coutts on the other hand… okay, I normally LOVE sleeveless outfits and short skirts, with chest and upper legs etc. fully clothed… THIS is the exact opposite. But I guess that’s what it’s all about. Defying expectations…
Well, now. I’ll be saving that Emily Coutts one for the archives, I believe.
douglas trumbull r i p
Indeed. The man was a titan, and one of the important figures in the story of how Star Trek first made the jump to the big screen.
Of course this is an article about something else entirely, but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of Trumbull’s passing yet on the site.
That’s a management decision, they generally tend to note the passings of real life space adventurers (Neil Armstrong) or behind the scenes talent on the TM Twitter account. And I see there’s a Trumbell post up now.
Ok, that’s it. I’m starting a petition to have a spin-off based solely on Wilson Cruz’ chest.
Yeah, that got me to wondering – Trek has featured go-go dancer uniforms and catsuits galore for the ladies…..but daaaamn, those abs are a well kept secret, and I’m an old, straight white guy..
Star Trek has been a vehicle to tell stories about social commentary since the 1960’s. It’s part of the show’s DNA. I can’t think of anything more “Star Trek” than this.
I wish I liked most of these characters, but it’s very affirming to see this representation in Star Trek at last.
Very wild outfits! Seriously, though, I’m an old school Star Trek fan and, if anything, I’ve gotten more conservative as I’ve gotten older. I’m Catholic and my wife was raised Mormon, so there’s been some tension regarding how and when we tell our children about LGBTQ folks and relationships. It’s actually already started with a child in my daughter’s class, which we had to talk over with her.
I just finished the first season of Discovery last night. I thought it was the darkest ST series I’ve ever seen, but the story was riveting and the cast and characters were strong. I don’t know if I love any of these characters yet, but I’m onboard with them and interested in their journeys. With the sex and profanity, it’s not something I’m going to show my kids anytime soon (they’re watching TNG now), but my wife and I really enjoyed it. It was fresh and the characters seemed like real, flawed people, which was a breath of very fresh and needed air after how stale Berman-Braga Trek ended up.
WRT this topic, though, I really appreciated the Stamets-Culber relationship. It wasn’t ostentatious, or cloying, it was just real. Discovery treated all its characters like they were real people on their own roads in life and they were all treated with respect, civility, dignity, and the love they deserved. They came together despite their differences in pursuit of a greater purpose. That’s what we need so much now in the face of the frankly stupid divisions in our country and world. So, even in the darkness of that season long war and all that conflict, the central tenet of Star Trek, which was right there in the original show, shines through.
I’m Bi, so yeah, kudos to Discovery on the inclusiveness. I still think the writing is terrible though. lol
Compared to the writing on VOY and ENT? Nah…but everything is relative.
Kurtzmantrek writing is terrible, on the nose, in your face, complete lack of subtlety in what they want to convey and how it is conveyed.
Wow, I think I may have to go out and buy a physical copy of the actual magazine, something I haven’t done in sometime.
As Spock would say… Fascinating!
I’m a huge fan of the ‘Star Trek.’ franchise and I have been for over thirty years but as a heterosexual man (who nevertheless wholeheartedly supports free queer life and expression), I’m afraid I feel compelled to make an observation about the promotion around ‘Star Trek: Discovery.’ that may well bring down upon me a storm of accusations of homophobia and Lord knows what else.
I think ‘Star Trek: Discovery.’ is a great show but now, with Emily (Kayla Detmer) Coutts coming out – which by the way I wholeheartedly congratulate her for!, it really does underline my opinion that the show is in danger of celebrating queerness almost to the point of alienating heterosexual non-queer ‘Star Trek.’ fans.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I enjoy watching films and TV shows that focus on gay people, such as the first two ‘Tales Of The City.’ Series with Laura Linney, ‘Milk.’ with Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, ‘Desert Hearts.’ with Helen Shaver to name a few. But ‘Star Trek: Discovery.’ seems to me to be in danger of being perceived as the ‘Star Trek.’ show for queer people.
I think the entire roster of actors and characters on the show are great but every ‘Star Trek: Discovery.’ cast and crew interview that I read seems to inevitably focus on celebrating ‘queerness’ and to be honest, I’m finding that it’s just getting boring.
Yes; ‘Star Trek.’ is, amongst other things, about inclusivity and that’s what the real world should be about. But that’s not all that ‘Star Trek.’ is about.
I, as a person who has a severe mobility-related disability and who therefore identifies quite closely with the struggles of those who are perceived as belonging to a minority, feel that focussing on those issues too much can actually be quite counter-productive. It can easily have the effect of making people stand out even more, purely for their perceived differences, instead of for the ENTIRETY of who they are.
I would be overjoyed if ‘Star Trek: Discovery.’ welcomed a person who has an obvious disabled into its regular cast, but I’d hate it if that actor spent every interview talking about disability issues all the time! If they did that, then fans would only focus on their disability.
I would therefore respectfully suggest that the producers of ‘Star Trek: Discovery.’ and the cast try to dial back (just a little, not completely!) on their seemingly continual focus on queerness in interviews and allow it to just ‘Be’, rather than making it stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.
I’m absolutely NOT suggesting that ‘Star Trek: Discovery.’ should start trying to hide queerness (I love its characters and its stories). Just stop banging on about it so much in interviews – and presumably on social media too.
I apologize profusely if what I’ve said offends anybody who identifies as queer. However I really do feel that the promotion of ‘Star Trek: Discovery.’ focusses too much on queerness and is therefore in danger of alienating those fans who don’t identify that way.
‘Live Long & Prosper.’ – however you identify.
I totally understand your “too-much-of-a-good-thing” notion but when you look at the franchise as a whole, queer folks are still a miniscule minority. And that’s how I see it these days. DSC has fully embraced the topic, but only after five previous show had almost completely ignored the issue.
Yeah, it’s true that there is not a single straight white human male main character aboard that particular ship if you don’t count Lorca and Pike, but in retrospect, there was not a single queer character on any of the other five shows that preceded Disco.
Loads of characters on those shows used to be straight white males: Pike, Kirk, Bones, Scotty, Chekov, Picard, Riker, Wesley, O’Brien, Paris, Archer, Trip, Malcolm… that’s 13 out if 35 main characters. That’s a lot to identify with. And now there is a Trek show without a single active straight white male character… Is that a problem? No! Because the queer Asian woman wasn’t represented in DS9 either. The straight Native male wasn’t on ENT or TOS or TNG either… and so on… Not every group can be represented on each and every Trek show, and now, for the first time in 50 years, the straight white male is missing! So what?
Now if every future Trek series did that and only included other minorities, that WOULD be an issue. But for one show, this IS absolutely fine looking at the big picture…
That being said, I really hope there will be Chinese, Aborigine, Maori or Inuit characters at some point… and maybe a flying Dutchman :-)
Hi Garth Lorca,
You make very good points – and until now I hadn’t even noticed ‘that there is not a single straight white human male main character aboard that particular ship’!
Whereas ‘Star Trek: Discovery.’ seems to me to be a little over-populated with queer characters, I think ‘Star Trek: Picard.’ is getting the balance right with its subtle suggestion at the end of Season 1 that Raffi and Seven had become an item.
I hope to see that relationship develop in Season 2 – hopefully without having it rammed down my throat!
With “rammed down my throat!” this thread is closed.
You are absolutely correct.
There’s three major problems with the show:
1. 3 seasons of poor writing
2. Not enough focus on supporting characters (many of which feature in the article)
3. Due to number 2 and the “look we are so diverse” flag waving at every opportunity , people rightly eye roll at the show as it looks like a box ticking exercise having diversity all over the show but with the majority of them having nothing to do except stand there and make a facial expression or read poorly written lines.
I am a minority and I often think like many things certain narratives are force fed these days, star trek never pushed racial, gender politics in previous and (current running Picard, lower decks etc.) series, it didn’t need to. It just happened and you had strong leads and stories around race, disability, gender, sexuality etc. Without it being thrown in your face.
Couldn’t give a damn what a person’s personal preference is in life they are doing their diverse cast a disservice giving most of them nothing to do.
More Stamets and Culver and Reno screentime needed , less of the rest featured in the article please, don’t offer anything of note to the show!
And did any one else go who the f**k is that on the cover picture with Wilson Cruz. Didn’t recognise Anthony Rapp
I didn’t read the article but I just wish we would get beyond the point where who you are attracted to sexually or whether you identify with a gender different from your sex even matters to anyone. The inclusion of those like that in fiction is good in theory, but when inclusion for the same of inclusion happens you can often lose the character.
In the instance of Culber and Staments I don’t see that happening in the first few seasons. The new characters have lost because they focus on what shouldn’t even matter in the century it takes place in. Trans shouldn’t be an issue. Gay shouldn’t be an issue. There should never be a need to have to tell anyone what you are and who attracts you.
If we take a character who is not cis and not straight we need to design a character first and then decide what they are in the least important ways. I think content of character matters way more than the other things. I don’t care if you are a Trans woman who sees themselves as pansexual, what do you do for society? Are you a good person? That’s what matters. The idea that the other things actually do is nonsense.
I mean, I get it. You want to be included and feel validated. I just think we are losing what truly matters when we focus on these things. I myself AM Trans. But that shouldn’t matter to you. I just point it out because we have this silly notion that in order to have an opinion you must belong to the group.
There’s a difference between LGBTQ+ issues “mattering” and those issues being a problem. It’s a part of their identity and will always matter. It’s just not a source for prejudice and discrimination in the Star Trek future. One of the issues is that no matter how enlightened a society is on the topic, people will always have to come out and state their pronoun preferences, unless everyone just starts developing telepathic powers. It’s not quite the same, but similar to how people with dietary restrictions and allergies have to ask about the menu at restaurants. It’s not about loudly declaring those aspects of one’s life, so much as letting people know when it’s actually need-to-know information.
Yeah, it would be great that orientation or gender identity didn’t matter. The problem is, it does, and in a negative way for those individuals with a strong bias against. A bar in Wyoming near where Matthew Shepard was tortured and killed made news for selling tee shirts advocating harm to the LGBTQ community. They were pretty unapologetic about it, as well. Further, you can’t brush that off as an outlier. So, I’ll have to disagree, positive representation does matter. There are groups wanting to redefine slavery as something it wasn’t in this country, If identity groups can’t define their own narrative, history tells us things usually end poorly for them.
Is Discovery doing a “The Deadly Years” sequel with Anthony Rapp? Are they telegraphing a plot point there, or is it just fashion photographers being fanciful?
Stamets and Culber are my favorite Trek couple, next to Tom and B’Elanna.
It’s been great seeing inclusion in Disco. I love all these characters and I can’t wait to see them in the last half of S4.