Star Trek Franchise To Be Honored With Visionary Award At Outfest Legacy Awards

(Getty/Matt Doyle)

The Star Trek franchise is again being honored for its history of representation, this time at the 2022 Outfest Legacy Awards. And Discovery’s Wilson Cruz will be there to represent the franchise.

Star Trek at Outfest 2022

Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization whose impact promotes empathy for the global Queer community, careers in the entertainment industry, and the exhibition/preservation of LGBTQIA+ and underrepresented stories and voices, announced that they will honor the entire Star Trek franchise with the Visionary Award at the 2022 Outfest Legacy Awards. The Visionary Award recognizes creative or artistic contributions to LGBTQIA+ and media visibility. As entertainment continues to imagine new and fantastic worlds, the Star Trek franchise has led the charge in including fully-realized LGBTQIA+ characters and stories in its universe.

“As a self-proclaimed proud ‘Trekkie’ I have always been enamored with the Star Trek universe, originating with Gene Roddenberry’s original canon, that has been created and expanded by so many visionaries, artists and talent, both above and below line,” stated Outfest Executive Director Damien S. Navarro in a statement. “We are excited to celebrate the dozens of ‘ahead-of-their time’ films, series, animation, games, art, and graphic novels that continue to feature some of the most well-rounded diverse and queer characters and their storylines.”

This year’s Visionary Award will be presented by Nikki Santoro, IMDb Chief Operating Officer. Star Trek: Discovery’s Wilson Cruz will accept on behalf of the Star Trek franchise.

Wilson Cruz as Culber and Anthony Rapp in season four of Star Trek: Discovery

The 2022 Outfest Legacy Awards will be held at Paramount Studios on Saturday, October 22nd, presented by IMDb and Genesis Motor America. The 40th anniversary celebration will include special appearances by Fran Drescher, Javicia Leslie, Ronen Rubinstein, Rafael Silva, Brian Michael Smith, and special performances by Tolliver and DJ Cquestt. Michaela Jaé Rodriguez (2019 Trailblazer recipient) will be presenting the 2022 Trailblazer Award to Janelle Monáe.

The Outfest Legacy Awards has also partnered this year with ABC On the Red Carpet to feature both of these powerful honoree spotlights from this year’s awards show as well as a 15-minute edited version that will be shared across the eight ABC-owned television stations’ social and digital channels on Sunday, October 30th, 2022.

For more details or info on how to attend, visit

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While I don’t like how Discovery has handled most of its LGBT+ characters, the diversity and visibility of the talent from the community that it has employed is heartwarming. And SNW and Lower Decks have done their part as well, building on a Berman era foundation which had a couple notable strides but mostly was too timid to appreciably explore relationships that weren’t heteronormative. The beauty of Star Trek is how it can matter-of-factly portray diversity and inclusion in an aspirational future which means the world to the underrepresented.

SNW and Lower Decks portray diversity matter-of-factly. Unfortunately Discovery shoves it down our throats. They’re not characters who happen to be part of the LGBTQ community. They’re LGBTQ first, who happen to be Starfleet officers. I just find Paradise is trying to push her agenda and using the show as a vehicle.

Hot lady: matter of fact
Married gay couple: shoved down our throats (guess we’re not doing phrasing)

No, married gay couple is fine and I was glad it was so well done. A lot of the rest wasn’t. Example, Gray is only there for the inclusivity aspect. They’re a totally useless and annoying character.

Sigh. Always one.

Yah, always one.

In what specific ways do you not like how DSC has handled its LGBTQ+ characters?

Locking this thread as it descends into trolling.

Deserved. :)

Congratulations on the recognition. Representation matters.

I love Wilson Cruz! Stamets and Culber are my second favorite couple in Star Trek. (First goes to B’Elanna Torres and Tom Paris) Modern trek has done an amazing job with representing different communities and cultures. I believe Gene Roddenberry would have been proud.

To answer Eric, I don’t think Discovery is doing justice to most of its LGBT+ characters on the page.

They started off so well with Culber and Stamets brushing their teeth together. Beautiful, mundane, utterly touching representation. Then Culber dies and becomes a Bury Your Gays trope. Cruz was not contracted to come back until after the backlash. Could be a coincidence, but the resurrection via mycelial network was… suspiciously convoluted. And now, the domesticity of this couple is ringing false as they have to rattle off clumsy expository dialogue that doesn’t ring true about their adoptive children with whom they haven’t spent nearly enough time forming believable bonds. It’s a shame. As individual characters they are fine, just not particularly compelling to me.

Adira started off with real promise, and Blu del Barrio is a good actor, though I didn’t love how belabored Adira’s trepidation about their pronouns was. I’m not saying it was long and drawn out, but for a show set in the 31st century it felt wrong to have Adira not matter-of-factly correct Stamets and move on, as if he’d just mispronounced their name. That takes some of the sheen off such a momentous scene for me. Adira is frustrating now though because they’ve somehow become less confident and more nervous and anxious as the show has progressed, and it doesn’t work for me. I’m delighted Gray is MIA as well because the two of them have zero chemistry.

Gray is barely a character, rather he is a walking “being seen” metaphor, and a clumsy one at that. I just don’t like when characters are used as props when they really just need to be people. He has no personality, since “blandly supportive and grateful” does not constitute a character makeup. He should be allowed to be quirky, funny, dangerous, angry, charismatic… i.e. a mix of the traits real people have.

Reno is great. Not defined by her sexuality, but proudly representing the community while embodying a well-defined character.

Detmer is… well, I can’t say anything about her because all we know is that Emily Coutts is gay and loves her character, but said character has barely been sketched out. Even her PTSD was mostly just an excuse to give Culber a sense of professional purpose.

I personally don’t like Tilly at all but I do like Mary Wiseman, so that’s another mixed bag for representation to me.

And again, I love that the community and its entire spectrum is so overwhelmingly represented on and off-screen. But the show is not always doing us a service by offering up characters who feel like symbols or tokens rather than real people, which is what we actually need. The show is often written with an attitude akin to, “Well we’re all liberals here, amiright?” and that actually feels rather condescending to me at times, as if they think just by showing up they’ve done plenty. That may be huge for Star Trek, but the rest of television is moving very quickly to give their LGBT+ characters proper depth.

Absolutely spot on!

It’s amazing how MUCH we agree on ALL of these character issues, even down to the Tilly vs. Mary Wiseman perception! 😲 Almost spooky… but I guess ’tis the season for that! 🎃👻

I hope that some of the powers that be are lurking around these parts from time to time and take note (though, they don’t strike me as too concerned about their fans’ opinions, unfortunately). So very well stated – thank you! 😊👍

Congratulations to “Discovery” for being recognized for representation of LGBTQ+ characters. Kudos to the actors who play these characters so well.

Star Trek has struggled with a “bury the gay” trope. Gay character Culber (played by the actor who is accepting this award) and transgender character Gray were killed off in “Discovery.” Both are miraculously brought back to life in later episodes, so I guess that’s progress.

Star Trek can also struggle to represent people who are outside of the idealized, stereotypical “good guy” Star Trek character. Thinking now of Ruon Tarka in season 4 of “Discovery.” He had several strikes against him, including being gay. He also had other issues that neither Starfleet nor the Federation attempted to address, even though he worked for the Federation and they desperately needed his scientific genius. His story arc ends (presumably) with his suicide, which is disturbing and was unnecessary for the resolution of the main plot.

I say bring Tarka back, reunite him with his lost love, and lighten up his disposition. His technological genius and complex personality could contribute delightfully in so many ways to future story lines.