One of my favourite franchise is Star Trek, a futuristic saga that tackles a variety of social issues such as racism, queerphobia, misogyny, war, etc… through allegory, time travel, and my favourite, depicting a society that no longer faces these issues at large. Unfortunately one of the weaker areas of the franchise has been its depiction of queer persons. The strongest episode in this area comes from the fan series Phase II, which produced after two 1/2 decades of being suppressed, two episodes focused on the AIDS crisis and revolving around the character of Kirk’s gay nephew. These are two really strong episodes. The rest of the batch tend to use allegory or place the queerness onto an alien species, making it more palatable for the straight human audience.
I want to see a vison of the future that isn’t dominated by whiteness and cishetness. Where the natural variance in human expression and love is seen, heard, and explored. Sadly at this point, despite whatever the new series Discover may do for queer representation, in terms of overall world building it is too late for Star Trek. Over its many series and through the use of time travel Star Trek has depicted humanity’s future from the 22nd century all the way to the 30th, and during all that time the traditionally masculine characters are men, the traditional femme characters are women, there have been no openly queer main characters, and no representation of how sex and gender are oppressive social constructs. So I will still watch the new show, but I think we might need something entirely new- free of Star Trek’s historical muck that can depict humanity in its true magnificence.
(The following is a list of the queer ST episodes for those interested.)
Blood & Fire – Star Trek: Phase II (semi-official fan-series)
The Outcast – TNG
Rejoined – DS9
Chimera – DS9
The Host – TNG
Stigma – Enterprise