The New Star Trek Series’ Captain Should Be Gay

The franchise had a reputation for progressive storytelling. It’s time to reclaim the mantle.

It was recently announced that a new Star Trek show was in development, which ignited the hearts of the franchise’s fans who have been sitting through a drought of new material since Star Trek: Enterprise went off the air in 2005. While we have our own ideas about how the new Star Trek show should be approached on a creative level, we can’t help but come to another conclusion:

The new series’ lead character should be gay.

Why do you believe the captain should be gay?

TOS crew

Star Trek is all about breaking down the barriers of society in an effort to bring us together in favor of a vision that transcends current cultural boundaries. When Gene Roddenberry envisioned the United Federation of Planets, he saw a place where every race, religion, and sexual orientation was accepted without question. After all, it’s no accident the command crew of the original Enterprise was multicultural – an edict that every Trek series since has followed.

Celebrity City

In fact, when Star Trek was at the height of its popularity in the 1990s the producers made sure to make the leads of Deep Space Nine and Voyager a black man and a woman. Unfortunately, Star Trek: Enterprise went with another white male as its lead in an attempt to associate itself with the heyday of Captain Kirk. While Scott Bakula is a tremendous actor who was great as Captain Archer… it kind of felt like a step back, especially when Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell were leading the cast of the new Battlestar Galactica. When the 2009 Trek reboot chose to focus on Kirk again, in many ways it was an even bigger step back.

But despite the later missteps of the franchise, it always kept its progressive reputation as a whole. However, even with a laudable diversity among the franchise’s leads they all had one thing in common:

They were all straight.

Why is it important the next Starfleet captain be gay?

The franchise, in addition to promoting diversity, has always been  pushing the boundaries of the current social and political climate with its stories. In 1968, The Original Series episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” featured the first televised interracial kiss between William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols. Almost 30 years later, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had an episode that featured the fifth televised lesbian kiss in a decade that took place when the Gay Rights movement was gaining more exposure than ever before.

Uhura_and_Kirk_kiss

Despite all the progress we’ve made, there are many hot button topics that still remain such as gays serving in the military. What better way to combat the fears and stereotypes than having a major TV show that features a capable, confident, and respected high ranking member in what is essentially a space military who just happens to be gay?

How could it be done well?

The same way Benjamin Sisko and (for the most part) Kathryn Janeway were written. Sisko’s most defining traits were his cunning, that he was a single father, and the fact he was an amazing chef. Janeway was defined by her insatiable curiosity and her guilt about getting her crew stranded far from home. Outside of some very rare exceptions, Sisko and Janeway were never the black and woman captains: they were the captain who won the Dominion War and the captain made the impossible journey home in the same way Kirk was an explorer, Picard was a diplomat, and Archer helped found the Federation.

ben sisko

We don’t care if the next captain is a man or a woman (though it would be great to see another woman captain), but it’s time Star Trek gave audiences another role model who can navigate ethical crises, think through moral dilemmas, win space battles, and accomplish the impossible on a weekly basis… and also just happens to be gay.

As we said in our previous article, it’s important that this new show embrace the spirit of Star Trek. This is just another way of doing that, but also a way of bringing that spirit into the modern era in a conduct that both timely and ageless in the way only Star Trek can be.

8 Comments

  1. Star Trek has always challenged conventions giving hope for a new, braver, and far more prosperous future! For instance, there was an episode that described that most criminal behavior had been cured, and that episode inspired me to find the cause and cure for criminal behavior in human beings. The cause of criminal behavior is a pheromone deficiency. 1/4th gram of healthy adult male facial skin surface lipid taken p.o. cures criminal behavior instantly and permanently. I would never have suspected that had I not watched that old original Star Trek episode.
    http://www.independent.academia.edu/BubbaNicholson

  2. I propose the next Star Trek be a Nazi from Germany. After all, since equality must come into play, there has never been a Deutsch National Socialist member captain, just like there has never been a gay captain. Perhaps, the gay transvestite can be the first officer, then get a spin off series running a homosexual space station.

    1. Why from Germany? Do you know how many Nazis there are from all over the world? But nooooo, all we ever hear about are the stupid Germans. We need more Nazi diversity, people.

  3. That’s the way to re-engineer the series… fuck with the premise to the point that nobody recognizes it when they watch it. Worked for the Fan4Craptic Four movie. Oh wait. Let’s recast all the characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender to be White & Hindus. Oh wait. How about the Wonder Woman series pilot episode in 2011? Oh wait. Keep fucking that chicken morons and you’ll never have this series survive.

  4. I realize this is an old post, but for some reason it just showed up in my feed. I just wanted to say that even better than a gay captain would be a captain who just happens to be trans. There have to be many very talented trans actors and actresses out there who would do well in this role. It would be tempting to name one we already know (like the beautiful and talented trans woman from OITNB whose name I don’t recall), but it would be far more interesting and socially beneficial to introduce us to someone previously unknown to stardom. The more individuals from misunderstood groups the public is made aware of, the less misunderstood they become. Perhaps being a North Carolinian, where the non-issue of trans people and public bathrooms reared its ugly head and became a big issue, has had an effect on me.

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