Netflix’s new sci-fi offering is Star Trek Discovery and it’s pretty groundbreaking with its representation of minorities in media – and includes the introduction of a gay couple.
The introduction of gay characters in the mainstream Star Trek universe is a relatively new idea – there was the introduction of Hikaru Sulu’s partner and daughter in the film Star Trek: Beyond, although it was a glancing scene – which didn’t expand on their story.
Star Trek: Discovery has changed this by putting two guys, in prominent roles, into a relationship with each other. The characters are Lt. Paul Stamets and Chief Medical Officer Hugh Culber.
In Episode 5 the couple is introduced as they brush their teeth in their quarters and discuss their day. A pretty average scene, but fantastic in its representation of a gay couple as really typical.
Fans of the series remarked how great it was finally getting representation on Star Trek.
— Danny James 🏳️🌈 (@Dannytastic) October 17, 2017
— David Geary (@davidcgeary) October 17, 2017
— Jen Ham (@JenHam1701) October 17, 2017
— Marcus Biel (@MarcusBiel) October 16, 2017
Treating gay relationships like any other
Explaining their relationship, the actor Anthony Rapp, who plays Stamets said,
“I’m really excited and happy when a gay character is a part of a story — especially when a gay character is created in a complex and human and non-stereotypical, interesting way, and that has certainly been the case with Stamets,
“And you get to see his relationship. There was a little glimpse with Sulu in Beyond, and it was a nice nod.
“But in this case, we actually get to see me with my partner in conversation, in our living quarters, you get to see our relationship over time, treated as any other relationship would be treated.”
Are the actors who play Stamets and Culber gay in real life?
Anthony Rapp who plays Lt. Paul Stamets in Star Trek: Discovery said in a 1997 interview with Oasis magazine, that he identified as “queer” rather than “gay” saying that, “I don’t want to get into labels, but I’ve never labelled myself except to say I’m queer. The thing that’s been most important to me to be out about is that I have been in loving relationships with men…I haven’t said ‘I am gay.’ Because the truth is that I’ve also been in love with women, although the truth is I do think I’m primarily homosexual…”
Wilson Cruz, who plays Chief Medical Officer Hugh Culber identifies as gay and is an LGBT+ advocate and even joined the board of directors of GLAAD in 1997. In 2012 he became the National Spokesperson and Strategic Giving Officer at the organisation.
You can watch Star Trek: Discovery now on Netflix