Star Trek Online posted a blog post
a couple of days ago.
I felt a need to reply, because I saw a good bit of rose-tinted glasses, and if there's one thing I can't stand to do, it's not shatter people's rose-tinted glasses. I might be a little unpleasant that way.
Star Trek, especially in its early days, was a beacon of progressive thought in race and ethnic relations. The diversity of the crew of Kirk’s Enterprise was a breath of fresh air, and the only real problem there - apart from Mr. Roddenberry’s occasionally problematic ideas on gender - was that the core cast consisted of two white Americans and an alien.
It continued to do amazing things as far as race goes into its later series. Possibly the most poignant statement on race relations, and the continued fight for equality, that I have ever seen in a scripted series was Far Beyond the Stars, one of the finest episodes of television ever made. Avery Brooks’s influence on Deep Space Nine was a wonderful thing.
Unfortunately, the last two decades have made very clear that Star Trek has little interest in addressing sexual orientation in a way that was anywhere near as enlightened as its approach to race. Only a few times are questions regarding orientation and gender identity brought up - the episode with Riker mentioned by the blog, the first Trill story involving Crusher, and the episode with Dax and Kahn in DS9. This, during the rise of the gay rights movement to national prominence - during a time for the fight for LGBT equality that mirrored where the civil rights movement was during the run of the original series!
Even more troubling is the fact that, to this day, there is not a major Star Trek character, in the canon of the Prime timeline, of the Abrams timeline, or of Star Trek Online, who is explicitly anything but a straight, cisgender individual.
I love Star Trek, but, as far as sexual orientation goes, it has been anything but a shining beacon of progress and inclusion. It has been aggressively and deliberately exclusionary, through its entire history. It has been, at best, cowardly on the issue of sexual orientation, retreating from every opportunity to join the dialogue.
For a franchise that was so daring on racial issues, it has been disappointingly craven on LGBT rights, and Star Trek Online has been no exception.
I absolutely applaud Stonewall’s work, and intend to participate in their Pride celebration, but it was necessary to point out the rose-tinted glasses through which this blog post views the franchise.