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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.


Star Trek Needs a Gay Character and Here’s How to Do It: One Trekkie’s Proposal

I love Star Trek. I don’t think there’s any franchise more central to my geek life. There’s a lot of unreal universes out there that I enjoy learning about, but I’m sure there’s none that I would more like to actually live in than the optimistic idea of our future that is Star Trek.

The ’60s-produced original series included a woman of color bridge officer who was cited as an inspiration by Mae Jemison (who became the first black woman in space) and Whoopi Goldberg (who ended up a Star Trek star herself). The more recent series’ increased speculative-science focus led Stephen Hawking, on a visit to the Next Generation set, to say “I’m working on that” when passing the warp core prop.

There’s so much to feel positive about in Star Trek, and over the decades it’s generally done a fine job of showing us how we could, and should, be. But there’s one particular area of social justice that the franchise has failed to live up to its standards on, and it remains a blight on the series in my estimation. I’m talking about the fact that there has never, despite years of promises and false starts, been an openly gay or lesbian character in the canon Star Trek universe.

But I have a proposal to change that. J.J. Abrams, if you’re listening, I think you should make Sulu gay.

Before I explain why and how I think making Sulu gay in the new film series makes sense, it’s worth examining Star Trek‘s complicated but ultimately disappointing history with this topic. There have been a few attempts to allegorically address LGBT issues that have been mostly muddled and at times completely counterproductive.

There’s the Deep Space Nine episode “Rejoined,” which is understandably remembered most as a stereotypical “lesbian kiss episode.” But in fact it’s probably the best LGBT-themed Star Trek episode ever. It features the possibility of two female alien characters (both of whom used to be in different host bodies, were formerly married, and who are prohibited by their society from re-associating for reasons unrelated to gender) getting back together. There’s no mention of gender anywhere in the episode.

There’s Lieutenant Hawk in Star Trek: First Contact, who was rumored to be shown as gay but ended up as a standard, heterosexual (as stated by producer Rick Berman), dead, redshirt. There’s the Enterprise episode “Stigma,” which draws a bizarre parallel between homosexuality and mind melding that is both too simplistic and a dramatic departure from how mind melds are defined elsewhere in Star Trek.

And then there’s the Next Generation episode “The Outcast,” which was meant to be that series’ biggest statement on LGBT rights. But the story, about an alien from a genderless society that wants to be female (and is in love with Commander Riker) always struck me as a horribly chosen allegory. Equating gay men or lesbians with a people who want to adhere to traditional gender roles in relationships seems highly misguided to me.

What has not appeared onscreen is a single character who is clearly not heterosexual, as we 21st Century humans understand it, in what’s presented as “our” universe. The last qualifier is necessary because there is, in fact, one example of characters (and main characters at that) being depicted as homosexual or bisexual. But it’s part of what I consider to be the most shameful LGBT-related arc in the franchise, Deep Space Nine’s version of the Mirror Universe.

Yes, the Mirror Universe: the alternate reality that gave us evil bearded Spock in the original series and was revived in Deep Space Nine as a dystopian counterpart to our plane of existence. Everyone in the Mirror Universe is shown to be more or less the opposite of how they are in our universe, and Star Trek tends to make its main characters pretty fundamentally good. So you can imagine what their Mirror versions are like. Which is all good fun – except where sexuality is concerned. Multiple female characters (Kira, Ezri and Leeta) are shown engaging in same-sex romantic/sexual activity in their alternate, evil forms whereas no such inclinations are ever hinted at in the real universe. The unfortunateness of this, I think, speaks for itself.

The lack of any real LGBT characters after 28 TV seasons and 11 feature films is a problem. With no apparent plans for Star Trek to return to TV, the opportunities to remedy this are dwindling. But I don’t think it’s too late. There’s a way to still do this in a way that involves a major character, honors the real-world activism of an original cast member, and on top of that, doesn’t contradict canon. I’ll say it again: Make Sulu gay.

You probably know that George Takei, who played Sulu on the original series, is gay. Success for an Asian-American actor was difficult enough in the ’60s (and things aren’t a lot better today); had his orientation been known at the time it’s hard to imagine him having an acting career at all. I think making Sulu, as played by John Cho, gay in the new movie series would be as fine a tribute to Takei’s life of courage and activism as it would be an erasure of Star Trek‘s longtime no-gay characters blight.

Star Trek Into Darkness is coming out in two short months, so I don’t think we’ll see it there, unless J.J. Abrams is secretly ahead of me. It should be said that that isn’t totally out of the question; he did say in a 2011 interview that he would put the idea of a gay character “in the hopper.” His comments in the same interview about how such a thing would be far more suited to a TV series than a two-hour film, however, don’t give me much hope.

So Sulu probably won’t be shown as gay in Into Darkness, but for the third movie, why not? I don’t advocate a plot point centered around it or almost any overt acknowledgment at all. All it would take would be Sulu holding hands with a man while on shore leave at the film’s beginning or end. Or a shot of him waking up in his quarters with a man next to him. Or even a throwaway single line about an ex-boyfriend, like McCoy had in the first film about his ex-wife.

I’ve written before that fealty to source material from an older time can be detrimental when it comes to issues like the lack of female protagonists in films. So I wouldn’t personally be opposed to making a previously straight character gay in the new movie universe. But if you do happen to be a continuity stickler, there would be little for you to be mad about anyway. All six other main characters had heterosexual love interests at some point in the original series, but Sulu did not.

He did conjure a vision of a beautiful woman in the animated series episode “The Magicks of Megas-Tu,” but A. she disappears before we have any idea what his purpose in doing so was, B. the animated series’ canonicity is dubious, and C. I prefer to imagine that painful example of ’70s shlock never existed anyway.

He does have a daughter, Demora, who appears in Star Trek Generations, but that definitely shouldn’t be seen as an indication of his heterosexuality. Especially in a future which presumably includes increased respect for adoption by gay parents and, for all we know, possibly the technological means to allow gay parents to reproduce.

There’s one thing that makes me tentative about this idea. George Takei does not play Sulu in the new movies, but if such a decision were made the idea of his version being gay as well might become a popular assumption. I think making Sulu gay as a tribute to Takei would be fitting and fun, but I’m also sensitive about the fact that we should not suggest gay actors should play gay characters, and vice-versa. But there’s a perfect reconciliation of this possible issue already present in the series. A gay actor, Zachary Quinto, already plays Spock – who was part of the most significant heterosexual relationship in the first film.

Establishing Sulu as gay in the new movie series in a subtle this-is-just-a-normal-part-of-life way is Star Trek‘s best, and possibly last, chance to eliminate an enduring blot on an otherwise excellent franchise when it comes to social issues. So make it happen, J.J.

Dan Wohl blogs about baseball for a living, and he also owns Star Trek books, Star Trek T-shirts, Star Trek figurines, Star Trek pins, Star Trek video games, Star Trek Pez dispensers, and Star Trek christmas ornaments. He would love for you to follow him on Twitter: @Dan_Wohl.

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  • Anonymous

    I think this is a fantastic idea. It would be a very nice tribute to Takai. I almost feel like it would work better with Chekhov, though. I just wish it wasn’t in the hands of JJ Abrams.

  • Anonymous

    “And then there’s the Next Generation episode “The Outcast,”
    which was meant to be that series’ biggest statement on LGBT rights. But
    the story, about an alien from a genderless society that wants to be
    female (and is in love with Commander Riker) always struck me as a
    horribly chosen allegory. Equating gay men or lesbians with a people who
    want to adhere to traditional gender roles in relationships seems
    highly misguided to me.”

    How about this instead:

    “Star Trek is one of the few, possibly only, mainstream TV series to address sexuality in this way. They explored treating others equally and letting them be who they wanted to be, regardless of their culture’s standards. Since Star Trek has been off the air, no other series has explored those topics in the same way. Somehow, it took fiction and fantasy to explore and discuss topics that we can’t do in reality.”

    Fixed for you.

  • Anonymous

    This is a great and well-reasoned article. I hope The Powers That Direct, in the words of the eternal captain, MAKE IT SO.

  • Vic Horsham



  • Jonathan Schultz

    sadly it would contradict current Cannon as Sulu’s daughter was in Generations, Now I’m not saying that he couldn’t be bi but seriously gay? no

  • Keith DeCandido

    For what it’s worth, the Star Trek tie-in fiction (of which I’ve written quite a bit) has been much more inclusive of gay characters. The Starfleet Corps of Engineers series — which ran from 2000-2007 as an eBook series, with most of the stories now in print form as well — included an openly gay person as one of the main characters (the ship’s linguist/cryptographer, Bart Faulwell), and the Titan series that is still ongoing — featuring Captain Riker on his new ship post-NEMESIS — has a gay chief of security. In fact, the latter character, Ranul Keru, was the lover of Sean Hawk (the redshirt from FIRST CONTACT). And there’s bunches of other examples as well.

  • Marina Rice

    Wasn’t Garak bisexual? He had a very strong connection with Bashir. Even stronger than he had with Ziyal, his straight love interest. And without delving into spoilers, that romance didn’t last.

    Granted, he sort of fits the stereotype of being a bit ‘dark’, but he was an insanely complex character. Obviously a more clarified example in Star Trek would be nice, but I feel like he’s at least worth a mention.

  • Kellie Fonzarelli Fitzgerald

    Well researched and reasoned. I agree.

  • Rick Bman

    Because there are no gay people with children?

  • Brinn

    That episode seems more like an allegory for trans identity moreso than homosexuality, at least to me. I can see it was intended to function as an allegory for homosexuality, but Soren wanting to display gender different from society’s view seems more like trans to me. And the fact that Riker was attracted to her seemed to reinforce that Sore ‘s gender identity was perfectly normal.

  • Ron Morris

    Okay, Sulu is a character that George Takei plays. George Takei happens to be gay, and played a heterosexual on the show. You have given absolutely no valid reasoning why the character that an actor made famous should be the same orientation as the actor. How is that a tribute? Hello, he’s playing a role! Isn’t is a greater tribute to Mr Takei’s acting prowess that he so convincingly played a heterosexual character?
    Furthermore, why? Why should there be a gay character on the bridge of the Enterprise? Isn’t it possible that the bridge crew just happens to all be heterosexual? I think your argument is just an attempt to appear as a hero to gay people. For that matter, why a gay guy? Why not a lesbian, or a bisexual?
    All I’m on about is, we all know how gay-friendly the Star Trek future is and that’s a big reason why it’s such an optimistic appraisal of mankind’s future. Gene Roddenberry inspired the audience every way he could to increase tolerance
    How about we just respect Roddenberry’s vision of the future as one of equality and acceptance, and not rewrite all of his characters.

  • Rick Bman

    According to Andrew Robinson: “I had planned Garak not as homosexual or heterosexual but omnisexual, and the first episode I had with Bashir played that way gave people fits. So I had to remove that characteristic from him.”

  • Lisa Lacey Liscoumb

    What I like about your argument the most is how you propose to show it – nothing overt, no great, huge focus, just a reference, handhold, whatever. In other words, treat it as something common and everyday (but special, nonetheless) not as some big “Ohmigod we have to draw attention to this” deal.

  • Vic Horsham

    Given that we’re talking about a universe with cloning, genetic engineering and human/alien hybrid families, I don’t see any reason they couldn’t also have gay people having children. Hell, medicine is working RIGHT NOW on making it possible for two gay women to combine eggs to produce their own genetic offspring. And that’s assuming a sci-fi method, rather than just say, having a surrogate mother a-la Kira in DS9.

  • Andrew Pienkos

    I disagree with the reading on Mirror Universe in DS9. Not all of the characters are evil, likewise not all of the same sex attraction should be read as evil. Certainly the Ezri/Leeta implication wasn’t about evilness. I think most of the characters on DS9 (and in Starfleet in general) struggle with a certain moral rigidity, which prevents them from being honest with any sexual feelings. The job comes first, romantic or sexual relationships a distant second. The mirror universe turns that on its head. Granted, it’s not the most sophisticated portrayal in the Trek universe, but it was always meant to be a campy nod to TOS mirror universe, so I think it’s fitting.

  • Erin W

    Between “The Outcast” and the inherent gender fluidity of the Trill, I think Star Trek unintentionally did a good job showing trans stories.


    That was certainly my thought. As Rick Bman said it was squashed by higher-ups who were distressed by the subtext. Apparently Andrew Robinson and Alexander Siddig are pretty open about the way they wanted that subtext to play out when they talk about it with fans, though.

    Garak is ALWAYS worth a mention.

  • Scott R. Johnston

    and to think i shared this before reading it fully (thinking) that i shared your deep concern for visibility and presence for LBGT characters within Treks’ worlds. In fact I agree completely with that – and even respect the concept you put forward re: the Sulu idea… and then i read your article in full and discovered (to my horror) that you hate the Animated series… wha-?

    Listen – sure it had some serious limitations, sure. but – where IS the only episode that has Spock, Sulu and Uhuru on an adventure? That’s right: The Slaver Weapon (penned by Larry Niven) dammit! and ‘the Time Trap’ that didn’t suck. Anyway – to each their own i reckon, and yes, i still support the visibility of a gay character in the 23rd century.

  • Anonymous

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm – as a gay m’self I would like to see someone in Trek be out. I’m not sure about Sulu though. I know that the new movies are a reboot but they’re a sort of weird time-space continuum reboot of the original characters and I think longstanding fans of the series might take exception to Sulu being gay after decades of shows, movies, and books featuring him.

    There is also a very real challenge for people right now in being able to separate an actor’s sexuality from a characters. A delightful exception seems to be Zachary Quinto who has been embraced as a hetero onscreen by fandom (a rare thing).

    I like the idea of a GLBT Trek character, I just think she or he will see more success as an original character rather than an original crew member.

  • Countermass

    I understand your opinion about Takei/Sulu, but why so angry about the idea that there could be a gay character on the bridge crew? And why so negative towards a gay charakter – gay is “icky” but lesbians are “just fine for me to watch” *drool* and bisexuals are “at least partly normal”? Is it all about that you’re uncomfortable seeing two guys holding hands, but two gals getting “hot action” are just fine?

    We had Lesbians and also kind of bisexual character appearences in StarTrek – but a gay one? Not that I remeber.

    It’s time for a gay character or several LGBT characters to be noticed in StarTrek. It’s a future without opression and without fear of the LGBT Minority. For this reason I always thought that at least bisexuality should be more common in StarTrek.

  • Magic Xylophone

    Oh my. Nice idea, but to be honest I’m not sure Cho can pull it off. I was sure that lady engineer whose Holodeck facsimile Geordi falls in love with would turn out to be gay in the episode where she turns up in the flesh, but nope, married.

  • Anonymous

    I understand your desire to not mess with Roddenberry’s vision too much, but honestly, JJ Abrams has so totally changed the key characters and completely fucked Roddenberry’s vision, that making Sulu gay is a really minor revision.

  • Magic Xylophone

    Isn’t it kinda crummy to retcon the kid’s mother into not existing or being a surrogate just for the sake of adding some gayness?

  • Magic Xylophone

    After so much shipping of Spock and Kirk, Quinto’s sexuality is more or less consistent with fanon.

  • Liars Never Win

    In the future they have cured gayness with genetic modification Q.E.D

  • Magic Xylophone

    Why, is Jabrams a homophobe?

  • Dan Wohl

    No mother of Demora/partner of Sulu ever appeared onscreen.

  • Erin Carr

    I think they do address Trans identity, at least in TNG. How many episodes are there with a man walking around in a dress in the background? So we know they wanted to be supportive, at least.

  • Samantha Port

    YES. PERFECT. I’m not a huge Star Trek fan by any means, but I’m slowly getting into it, and you clearly know your stuff. What a wonderful, thought-out, well-worded argument for this.

  • Erin W

    If you mean the skirt style uniforms, the producers have said in books and such that those were just meant to show that skirts and dresses had become unisex clothing.

  • Countermass

    “In the future they have cured douchebaggery with genetic modification Q.E.D”
    fixed that for you.

  • Lisa Lacey Liscoumb

    And, in fact, there was no mention of how she was conceived and no mention that Sulu was married, in a relationship or just sleeping with someone.

  • Elisabeth Day

    Why is it that when a media franchise doesn’t have any LGBTQ character of any sort, some people (*cough* cis gays and straight people *cough*) always say they need a “gay or lesbian” character?

    I suppose having a bisexual or trans* character first would violate the queer hierarchy and be considered a failure. Or are bi and trans* folk “really just gay” anyway?

  • Elisabeth Day

    You are a bigot.

  • Elisabeth Day

    What exactly does “men in dresses” have to do with “trans identity”? This comment is extremely insulting. Think before you write.

  • Aeryl

    How do we know “how gay-friendly the Star Trek future is” when there hasn’t been a single gay character to represent that future reality? You are extrapolating that because racism and sexism are (allegedly) relics of the bygone days(this is not actually demonstrated, we have plenty of diverse environments and plenty of racism and sexism going around NOW), homophobia is too. If that’s the case, why are you so threatened by that “reality”?

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  • Anonymous

    I agree with every word of Dan Wohl’s article. Making Sulu gay seems like a great idea to me. I am a longtime Star Trek fan, and fan of George Takei. I would like to know what he thinks about it. I am not gay, so I would like to hear more thoughts from gay Trekkies, particularly about whether they prefer the first gay character to be a new character introduced that way.

  • Anonymous

    Good point. I’m still waiting to see my first asexual character of any kind. I got excited for a minute when they had an episode of House featuring asexual guest characters, but then he “debunks” them as a liar and a victim of illness. Thanks a lot House writers.

  • Mordicai

    Oh man last time I used that “modest proposal” line people were all over me because the post wasn’t satirical! Head’s up, they’re coming this way!

    Also, a gay Sulu would be fantastic. Wait, can he & Chekov be an item?

  • Countermass

    No wonder the saying is: “the T in LGBTQ is silent” – people seam to forget there are “the others” as well.
    But nontheless I would prefer (as a start) a gay or trans character, because we have already seen lesbians and bisexuals in StarTrek. And an asexual character (not an android) would be nice too.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Seriously?! That’s horrible! (And a bit ironic, given the oft-debated asexual identity of Sherlock Holmes.)

  • Anonymous

    This. The whole “everyone who’s good in the main Trek universe is evil in the mirror universe, and vice versa” is a gross oversimplification, and wasn’t even true in the TOS episode “Mirror, Mirror”; Spock wasn’t evil (even though he did use the agonizer on one crewman) as much as he was a pragmatist who accepted the way things were as more or less inevitable until Kirk convinced him otherwise. Similarly, both mirror-Sisko and mirror-Ezri are mercenaries who decide to join the rebellion, and mirror-Leeta was always on the good guys’ side; Wohl’s contention otherwise just shows that he didn’t pay close attention to “The Emperor’s New Cloak”, which also had Rom lampshading the problem with taking the good/evil character flip thing too literally.

  • Anonymous

    No, just a hack.

  • Anonymous

    This topic has been discussed many times before, and, frankly, your take on it isn’t very good. You state that “What has not appeared onscreen is a single character who is clearly not heterosexual, as we 21st Century humans understand it, in what’s presented as “our” universe,” yet you don’t give any solid reason for dismissing Jadzia Dax in “Rejoined”, unless by “as we 21st Century humans understand it” you really mean “unambiguously non-hetero human.”

    And, really, I’m not trivializing or dismissing that concern, as some people might see the invisibility of LGBT characters in the Trek franchise as a suggestion that somehow homosexuality has been “cured.” And that is why “Rejoined” is such an important episode, because the lack of comment on Jadzia and Lenara’s same-gender attraction or sleeping together shows that same-sex pairings are common and accepted enough that that aspect of it isn’t commented upon; apparently, what has been cured isn’t same-sex attraction, but homophobia.

  • Anonymous

    I was thinking Admiral Pike. Just give him a husband who has some sort of job on Earth and worries whenever Christopher is off doing something dangerous.

  • Alaina Buckley

    Chekov/Sulu forever.

  • Alaina Buckley

    Seems like in the only book that really talks about where Demora came from (which isn’t canon but accepted by a lot of people) the mother was “one night stand who got pregnant and then died”. She didn’t get treated like a real character in the first place.

  • Anonymous

    I’m fairly certain that approximately 78.4%* of all Star Trek fanfic already assumes Sulu is gay. :P

    * Statistics may be made up out of thin air for comedic effect.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    “There is also a very real challenge for people right now in being able to separate an actor’s sexuality from a characters.”

    I don’t think there’s a very real challenge. Look at NPH playing Barney on How I Met Your Mother or as Dr. Horrible. There are (and have always been) plenty of straight people playing gay characters in Hollywood and gay actors playing straight characters. I don’t think it’s a disconnect for the audience at all. I know I thought the chemistry between Uhura and Spock was smoldering and I still do. In Brokeback Mountain both actors were straight and I was easily sucked into the romance and love between their characters.

  • Erin

    Let me make sure I’m understanding you correctly: you’re saying that making Sulu gay would have all the benefits outlined in the article AND would contradict something in Generations, thus effectively retconning that movie out of continuity?

    I’m not seeing the downside here.

  • Anonymous

    Yep. It was about a year ago, so must have been the last season of House. On the bright side, I happened to notice an article about it on afterwards, which led me to find, which was really useful.

  • Chris

    I agree that it is time for a gay main character in Star Trek. I think it’s perfectly in line with Roddenberry’s vision for the future. But I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect Star Trek to have done it 15-20 years ago.

    I also disagree, wholeheartedly, with the idea of changing an established character for the sake of tokenism.

  • Jason Atkins

    I have absolutely no problem with the idea of one of the Enterprise crew being gay. However, I have a couple of reservations about it being Sulu.

    First off, there’s the tokenism aspect of it. In the first movie, Sulu was not a character who was granted an abundance of screen time or development. That may change in the sequel, but at this point he’s still just the “Asian helmsman”. If you were to add homosexuality to his fairly short list of character traits, there’s a risk that he’d seem like the “token gay guy”, particularly given George Takei’s sexuality. One of the worst things you can do in storytelling is remind your audience of outside knowledge: “Sulu is gay because George Takei is gay” is the kind of thought that takes you out of the story… and it just feels like a token gesture.

    The other reservation is the fact that like you point out, Sulu has a daughter. Like you also point out, there’s nothing stopping a gay couple from having children: one glance at Neil Patrick Harris’ twitter feed proves that. Having a daughter doesn’t “prove” that Sulu is straight… but it’s a bad idea to even tempt fate with that kind of thinking. You don’t want people to be thinking “Sulu was straight, but now he’s gay”: what you want people to think is “Oh, this character is gay, okay then.” You don’t want to open the franchise up to the “changing the timeline turned him gay” way of thinking, because that’s just fuel for stupid people to get worked up about stupid things.

    Personally, I think Chekov of Scotty would be better choices.

    Aside from a little sort-of flirting in The Final Frontier (which most Star Trek fans have blocked from their memories), Scotty was not a character who was particularly sexual in either direction: his love affair was with the Enterprise, not anyone else. You could quite easily throw in something about Scotty being into men rather than women in passing, and then move on: it’d be something that registers with audiences, but it wouldn’t be particularly jarring with what they think they know.

    I vaguely remember Chekov and some scantily clad women at one point… but looking to Neil Patrick Harris for inspiration again, when *don’t* you see him surrounded by sexy dancers? Chekov is also one of those characters that really hit it off with audiences in the reboot: he managed to inject some real personality into the role, and escaped from being the token Russian guy. If anyone can be gay without it being a big deal, it’s him: if anything, it’ll probably make the lady fans even more fond of him.

  • Countermass

    Or it’s Pike who is worried occasionally because his husband is a master scientist, rocking his lab with ultra-dangerous bacteria ;-)

  • Countermass

    I don’t see that much problems with a gay Sulu, but a gay Chekov surely had a bonus: Hopefully pissing off the russian government with their anti-lgbt policy or turn some minds over there.

  • Fez Guy

    Eh. I think making Sulu gay in the new movies is too much of real world bleeding into fictional. That said. I want there to be a gay character. Just. . .create a new one!

  • Nick Gaston

    Technically, with the right 23rd century genetic technology, she might not even NEED a mother, just two fathers/donors and a tank.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    I’d like to take a minute to remind everyone the new Star Trek is a reboot and not beholden to the continuity that came before it. Saying this can’t or shouldn’t happen because of x, y. or z in the past series or films is not a logical argument.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, make the Asian guy gay. That’s the EASY fix, isn’t it Mr. Wohl? Amazing how having a gay Asian character is so easily palatable to the average American viewer. Not even a thought as to making McCoy or Scotty gay/pansexual – way too “manly,” right?

    Or perhaps Spock even – now that there are only 10,000 Vulcans left in the universe in Abrahm’s broken timeline, maybe the ratio of males to females is no longer even. When the libido rager of Pun’far rolls around, it’d only be logical to consider pansexual relations if New Vulcan ends up being a sausage fest.

    As for your argument that, because all other six characters had hetero relations in the original series, it falls to Sulu to take up the mantel? And then later point out that Sulu having a daughter on the bridge of the Enterprise B doesn’t imply his heterosexuality? So why doesn’t that standard apply to the other six characters? Because no gay man has ever slept with a woman, nor no lesbian ever lost her gold star? Convenient how you ignored the notion of pansexuality amongst any of the characters.

    You also ignore or dismiss dozens of episodes from the various Star Trek series, never mind the books and other licensed materials, so that you can cling to your faulty initial premise that Star Trek is lacking on the subject of LGBT issues. Devoting a half-dozen paragraphs to multiple citations of LGBT behavior and characters across the entire franchise doesn’t exactly support your hypothesis that Star Trek hasn’t done a good job of addressing those aspects of our culture. And what exactly is wrong with “The Outcast?” Because all you did in your mention of it was to say it was a poorly chosen allegory and then proceed to completely misrepresent the actual premise and message of the episode.

    The fact is, I’d personally be fine if they made Sulu gay or pansexual. But I would be fine if they did that with ANY of the characters. Make them all pansexual, even paragon of fratboy heterosexuality Captain Kirk.

    No, the problem I have with YOUR suggestion that Sulu be gay is that your REASONS why it HAS to be Sulu SUCK; ultimately, they’re simply more of the thinly veiled stereotypes of the Asian male that have been floating around the American media landscape since the U.S. got involved in three consecutive wars in Asia in the 20th Century.

    Anyway, the biggest challenge the Star Trek franchise has ever faced isn’t having a gay character… it’s having a good villain.

  • David B

    I TOTALLY disagree… with all the aggressive hate and repression and torture of gay men in Russia even as I write this – obviously Chekov should be gay. That is meaningful. Sulu being gay is just coded for those that know that Takei is gay.

  • LS

    This is remarkably comprehensive and well written. Well done.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Maybe make Chekov gay? To avoid the whole “gay actors=gay characters” thing?

    Or make them both gay and make fangirls from the past forty-odd years happy.

  • Anonymous

    QUOTE: “Establishing Sulu as gay in the new movie series in a subtle this-is-just-a-normal-part-of-life….”

    So this has nothing to do with making the best creative choice for the franchise or a character but instead is about a political agenda because you want to ram the idea that the gay lifestyle is normal down everyone’s throats as much as possible. Barely 5% of the population is gay while 95% is heterosexual. Yet whenever you read articles like this, and if the gay community had their way in the media, they’d have you believe those numbers are reversed.

    I hate political correctness, especially when people start this kind of nonsense where you just want to strong arm and shoe horn something in for no good reason other than to advance a political agenda.

  • Brian

    Allow me to respond as maturely as this merits:


  • Brian

    I was going to respond to you until you said “lost her gold star”. Seriously? I’d like to read some criticism of this idea that’s not by an idiot, but so far, nothing.

  • Anonymous

    “Ramming [...] the gay lifestyle [...] down everyone’s throats”

    I think I saw that movie.

    The actual stats are between 10% and 30%. Hate to break it to you dude, but it is just a normal part of life.

  • Brian

    They can’t stop. For some reason, anti-gay types are always either having something waved in their faces or crammed down their throats. And we keep making fun of them for phrasing it that way and they just. Don’t. Stop.

  • Anonymous

    It must be some kind of mental block. “Of course no normal person would read it as innuendo! What are you, gay?”

    Though as far as stock phrases go, it’s extremely effective at showing that the person is not worth listening to.

  • Dudewhazzup

    The problem, simply, is that Sulu is not gay. To make Sulu gay, is to rape a character, simply for show. It would help no one

  • Dudewhazzup

    but sulu is not gay

  • Dudewhazzup

    And 87.3 % of books portray Sulu as straight

  • Brian

    Yeah, let’s throw the word ‘rape’ around. That’s not an overreaction.

  • DarkLorh

    doesnt matter, the “hello~” sulu meme that was all over emdia for a while confirms that fans want sulu gay, for the most part.

    besides, what of the books? TV series is all anyone cares about.

  • DarkLorh

    to be fair to JJ, there are much much worse people out there who could have gotten there hands on movie rights, not saying hes GOOD, but hes passable.

    and personally, i woudl be all for a gay Sulu, if only because most every trekkie i know agrees he would be either gay or bi, and at elast soem of them have given reasons other than just Takei being gay.

  • DarkLorh

    i just want sulu to pop his head into chekhov’s quarters and give a “hello~”, that was a media-meme for so long with Sulu/Takei that it needs to happen, if only to make the audience laugh before groaning as they realize what they laughed at.

    though im honestly iffy on a gay chekhov, if only because hes “that other character” when your picking out cast members, much in the same way Sulu is. just seems most people would think “well they only chose him cause they didnt want to choose sulu” which would take any meaning from the choice they amde.

  • DarkLorh

    They say gay, meaning a guy, because lesbian is overdone.

    Face it, in american (and most society in general) female homosexuality is ignored, its “okay” because they dotn have dicks. im beings erious, thats the reasoning given. the arguement ebing men arent supposed to “get it” they are supposed to “give it” and be in the “power” position, that is why there is such a huge stigma for gay MEN over gay WOMEN.

    think about movies, just about anytime you saw a same-sex kiss, what was it? two males? doubtful. about the only show (and i watch ALOT with all the spare time my job gives me) ive seen with gay guys kissing, is Torchwood, and thats played for laughs half the time.

  • DarkLorh

    Kirk not sleep with enough green women in a 2 hour period to satisfy you?

    the chaarcter sin the original show were iffy at ebst in character consistency.

    this was a REBOOT involving the TIMELINE getting shoved, so people grew up in different circumstances than they normally would have, so of COURSE they would behave differently

  • DarkLorh

    Science is already looking at ways for Gay couples to have children, if Sulu and his partner had a surrogate mother, they could have a kid with just their 2 DNA.

  • DarkLorh

    doubtful, Federation is iffy on “people-factories” just look at their views on modified humans, or androids. a surrogate mother is more likely, with DNA from the two fathers ebing used to form and fertilize an egg in the mother who is given suppressors so her immune system doesnt attack the fetus.

  • Anonymous

    Hahahaha! The stats aren’t even close to 10%, That’s always been a myth and has been disproved time and again. And 30%? THIRTY?

    Those are some powerful drugs you’re on.
    Try to come down easy. Don’t hurt yourself.

  • SmokeyPSD

    Yeah, the entire point is that it is a new timeline, ignoring all previous continuity due to the plot point. They left it open to play with the characters in interesting ways, which I hope they do. Pretty much leaving this suggestion to be done pretty easily.

  • Countermass

    You surely know that “homosexual” and “heterosexual” are not boxes but a wide spectrum. It’s all about how people identify themselves. So even if I don’t know the exact numbers, I’m quite sure you don’t know either.

    Sidenote: Because so much bigots like yourself use “gay” as an insult, many gays keep (sadly) a distance from the word, and started calling themselves “queer” or something else. So if it’s about the numbers of gays, not only the ones who identify as “gay” count, but also the males that identify as something else, like queer or (gasp) bisexual – because even if they don’t identify as gay, they have sex with men. And that’s the thing you seem to be afraid of.

    So the numbers of “gays” in the U.S. population are depending on how much of the spectrum you count in, and not on how much you would like them to be gone, douchebag.

    And furthermore: It’s startrek. It’s the future. Once the opression, the stigma and bigots like you are gone, you would bet there are quite a lot more people that are not “exclusive cis hetero”.

    Think about it: Much of your behavior originates from culture, from upbringing. You may not like it, but if homosexuality wouldnt be such a deal and had no stigma in our culture, you may have tried it too ;)

  • Mordicai

    You have a point, I’m just saying, counterpoint, that’d be cuuuuute. Then again, single gay Sulu could be a space swinger to counterpoint Kirk.

  • Ron Morris

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up. Don’t read any anger into what I said toward homosexuality. So not what I said. I never used the word “icky” or even implied it. Don’t put that on me. I was just challenging changing a character’s orientation to ANYTHING, for any reason.

  • Hugh J

    I thought this was put to bed in this episode.

  • Mark Marquis

    Chekov and Scotty both were featured in TOS episodes with female love interests. Either could still be bisexual, I suppose. But Sulu would be the most logical choice. I faintly recall episodes where Sulu appeared quite affected by the sight of a beautiful woman – the same way as other heterosexual crew mates. This is a great article, but I’d like to point out that Star Trek Enterprise was supposed to feature a gay crew member. Malcom Reed even dropped some subtle clues in early episodes that he might be. But the creators quickly nixed that notion by having him “come out” as straight. Star Trek’s best hope for being truly inclusive (it’s already far behind the times, sadly) of future diversity would be to feature a gay central character in an upcoming TV series. And I do think there will be a new Star Trek series down the road. If they don’t include a gay character in that – one that is central to the series and not just a throwaway guest appearance – it will be unforgivable.

  • Mark Marquis

    See my above comment. I vote for a new character. Not retcon of an existing one. A new character allows that character to be more than just a token nod. That character can be a fully realized human being. You know, like most any gay man or woman on the planet currently is.

  • Mark Marquis

    It’s a new timeline, yes, but therein lies a problem. Sulu was still born to the same parents, at the same point in time. He’s still Sulu. And for those of us who are gay, being gay is not something that happens due to circumstance or choice. Having someone’s sexual orientation change because it’s a new timeline is sort of like having someone’s ethnicity change. How would Trek fans feel if Scotty was East Indian in the reboot? This is not a re-imagining of Star Trek, it’s a reboot. It still respects canon. It is just playing with an altered history. This is one of the reasons the whole debate over whether Cumberbatch is playing Khan drives me crazy. The new timeline deviated at Kirk’s birth. Khan was already frozen on a derelict spacecraft at that point. He can’t simply be a skinny British guy because it’s a new timeline. That makes no sense. (may still turn out to be true, but makes no damn sense regardless).

  • Mark Marquis

    In some nerd circles “passable” is binary for “hack”. I don’t agree but it’s how the Internet thinks.

  • Mark Marquis

    You didn’t say those things Ron, so the comparison was not fair. However, I’d like to point out something that you did say. And paraphrase it a bit. Would you be comfortable saying “Why does the bridge crew of the Enterprise feature someone of another race? Why couldn’t they all just be white?” That sort of statement is kind of ridiculous, no? Well, for anyone living in an inclusive society, saying the same of LGBT people is equally ludicrous. Star Trek is supposed to reflect an optimistic future society. A diverse society. The fact that he has never had a central character who is gay is out of step with the way the world is. It’s no more complicated than that. However, I’m totally with you on not making an established character gay.

  • Mark Marquis

    I’m actually encouraged by the fact that it took several comments before a real troll showed up. Times are surely changing. And that just makes the crazy trolls even crazier.

  • Mark Marquis

    People like our friend above would only say these kinds of things on message boards and behind anonymous profiles. Because they are cowards. I’ve confronted enough homophobes in my day to know that when a 6’1″ 205lb gay man gets in their face and asks them to kindly repeat their slur, they back down. The Internet is the last vestige for impotent rage.

  • Mark Marquis

    It always comes down to repressed sexual imagery with these “dudes” doesn’t it?

  • Ryan

    But most of the characters have been retconed in the new movie anyway.

  • Paul Smokey D

    Fair enough, yeah the more I feel about it the more it feels needles to play with an existing character. My other post was more a initial response but I agree with you the interesting device they use while allows some freedom it doesn’t allow them to completely go to town on convention.

    I see a much stronger case to just damn well bring in completely original characters to widen the political spectrum for a modern Star Trek. No harm to preexisting material and just seems healthier.

  • Mark Marquis

    retcon of circumstance. Not of identity.

  • Ryan

    They retconed Kirk’s entire life starting from the moment he was born, completely changed his childhood and thus the person he becomes as well as his entire career turning him into a captain before even graduating from the academy. That changes his identity.

  • Mark Marquis

    Fair enough.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your reply. I checked out your above comment. I think you might be right about Sulu reacting to a beautiful woman, but my memory is fuzzy on that. It would be a tiny retcon, but I’d prefer none. Adding a new gay character would be good no matter which way they go with Sulu.

  • The Doctor

    The doctor. [/end thread]

  • Leah Tedesco

    It would be easier to make any of the established characters bisexual or pansexual than to make them gay or lesbian, although the latter is possible for some of them. It would be great to see trans, intersexed and genderqueer characters, too. I think that it’s more likely that Abrams will choose to make new characters LGBT. A mix of both old and new would be ideal, though.

  • Anonymous

    I always assumed they cured it. Not meaning to be offensive, but when Star Trek was created it was considered a mental disorder. I assumed in-universe they “cured” it, hence no gays.

  • Katie Berger Tremaine

    George Takei *explicitly does not want Sulu to be gay.* In Takei’s mind, Sulu is hetero. He doesn’t like the idea that Sulu has to be gay just because he is (this is all out there on public record).

  • Katie Berger Tremaine

    George Takei *explicitly does not want Sulu to be gay.* In Takei’s mind, Sulu is hetero. He doesn’t like the idea that Sulu has to be gay just because he is (this is all out there on public record).

  • Dan Wohl

    Can you provide a link? I’m curious to hear what he said on this, I hadn’t heard that and I can’t find anything on google.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s an easy answer: Sulu’s bisexual. Sexuality isn’t some on/off switch where you’re either totally gay or totally straight, why can’t Sulu be someone who’s sexually attracted to males and females? That would explain his female relationships in the prime timeline, and allow for homosexual relationships in this one. Besides, for all the talk of the lack of gay characters in media, the lack of bisexuals is just as great.

    “But the story, about an alien from a genderless society that wants to be
    female (and is in love with Commander Riker) always struck me as a
    horribly chosen allegory. Equating gay men or lesbians with a people who
    want to adhere to traditional gender roles in relationships seems
    highly misguided to me.”

    I disagree quite strongly with this assessment: the society in “The Outcast” *enforced* what was to their culture traditional gender roles, in this case, a monolithic gender. The main guest character who fell in love with Riker wanted to break out of that paradigm and embrace a sexual identity their state considered abhorrent, a mutation that needed to be treated.

    The main problem with the episode is all the aliens were played by women, when it would’ve been more powerful if at least some of them were played by men.

  • Aashyma Never Would

    Or we could just canonise the ludicrous amount of subtext between Kirk and Spork?

    No? I’ll just let myself out then.

  • Anonymous

    I just hope it’s a better movie.

  • Countermass

    It “sounded” angry to me, but if I was mistaken I’m sorry for it. Still, Mark is right with his words, and also I see no point to say: “Lesbians? Fine. But Gays? Aww no.” – if you really have no problem with the whole lgbtq spectrum, I don’t get why you prefer lesbians or bisexuals over gays – should be the same for you.

    And sorry, but double standards from hetero guys are common in this: To show hot Lesbians getting it on, is supposed to be fan service for male viewers, to show to guys just kissing is the “decline of the west”.

  • Countermass

    Sadly it is like you said.

    But they will lose on the long run, because rainbow warriors don’t give up… and kicks in their bigot-nuts hurt like hell. At least on of them told me.

  • Zoe Summers

    Why not a lesbian?

  • Wesley Breard

    I’m sick of all the “fandom” wanting this series to be something it isn’t.
    Obviously the Star Trek ‘verse has moved on and probably doesn’t have the same social stigma with homosexuality (ala Mass Effect if you will) but I hate this idea of “we need to have a gay character to show how modern we are, bla bla blahh~” You don’t. I’m perfectly fine and happy with there being such characters (it makes sense, adds diversity, nothing is wrong with being gay…) but when you have to ask for such characters to be added in for the express reasons as stated above, then no, I’m just going to think you sound like a little girl from Tumblr.

  • Greg Spessot

    I’ll possibly get flank for this but here is my personal opinion.

    I don’t think a character should be made gay, for the sake of having a gay character, especially one existing in the universe already. In my humble opinion, saying that “Star Trek needs a gay character” is like saying you need a gay friend, or a black friend, you know to quench a social quota. It accessorizes them, it makes them a fashion accessory, it sells them out.

    If Star Trek were to have a gay character, it should come naturally, it should work, it should not be forced down or tacked on as an afterthought.

    We’re so focused on capitalizing on this social issue that we’re desperate to force it in any way shape or form. It should come naturally, inherently, in that regard I wholeheartedly agree! Star Trek does need a gay character, however I can not agree with how you’re suggesting it be done. Let a new character come, let a new character be built and let a new character exist, as their own.

  • Nick Gaston

    No “people-factories”? Tell that to the Arcturians. ;)

  • Anonymous

    In general though, it is an altered timeline, not an alternate timeline. It is not beholden to the continuity, however, the characters remain fundamentally unchanged. This is different from something like Battlestar where it was a complete reboot.

    I actually think a strongpoint of the article above is that it actually makes sense in some ways given the original source material. If it radically moved away from the original source material, in terms of characterisation as opposed to timeline continuity, I think some fans would have a difficult time accepting it, similar to how some fans are struggling with Nu52 characterisations that are radically different from their Pre-52 counterparts.

    I’m fine with this suggestion. However, I would like (in addition) to see new characters introduced with rich interesting backstories and tapestries to their lives to learn about and experience.

  • PTrek

    I agree; it is clear that Sulu has a daughter, and I think the conversation said something about 5 kids and Kirk asking when he had time for a family. The inference, right or wrong, is that he has a heterosexual family life. Another new character would be better. Why mess with what we already have?

  • Pedro

    Trek was about social commentary and breaking boundaries. It had a ethinic diverse and multi-national cast. The first interracial kiss.

    And If Gene hadn’t died, it would have had a gay character already.

  • Matix DeGaulle

    They retconned his identity(that is, his formative experiences), but not his gender or ethnicity, or other present-from-birth factors. Sexuality falls into the latter group.

  • Matix DeGaulle

    Canon Kirk/Spock would cause the fangirl squee heard ’round the world. Just saying. *g* But Sulu/Checkov certainly has possibilities.

  • Ryan

    So it is ok for them to retcon his entire identity and personality, who he is as a character. To change every experience that makes him who he is and how he will act as a person but we can’t change something as immaterial (or at least I hope it is in the future) as his sexual preference even when it wouldn’t change who he is? That seems like poor priorities to me.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, but Scotty’s a heterosexual, as is Chekov; it was shown in the episodes ‘Who Mourns For Adonis?’ ‘The Apple’ ‘The Lights Of Zetar’ and ‘The Way To Eden’ that both men loved the ladies as much as Kirk did. Forcing any of the main cast to be LGBT just to serve an agenda is a load of bollocks that wrecks the integrity of them. If people want GLBT characters in Star Trek or any other sci-fi show, create new ones or make a character that was relatively minor gay, like David Gerrold did with Peter Kirk (nephew of you-know-who) in the Star Trek Phase II episode ‘Blood & Fire’.

    All this is moot, however, as the movie won’t be long enough to be lingering on said aspects long enough to showcase them (a three and a half hour movie would be something of a strain, and wouldn’t cover it-they would have to be part of a future TV show.)

  • Will Wildman

    Given Takei himself stating that he continues to see his Sulu as straight, and the desire to detach character sexualities from their actors, Sulu is kind of the last person I’d want to see queer in the new Trek. Chekov would be good, although he might fit a bit of a stereotype? (Then again, just about everyone in the reboot is young, skinny, and gorgeous, so there’s not much to be done there.)

    Bones being bi could work well.

  • Anonymous

    The Federation isn’t iffy, it’s practically anti-people factories, in the same way the Imperium is anti-computer in the Dune trilogies by Frank and Brian Herbert. Androids are okay.

  • Dan Wohl

    I’ve seen several people in this thread make reference to Takei himself saying he wants Takei to be straight, but I have not been able to locate any source in which he says that. I found one interview in which he said he assumed Sulu was straight when he was playing him, but nothing in which he says his preference is for the character to not be gay. Can you provide a link? I would be very interested to hear his thoughts.

  • Will Wildman

    Y’know, I can’t; I can only find references to people reporting that he’s said as much in interviews, without sources given. Might be a myth.

    That said, if Takei doesn’t have an opinion on the matter, I’d still prefer Sulu not be queer purely because Takei is.

  • Tamara
  • Matix DeGaulle

    First, his personality is not completely different – he’s still headstrong, independent, and somewhat impulsive. He’s a bit angrier than original canon, and has more issues with authority, but he’s not a completely new personality.
    Second, I’m not saying his sexual orientation matters, I’m saying it would be illogical to change it, since a person’s sexuality doesn’t somehow form from experiences etc, it’s innate. Like gender, hair colour, skin colour, etc. I could easily believe Kirk being bisexual (or pansexual) but canon has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s attracted to women.
    Making Kirk exclusively attracted to guys would be the same as making him, say, Asian, or having him be female, or have red hair. It’s not logical because that’s not what changed. Kirk still has the same parents, and everything up to minutes before his birth was identical to the original.
    I’m not saying this because I don’t want Kirk to be gay – I’m a slash fan. I would also love to see a gay character in Trek. Kirk being bi or pansexual is possible (attracted to women ~and~ men/other genders/etc) but changing Kirk’s sexual orientation to gay Doesn’t. Make. Sense.

  • Ryan

    Sulu. Did you not read the article? We are talking about Sulu being gay.

  • Matix DeGaulle

    I dunno, the Harry Potter fandom got over Dumbledore being revealed as gay pretty quickly. And I mean, shouldn’t the Star Trek fandom be at least as open-minded and mature as the Harry Potter fandom(which is quite literally made up in a large part by kids/teens/young adults)?

  • Matix DeGaulle

    Excuse you. You said, and I quote “They retconed Kirk’s entire life starting from the moment he was born,
    completely changed his childhood and thus the person he becomes.”
    You said Kirk, so I assumed you were, y’know, talking about ~Kirk~.
    Sulu probably is the most likely candidate to be gay, for lack of contradicting indications, as per the article, which I agree with fully. I would be happy if they did decided to reveal Sulu as gay, or Checkov as gay, or someone as bi, or added a gay character, and maybe a lesbian character, and maybe even a trans character
    And next time, specify who you’re talking about.

  • Ryan

    I was very specific about who I was talking about. I was talking about Kirk. I used him as an example of a character that had been retconned in the new movies. I did not say he should be the one who is gay. My argument was that it is possible to retcon Sulu as gay because they have already established that they are ok with retconning the characters. So next time you want to jump into a conversation, you might want to read the whole thing and understand what is going on instead of assuming things. Nowhere in my quote that you posted does it say Kirk should be gay. So I will not excuse me.

  • Matix DeGaulle

    You were talking about ~Kirk~. I replied to that comment. Nowhere did you mention Sulu again, so naturally I didn’t know you had switched back to Sulu. Because I’m not psychic. Apparently I should also have mentioned that I was talking about Kirk, and I apologize for not being clearer. But you were ~not~ as specific about who you were talking about as you thought you were.

  • Matix DeGaulle

    You were talking about ~Kirk~. I replied to that comment. Nowhere did you mention Sulu again, so naturally I didn’t know you had switched back to Sulu. Because I’m not psychic. Apparently I should also have mentioned that I was talking about Kirk, and I apologize for not being clearer. But you were ~not~ as specific about who you were talking about as you thought you were.

  • Ryan

    You keep telling yourself that so you can keep feeling superior.

  • Matix DeGaulle


  • Ryan

    Now who is being unclear

  • Bean

    I have nothing against any star trek character being gay, but the whole ‘this person is now gay’, as a late addition character note, new/alternate universe or not, smacks of poor writing. If a homosexual character really would benefit the story, then create a new one. If you write it well, they could easily ascend to stand shoulder to shoulder with the main cast.

    If you just slap the orientation onto an existing character, it comes across as a stunt to get attention.

  • Anonymous

    It needs a gay character if one presents itself to the creative team, not because someone said it needs one.

  • Anonymous

    Star Trek reboot follows an alternative continuity. Vulcan is destroyed, Spock’s mother dies and Spock apparently has a pre-existing romance with Uhura before even befriending Kirk while in TOS Uhura does some one-sided flirting in one episode and tells him that Kirk is the closet thing he has to a friend, in other words, he is not close to Uhura. Spock also appears to be asexual in TOS apart from being hit by spores and pon farr. In Spock he has emotional outbursts and kisses Uhura while completely sober. So if the reason for these character changes is that it is an alternative reality, then it’s an alternative reality. Some people will point out the alternative continuity and then think that Abrams can retrospectively change TOS canon. Sulu’s lack of female love interests (Could be because of stereotypes against Asian men) shouldn’t shape his timeline in the reboot continuity. Nor should the actor who previously played Sulu being gay mean the character Sulu should be gay. Shatner and Nimoy basically created slash fan fiction and both actors are apparently straight so it has little to do with the orientation of the actors (As you mentioned with Quinto and the reboot’s Spock-Uhura romance). I do agree that same-sex relationships are long overdue to be included in Star Trek. It seems weird having a 23rd century where nobody acknowledged homosexuality exists. Every attempt to do this so far has been a cop-out and Abrams even put Spock in a fairly cliche opposite-sex romance (I’m not knocking the chemistry. That works fine.), heaven forbid any “slasher” ruin the archetypal male heroes for the fanboys.

  • Anonymous

    As a stand alone movie the chemistry between Quinto and Saldana is very good. Quinto’s being gay doesn’t have anything to do with how well he plays a straight character despite some of the fanboys and fangirls freaking out about it. I did find the romance however surprising since in TOS any flirting between the two characters is limited and Spock seems totally asexual apart from when drugged or something or going through pon farr. Plus, whether your interpretation of Kirk and Spock’s relationship in TOS as a platonic one or a romantic one, Spock always maintained that he was 100% committed to Kirk. Having him have domestic relationship issues has been a little difficult for me to grasp, despite the fact that it’s an alternative reality. One of the things I find interesting about Nimoy’s Spock is that he can be a strong, male character who is a sex symbol without having to score with sexy chicks to maintain a sense of archetypal male heterosexuality. He’s a foil for Kirk in that way. But the more things change the more they stay the same. Despite having stronger female characters than 45 years ago, Carol Marcus still has to be shown in a bikini to excite the horny fanboys. And yet the fangirls are apparently the “sickos” for “reading too much into things”.

  • Anonymous

    Well IF Abrams had made Kirk canonically gay, or even bisexual, there would have been lots of anger at Abrams and people going “I’m not homophobic. But KIRK IS NOT GAY!” They would freak out if their favourite archetypal male hero kissed a guy. Skyfall has Bond doing some minor flirting with a dude and lots of people freaked out about it. The thing is, people always go on about the alternative reality and how we shouldn’t complain about character changes from TOS, yet this would never fly in the fandom. But you know, if Spock can be (mostly) asexual and 100% committed to Kirk in one universe and have a girlfriend and have Kirk come second in another universe, surely Kirk can have a relationship with a guy in another reality. But it would never fly. It’s sad, but the way the world still works. Consider the difference in attitude to Uhura with a white (male) character in the 1960s to her with a white character now. I wonder if in 40 odd years if somebody else rebooted these characters again and had either Spock or Kirk in a relationship with a male (Or, dare I say, with each other) whether it would still be a big deal.

  • Anonymous

    Why wouldn’t it make sense? Being a womaniser is not mutually exclusive to being attracted to males. You used the words bisexual and pansexual yourself. Consider a character like Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood. Strong, handsome, a sex symbol and omnisexual. It would be refreshing to have a character like Kirk have a relationship with a male. It would make straight men realise that they can worship a guy no matter what gender of person he goes after. It’s highly possible if TOS where created in a time with less homophobia and less labels that he would be omnisexual like Captain Jack. Consider that he flirts with females of various species (Including fembot androids!). His sexuality seems fairly fluid. Plus, I do believe a big reason TOS led to the creation of slash is because Shatner has a tendency to flirt and use flattery when he was playing Kirk quite frequently, including with male actors, particularly with Nimoy. Kirk is a charmer. So is Jack Harkness. Even Chris Pine uses a cheeky smile when Kirk teases Spock or something which resembles flirtation. This doesn’t mean that the writers intend for Kirk to be gay/bi but I’m more surprised that people are surprised that people ship Kirk/Spock. If people still think Hermione and Harry loved each other I don’t see why Kirk/Spock is so hard to imagine. Anyway, having said all that, this is an ALTERNATIVE REALITY. You’re saying it doesn’t make sense in TOS, aren’t you. Anyway, I think a character like Kirk could easily be gay or bisexual or omnisexual, etc. It would be refreshing to have a strong male character who isn’t the stereotype of a straight man.

  • Anonymous

    Well they changed some elements of Spock’s character to the point where I almost feel he’s a different character to the one I love, as much as I love Zachary Quinto. Rather than being a stoic Vulcan who occasionally shows something like pure loyalty (Like in the ultimate computer) whereas reboot Spock likes to think he’s stoic but is actually extremely emotionally shaky, plus, in Into Darkness apparently he’s in an official relationship with Uhura which seems like a long stretch from the guy who had no idea what Kirk was talking about when he talked about beautiful women in ‘Wolf in the Fold’ and simply showed sympathy toward Nurse Chapel for her unrequited love (Or infatuation. What it was) toward him and had no idea what Uhura was doing in The Man Trap when she attempted to flirt with the handsome, mysterious, half-Vulcan male. He’s basically asexual and yet in the reboot he’s apparently not. Yet if Abrams decided that Kirk was attracted to men (Despite some possible subtext or “bromance” which could be seen as such) it would be like the biggest blasphemy ever. People have shitty priorities. The film scored big time despite large changes in character back-stories (If Lucas did something like he’d be killed) and yet so many of the things stay very much the same, basically to meet mainstream societal expectation. I think it’s great Star Trek has spread to mainstream but I also think it takes some of the joy out of Star Trek. It makes it kind of a cliche action movie.

    There’s still lots of homophobic in the fandom. People will claim their disapproval of slash is not homophobic but many of them say explicitly homophobic things. The biggest achievement as far as including gay/bi characters in Star Trek came from fan site “Phase II” where Jim Kirk’s nephew Peter Kirk falls in love with a male and plans to marry him and that got a whole bunch of negative reactions. People even said it was “against the spirit of Star Trek”. That’s funny because I always though Star Trek involved a lot of gratuitous sexual plotlines between Kirk and various women (With exceptions of course like City on the Edge of Forever where the romance is relevant to the plot), not to mention women wearing revealing clothing (Judging by the newest Into Darkness trailer, that’s still happening). Basically, if somebody is going to be a prude then be a prude but watch the double standards. I’ve always found that if anything most sci-fi fans are horny, heterosexual, males yet “slash fangirls” are the target of so much BS for writing fan fiction.

  • Herm Greenfield

    Wasn’t kirk “gay” at lest as played by, Shatter(spell)? He certinly over compensated

  • Anonymous

    LOL – sure. O.k. Now they behave like emotionally and mentally unstable idiots. Makes total sense.

  • Ger

    The new series is supposed to be a forked timeline. Therefore things that were established before the timeline was forked by the events in the first one, should still be considered canon. And unless they want to send the message that sexuality is something that can be changed, they can’t change it (though I’m uncertain as to whether or not Sulu’s sexuality was ever established in TOS).

  • Mark Esche

    Since there are major breaks from the original storyline, such as Kirk’s father’s death While baby James is in a life pod, Not to mention, the jump from disgraced ensign to Captain in one improbable leap, Why not have an openly gay character? After all, why should we even think that Kirk actually had to work to get to his position? Why worry about reality, and time in grade and all that boring real life activity . . .?

  • Bob Singer

    When it comes to the sexuality of non-terrans, the sky’s the limit. But as for the Terrans, it was said once that there are no LGBT characters because they cured that.

  • Bar Becue

    Hey, go teabag a Klingon and keep that gay bullshit to your self. In Star Trek: The New Voyages, Kirk’s nephew is gay. It’s a complete turn off and out of place. It seems that they wrote the character that way just to placate someone’s agenda.
    To boldly go where no man has been before huh? LOL !!!

  • Anonymous

    No, it doesn’t.

  • Anonymous

    According to you. But ONLY to you. Please keep that in mind for next time.

  • Anonymous

    No, it does not. Kirk was written as a hetero, is a hetero, therefore he should be kept as a hetero. Changing the character to make him into something he’s not just to suit you (mostly because you don’t like Star Trek, I’ll bet) would be wrong.

  • Anonymous

    No thanks-leave him be as a straight man; the franchise runners can create an original LGBT character (providing that they would have time to fit one in in the next movie.)

  • Anonymous

    Sorry ma’mm, but the new continuity is beholden to keeping the characters as they were before (albeit with some shadings to make them more modern.) Making any of them gay would be a betrayal of them as characters, and the movies so far have been pilloried enough for not being like TOS by older traditionalist fans. As I’ve said before and above, a new character is what’s needed, although that may be hard in the constraints of a two hour movie.

  • Ryan

    What the fuck are you talking about?

  • Anonymous

    Awww . . . JJ’s mom is trolling the internet looking for his detractors! That creepy and adorable, but I have to tell you that you are very, very wrong. I am FAR from being the other person with this opinion. Sorry, Mrs. Abrams!

  • Anonymous

    No sir, you are in the minority, according to box-office gross figures and positive reviews. Please keep that in mind, again, and stop insisting that a bunch of you on the Internet is the majority when it isn’t.

    Also, I’m not JJ’s mom, just a fan tire of fans like you who think that you speak for all of us.