It’s taken half a century, but Star Trek has finally seen a full-on gay kiss – on new Netflix series Star Trek Discovery.
It’s a big step for Star Trek Discovery which has already delivered a number of LGBTI firsts.
These include fulfilling Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s wish to have an openly gay crew member on the main cast.
And as the series reached its midseason finale, we were treated to our first gay kiss.
The couple involved is Lieutenant Paul Stamets, the ship’s top scientist, and Dr Hugh Culber, Discovery’s medical officer. Both are played by openly gay actors, Anthony Rapp portrays Stamets and Wilson Cruz is Culber.
Rapp recently made global headlines with allegations that actor Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance on him while he was a teen. Spacey denied remembering the incident but apologised for drunken behaviour.
The first Star Trek gay kiss
It was a tense, action-packed episode. It brought many threads together sewn over the series.
But a big part of the episode centred on Lieutenant Stamets ability to control the ships ‘spore drive’. The thing that lets the Discovery ping around the cosmos at previously impossible speed.
Culber and Stamets had already shared an intimate moment in episode five, titled ‘Choose Your Pain’.
Stamets partner, and ship’s doctor, Culber, was worrying over the effects the drive will have on Stamets. And the result was a moment of affection – but not a kiss.
Then, as episode nine came to a close, the crew undertook a mission that taxed Stamets to his limits. And the damage to his health was clear.
He agrees to one last jump to get the crew to safety.
And then the kiss. (Watch it here:)
A particularly passionate moment. And the first gay couple kiss in Star Trek history.
More than that, it was an intimate moment between two people who love each other. A promise of more time together once the ship is safe.
But as this is the mid-season finale, we shall have to wait till January 2018 to find out what happens to Stamets.
Will the couple get some quality time together?
It’s safe to say the Stamets and Culver are fast becoming the go to couple of the Discovery crew. After all, every crew has had one.
The original Star Trek cast saw communications expert Uhura and chief engineer Scotty get together in the last few films.
It was seen in a few small moments and nothing much came of it – but there it was. And a mixed-race relationship – relatively daring for the time.
With the Star Trek Next Generation series, we were privy to the ‘will-they-won’t-they’ of Troi and Riker. It was portrayed as a re-kindling of an old flame.
The first officer, Riker, and ship’s counselor, Troi, didn’t quite get together in the TV series. We had to wait for the films to see them married.
Deep Space Nine was rife with interspecies relationships – Kira and Odo, Dax and Worf. The series set on a deep space station saw the best relationships happening between aliens. As none of the people listed were actually human.
Voyager saw another off-again-on-again relationship blossom into marriage. In the end chief engineer Torres and ship’s pilot Paris started a family.
And Enterprise rewarded us towards the end by bringing T’Pol, the Vulcan first officer, and Tucker, chief engineer, together. Again, it was a relationship that had built slowly over the series run.
Gene Roddenberry brought Star Trek to the world with the first TV series way back in 1966.
And he always intended it to tackle cutting-edge issues in society.
As Roddenberry said: ‘By creating a new world with new rules, I could make statements about sex, religion, Vietnam, politics, and intercontinental missiles.’
He dreamed of having an openly-gay character front-and-center in the Star Trek crew. But it was the 1960s, and he couldn’t pull it off.
Some experts say he came close to managing it in the Star Trek Next Generation TV series, which ran from 1987 to 1994.
That was fronted by Shakespeare actor and LGBTI ally Patrick Stewart.
But, depending on who you believe, Roddenberry was either blocked by the studio or died before his gay ambition could be realised. He passed away in 1991.
So LGBTI trekkers have waited a long time.
But now we have Star Trek’s first openly gay characters displaying an amazing relationship.
It is definitely a rarity for there to be such a strong couple among a Star Trek crew. The series historically made a habit of relationships between crewmates a little wild and unpredictable.
But with Stamets and Culber, Discovery appears to have put that troupe to bed. And they’ve done so using the two gay characters.
The rest of space must be jealous. Now what will the future bring?