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Star Trek, LGBT & Me.

The concept of IDIC – Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations – has always been core to the ideology of Star Trek and to SFC. As we celebrate Pride month, a celebration of diversity in itself, we’re proud to introduce the first post from Churchill’s CO Stephen Lester in sharing his experiences in what brought him to the world of Star Trek and to SFCQ2.

Stephen (right) with fellow Churchill members Peter (left) & Tamsin (centre)

Hello, my name is Stephen Lester aka Sebastian Rax. I am the Captain of the USS Churchill. I am a gay man with a partner.

When I was at school, I wasn’t into Football like the other boys. I didn’t really have many friends who were boys. We rarely have anything in common and besides, they used to bully me. Calling me Gaylord. I preferred to get along with the girls and hang out with them. I spent most of my School life this way.
When I was in Secondary School, I spent most of my time in the School Library. It was warm and dry in the winter and cool in the summer. There were a few of us who became Assistant Student Librarians. The thing we all had in common, apart from reading, was Star Trek. We even had Star Trek Quizzes on the last day of term.

Star Trek, for me, was an escapism. Here were a variety of characters, who didn’t judge someone on who they slept with or what colour their skin was. Everyone had an equal opportunity to be who ever they wanted to be. The driving force was to improve yourself and the human race through study and exploration. This became the meaning of life for me. Learn as much as you can.

The episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called The Outcast. In its own way was a “dip” into the world of non-heterosexual relationships. The episode The Host does the same. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine then graces us with the episode called Rejoined. Not quite an LGBT character or episode. But two women kissing.

The other characters that were hinted at but not really shown. Hawke, Garak etc. Even Hikaru Sulu in the JJ Abrams reboot. These were minor accomplishments.

“Choose Your Pain” — Episode 105 — Pictured (l-r): Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber; Anthony Rapp as Lieutenant Paul Stamets of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Jan Thijs/CBS © 2017 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

This brings me to Culber and Stamets. When I heard that these two were going to be on Star Trek: Discovery, I jumped for joy. Finally, gay male characters. Then, when the excitement faded, I started to wonder how they were going to be portrayed. Usually, they are effeminate, bitchy, gay characters that Hollywood has used to stereotype them. No romantic relationships. No happy ever afters.

After two seasons of Discovery. I have danced around my room happily. Not only are Culber and Stamets gay. But they are a married couple. They aren’t your stereotypical gays and the fact that they are gay doesn’t impede their lives. Or is the only thing that is spoken about it their episodes. They are a Scientist and a Doctor. They do their jobs and go back to their quarters together. Though I think they made a mistake killing Jett Reno’s wife. It would have rounded out the cast rather nicely.

Star Trek: Picard has only one season. The Producers seemed to have gone back to using hints again. It seems that you can’t have more than two fully fledged gay characters in a franchise at a time. At the very end of the last episode of the first season. We see Seven and Raffi holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes. I am hoping that they bring other characters in, that are fully realised LGBT characters.

Stephen Lester – sometimes known by his Trill alias Sebastian Rax – is the Captain of our Churchill Unit covering the South of England with a central core in the Greater London area. For more information on Churchill or to enlist in Starfleet Command, visit our Membership application page (membership is 100% free!). Star Trek Discovery is exclusive to Netlix in the UK & Europe, while Star Trek Picard can be viewed by subscribing to Amazon Prime Video.

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