Does ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ need ‘casual gays?’

Christina Chong as La'an, Ethan Peck as Spock, and Anson Mount as Pike of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS.
Marni Grossman/Paramount Plus

Star Trek has always at the very least attempted to be inclusive. From portraying one of the first onscreen interracial kisses (albeit under mind control), to the inclusion of characters across the gender spectrum, the franchise does try to project the image of a cosmopolitan cosmos — even if it’s occasionally thumbfingered in doing so (some of those TNG eps. Ouch!).

However, some fans are saying maybe the newer shows can concentrate less on “doing” and more on “being.”

Twitter user and Trek fan @MINDMELD recently posted that the franchise might better serve the needs of inclusion by being a little more offhanded about sexual orientation. While the relationship between  Lt. Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) was something of a “TA-DAH!” moment on Star Trek: Discovery, @MINDMELD suggest a more “casual” approach might show a broader acceptance of sexuality in the 23rd century.

“Let Uhura say she has a gf back home. that person in pike’s bed should’ve been a man. not everything has to be one big reveal,” he writes. User @roswordsman replied by noting that the Kelvin universe acknowledged a canonically gay Sulu subtly as opposed to any flourish, self-congratulatory or otherwise.

User @textwhileudrive noted that casual inclusion is often a more effective form of inclusion, noting the similarities between LGBTQ characters and disabled characters that often have their identity co-opted into forced narratives.

And user @nmagrey noted that same-sex relationships needn’t always be highlighted but rather should be more often normalized by simply allowing them to be.

So far fans are loving Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Perhaps as the series progresses it will touch upon the sexuality of its characters in subtle and not overt ways.