They took risks, defied expectations, spoke out, redefined cool and made us proud to call them members and allies of our community.
Anthony Rapp & Wilson Cruz
The Star Trek universe has given much to gay people over the decades with its explorations of difference. Who in the LGBTQ community can’t relate to feelings of being an alien or an android — of living among humans and yet feeling set apart? What Trek hasn’t provided are actual gay characters. Certainly, the franchise deserves credit for the incandescent celebrity of George Takei, and it was doubtlessly intended as a respectful salute to him that the character of Sulu would be revealed as gay in the reboot of the film series. Takei was less than thrilled, however; he had always conceived his portrayal of Sulu as heterosexual and requested the filmmakers create a new character if they wanted to add an LGBTQ dimension to the Star Trek family. They went on to make Sulu gay anyway, but warp ahead to 2017 and Takei seems to finally be getting his wish. In the new CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery, we meet Lieutenant Paul Stamets (Rapp), a scientist specializing in the study of spores and the master of the Discovery’s unconventional experimental drive, and Dr. Hugh Culber (Cruz). Several episodes later — with no grand fanfare or controversy — an episode concludes with the pair brushing their teeth before bed, nonchalantly discussing the fact that Stamets had put himself in danger in order to save the ship. “One tends to worry when they’re doomed to love a brilliant but reckless maniac who’s willing to risk his life,” says Culber. “You may not care about you, but I do.” We do, too.
Check out our last honoree, community activist Sean Coleman.
Last modified: March 8, 2018