After fifty years, a new member of Starfleet will be portrayed as gay in a television version of Star Trek. Anthony Rapp’s new character — Lt. Stamets — is reportedly a homosexual character, a huge representation milestone for the new Trek show, Discovery.
Though the reboot version of Sulu (John Cho) was revealed to be gay in the recent film Star Trek Beyond, this will mark the first time Star Trek has portrayed a gay character in the regular “prime” universe of the original series. Plus, because Discovery takes place about ten years before the original series, Lt. Stamets will now chronologically be the first gay Star Trek character audiences have seen serving in Starfleet. Of course, this doesn’t mean there haven’t been gay people in the 23rd or 24th centuries prior to Lt. Stamets, simply that Star Trek has been limping along on impulse power in that particular representation department
Naturally, Stamets being gay tells us little about his actual character, but it does prove that Discovery is making good on its diversity promises, even though showrunner Bryan Fuller has moved on to a more supervisory role.
Revealing the classic character Hikaru Sula as gay in Star Trek Beyond was greeted with both approval and controversy from fans, critics, and even George Takei. So far, it looks like Lt. Stamets might avoid that criticism simply by virtue of being a brand new character.
Star Trek: Discovery airs in Spring of 2017 on CBS All Access.