So now Sulu is gay. But the question remains: is he gay enough?
As you’ve probably heard, the character was given a husband and a kid in the latest Star Trek film, a sort of tribute to George Takei, who originally played him. Despite diversity being a cornerstone of Star Trek since its inception, it took until 2016 for it to show a character in a same-sex relationship. George is still unsatisfied with queer content in the franchise, even after the momentary glimpse of Sulu’s family. “They talked about Sulu becoming gay, but it was such a tentative thing,” he said. “Sulu comes back, picks up the little girl and hugs her, and then puts his arm around a guy and they walk off… not even a kiss. Just hugging the baby and arm around the guy… and it’s over.”
He lamented that Gene Roddenberry wasn’t around to create a queer character — and he has a good point. Gene, if unshackled from meddling studios and his gross lawyer, could have overseen a truly innovative storyline. As it was, The Next Generation tackled nonbinary people in one episode (though it drew protests and was subsequently impossible to find in syndication). And let’s not forget that Star Trek was responsible for TV’s second interracial kiss, after Nancy Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.
So what would be enough queer content for Star Trek? Well, considering how many women Riker and Kirk have bedded, maybe a main character actually having a romantic scene isn’t too much to ask for.
And of course, there were plans for an episode with a gay crewman, but that was scrapped by the show and later made by fans: