Homophobic “Trekkies” and Wilson Cruz

Wilson Cruz, who plays the gay doctor Hugh Culber on Star Trek: Discovery and is openly gay himself, took to Twitter to bring attention to an incident that occurred during his appearance for Star Trek Day on September 8. Cruz voiced his frustration with a homophobic Star Trek fan that harassed him during a recent appearance.

In the tweet, Cruz wrote, “I wonder if this was the moment on stage when I heard a ‘fan’ on Star Trek Day refer to me with a homophobic slur,” Cruz wrote, captioning an image of himself smiling on stage. “Still smiling, though. You’ll never kill my joy.”

There are more Trekkies who are homophobic than you would think would be the case. They were outraged when on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine there was a kiss between two women (which was not a gay kiss—it’s complicated), and they have voiced their disdain over the LGBTQ+ characters on Star Trek: Discovery and the possibility of LGBTQ+ characters on Star Trek: Picard. During the early years of Enterprise there were constant rumors that one of the characters would come out as gay, but with the backlash from this homophobic group of fans, it never materialized. Only recently has the Star Trek universe begun to embrace LGBTQ+ characters, and it’s about time. 

The majority of fans are not homophobic, but the ones who are seem to be quite vocal. Cruz’s tweet sent Trek fans rushing to defend Cruz and slam event organizers for not doing more to curb the hate. Cruz then returned to Twitter to defend the event and calm his fans.

“Listen, y’all… I really don’t blame the event. I only heard it,” Cruz wrote.” Couldn’t point them out, so chose to ignore it. I DON’T blame the EVENT at all! That day wasn’t about them and it wasn’t about me. It was about Star Trek, it’s legacy, it’s ideals, it’s visionary creator…”

“I REALLY didn’t mean for this to blow up,” he continued. “It just means we have work to do. Let’s do it and move beyond this trivial moment. They’ve received enough attention, as it is. I’m grateful for ALL of your care. I forget sometimes how much this fandom can go to bat when it wants!”

Star Trek: Discovery has won wide praise for including the first explicit LGBTQ+ characters in the history of the long-running franchise. Alongside Cruz, actor Anthony Rapp plays Hugh Culber’s husband Paul Stamets, while actor Blu Del Barrio portrays the couple’s adoptive trans/nonbinary teen, Adria. Trans actor Ian Alexander also has a recurring role as Adria’s former love, Gray Tal. Also, openly gay comedian Tig Notaro plays Engineer Denise “Jett” Reno who in an early episode discussed the death of her wife.These homophobic Trekkies don’t understand the basic philosophy of Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, built Star Trek around the idea of differences and coming together despite them. When you compare the diversity of Star Trek: Discovery to Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek has come a long way, and I believe Roddenberry would be happy with the diversity presented in the franchise. On the bridge of the original USS Enterprise, there was a black woman, an Asian man, and a Russian during the height of the Cold War. Star Trek has come so far, yet there is still much work to be done. Progress has and is being made. No matter what century the show takes place in, we are seeing a true normalization of diversity.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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