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Primitive Culture: A Star Trek History and Culture Podcast

Feb 9, 2018

When Star Trek: Discovery debuted in September 2017, it brought to our TV screens the first explicitly gay couple in the franchise’s fifty-year history. Lieutenant Stamets and Doctor Culber, played by LGBT “actorvists” Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz, quickly won their way into the audience’s hearts, presenting one of Star Trek’s most realistic onscreen relationships. But why has it taken half a century for Star Trek to get to this point? Is sexuality the true final frontier for Gene Roddenberry’s inclusive agenda?

In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Duncan Barrett and Clara Cook are joined by Kay Elizabeth Shaw to trace the history of LGBT representation in Star Trek, from the early 1990s to the present day. Looking at iconic episodes such as “The Outcast,” “The Host,” and “Rejoined”-as well as taking a brief trip to DS9’s sexually fluid Mirror Universe-we consider some of the reasons that true representation has taken so long, as well as some of the people who played a role on both sides of this long-running debate.

Intro (00:00:00)
Allegorical Representation (00:04:50)
Misplaced Pronouns (00:14:50)
Roddenberry’s Plan (00:22:30)
Slash Fictions and Resistant Readings (00:26:48)
Mirror Sexuality and Kira Nerys (00:48:35)
Gatekeepers and Fan Fiction (00:54:40)
Straight Actors and Gay Roles (01:12:20)
Bury Your Gays? (01:23:00)
Final Thoughts (01:33:10)

Duncan Barrett and Clara Cook

Kay Elizabeth Shaw

Clara Cook (Editor) Duncan Barrett (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)