The kiss in question was shared by the show’s gay couple, Lieutenant Paul Stamets, played by Anthony Rapp (who made headlines for a different reason this month when he spoke about being allegedly assaulted by Kevin Spacey as a 14 year-old) and Dr Hugh Culber, played by Wilson Cruz.
— Lewis Peters (@lew_and_i) November 14, 2017
After the episode aired, Cruz took to Facebook to challenge those critical of the kiss.
“I’m not here for your comfort,” wrote Cruz, (whom ’90s kids will remember from My So Called Life) in an impassioned Facebook post. “That’s not why we are here. We’re here to grow.”
“Star Trek is and has always been here to challenge you to look outside of yourself and to see other people and other experiences in yourself. There is no division between you and me. I am just another human giving and receiving love, just like you. That is all.
“You can turn your TV off, sure, but you’ll only be cheating yourself. LGBTQ people aren’t going to just disappear because you put your head in the sand. We share the planet with you. We have always been here. We will always be here.”
Although inter-species and inter-ethnic relationships have been commonly depicted, this week’s man-on-man kiss is the first one in the show’s 50 year history.
The show’s first same-sex kiss actually took place between two female characters in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine way back in 1995. In the episode ‘Rejoined’, crew member Dax (who is a member of the trill race, which consists of a host and a symbiote) is reunited with Lenara Kahn, the ex-wife of one of its former hosts.
The two struggle with their feelings for one another because of the taboo in their species against reuniting with loved ones of former hosts. So although the characters kiss, neither identify as LBGT so it is less of a victory for queer Trekkies than Discovery’s kiss is.
Last year’s theatrical release Star Trek Beyond did contain a gay character, Sulu, who was married with a child, but a kiss between the pair was cut from the final version of the movie, according to actor John Cho.
“It wasn’t like a make-out session,” said Cho. “We’re at the airport with our daughter. It was a welcome-home kiss.”
Star Trek: Discovery is available to watch on Netflix now.
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