Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NOH8 Day

Yesterday was NOH8 Day. The NOH8 Campaign is a response to Proposition 8 in California which banned same sex marriage in that state. The campaign was created by photographer Adam Bouska.  The campaign is a photographic silent protest, symbolizing all the voices that have been silenced as a result of Prop 8.

Several Star Trek stars have leant their faces to the campaign in the last three years.

George Takei and Jeri Ryan

Robert Picardo and Chase Masterson

Terry Farrell and Rod Roddenberry

Friday, November 11, 2011

Zachary Quinto Comes Out

On October 16th, Zachary Quinto announced to the world that he is a gay man, in a New York Magazine interview with Benjamin Wallace.  Speaking about his role in Angels in America, the 34-year old actor said “... as a gay man, it made me feel like there’s still so much work to be done, and there’s still so many things that need to be looked at and addressed.”

After that interview went "live", Quinto posted the following entry on his blog:

when i found out that jamey rodemeyer killed himself - i felt deeply troubled.  but when i found out that jamey rodemeyer had made an it gets better video only months before taking his own life - i felt indescribable despair.  i also made an it gets better video last year - in the wake of the senseless and tragic gay teen suicides that were sweeping the nation at the time.  but in light of jamey's death - it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it - is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality.  our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country.  gay kids need to stop killing themselves because they are made to feel worthless by cruel and relentless bullying.  parents need to teach their children principles of respect and acceptance.  we are witnessing an enormous shift of collective consciousness throughout the world.  we are at the precipice of great transformation within our culture and government.  i believe in the power of intention to change the landscape of our society - and it is my intention to live an authentic life of compassion and integrity and action.  jamey rodemeyer's life changed mine.  and while his death only makes me wish that i had done this sooner - i am eternally grateful to him for being the catalyst for change within me.  now i can only hope to serve as the same catalyst for even one other person in this world.  that - i believe - is all that we can ask of ourselves and of each other.

Suicides have always been higher amongst the LGBT community but especially amongst LGBT teens.  In the past year, North America has seen an explosion of such suicides from teens who feel they are unsupported in their communities.  The "It Gets Better" Project was started by Dan Savage so that LGBT persons can offer messages of hope to young people who are struggling.  The project's pledge: "Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I'll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I'll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other bullied teens by letting them know that "It Gets Better." is a wonderfully positive and inclusive message that is very much in line with the Gene Roddenberry's vision of a future where our diversity makes us stronger.

I applaud and thank Zachary Quinto for contributing to this cause and allowing himself to be a positive example for change.  It's a very compassionate and human response from our favourite new Vulcan.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy 45th Anniversary!

On September 8, 1966 the first episode of Star Trek aired on television.  "The Man Trap" was well-received and the world would be forever changed.

Be sure to watch your favourite Star Trek episode today!  Happy Anniversary!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Charlie X

"Charlie X" aired on September 15, 1966.  It was the second episode of Star Trek to air.  In it, the Enterprise takes aboard an orphaned human teenager called Charles Evans.  Charlie was the sole survivor of a crashed vessel and survived on his own from the age of three on the planet Thasus.  The Enterprise is to deliver Charlie to Colony 5 where his only remaining relatives live. 

From the beginning, Charlie is awkward around others.  He possesses none of the social graces and has no knowledge of the female sex. The first woman he meets is Yeoman Janice Rand.  When Charlie asks Rand if she is a girl she simply gives him a strange look and Captain Kirk replies that yes she is a girl.  Frequently on Star Trek, women are referred to as "girls" even if they are well into adulthood. For all Star Trek's protestations of equality of the sexes in the 23rd century the term girl is still a diminutive, suggesting that women are still considered less important than men.

As Charlie meets the crew and attempts to interact with them he begins to display a mighty obsession with Rand.  In a recreation room, when Uhura is singing to entertain the crew, Charlie is frustrated that Rand's attention is not focused solely on him.  He discreetly makes Uhura lose her voice so Rand will pay attention to him as he performs a card trick.

In an effort to escape from Charlie's interest, Rand introduces him to a young officer called Tina Lawton.  Charlie is rude to Lawton, ignoring her and telling Janice that he only wants her.  He then slaps Janice on her behind as she begins to walk away.  Rand controls her temper and advises Charlie to seek out Captain Kirk for guidance.

Kirk tells Charlie that there are things you can do with girls and things you can't but he doesn't really try to explain why what Charlie did to Rand was inappropriate.  Instead, Kirk attempts to ignore the subject and distract Charlie with physical exercise.  This is another example of where standards of 1960s television conflict with the ideals of the 23rd century.  Surely, a real 23rd century Kirk would not shirk from the duty of explaining the "birds and bees" to Charlie but on 1960s television such discussions would not have been permitted.

In this scene, Charlie finally gives away the fact that he has some kind of superhuman powers.  When a crewman laughs at him while Kirk is teaching him how to fall during a fight, Charlie makes him disappear.  In subsequent scenes, Charlie uses his abilities to hijack the Enterprise.  Eventually, a Thasian ship arrives and it is revealed that the Thasians gave Charlie these abilities to enable him to survive on his own.  Now, realizing the danger he poses to other humans, they insist on taking him to live with them despite Charlie's pleas to remain on the Enterprise.

This is a sad ending.  Despite all that Charlie has done the audience can identify with him and sympathize with his plight.  A lone toddler having to raise himself through adolescence and now, banished to live with beings who are non corporeal and can never understand him as a human might.

Charlie's story is obviously atypical for a human teen in the 23rd century but his interactions with the Enterprise crew provide some valuable insights into how men and women react in Roddenberry's universe.