Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz are making history as the first gay couple (and heroes to boot) on Star Trek: Discovery, but the Star Trek canon has had many history-makers.
A Series of Firsts
The original 1960s-era series was among the first shows to have a multicultural cast, including African-American Nichelle Nichols (as Lt. Nyota Uhura), Japanese-American George Takei (as Lt. Hikaru Sulu), Leonard Nimoy (playing the mixed-race Vulcan Spock), and the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Walter Koenig (as Ensign Pavel Chekov).
Show What's Possible
As the civil rights movement marched forward, it was Martin Luther King Jr. (a big fan of the show) who convinced Nichols to stay on the series to show other black Americans what was possible for the future.
A Groundbreaking Moment.
When Lt. Uhura and Capt. Kirk kissed on the 1968 episode “Plato’s Stepchildren,” it was the first scripted interracial kiss on American television — and a groundbreaking moment that helped pave the way for acceptance of mixed-race Americans, like future president Barack Obama and the first black Miss America, Vanessa Williams (who were 7 and 5 years old, respectively, at the time the episode aired).
Mutual Attraction Prevails
Another meaningful kiss occurred on the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Rejoined,” the first in which two characters who both appear female kiss. Series regular Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) is a being who has lived many lives, in bodies both male and female. When she’s reunited with the wife of her previous male self, the two give in to their mutual attraction.
Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced a genderless species in season 5’s “The Outcast,” an episode in which Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) falls for the genderless alien Soren.