Star Trek has beamed more LGBTQ representation into its universe.
The long-running science-fiction television and film franchise has introduced a “tentative” romantic relationship between two women in Star Trek: Picard, the CBS All Access series starring Patrick Stewart in a revival of his Star Trek: The Next Generation character, Jean-Luc Picard.
CBR, a geek news source, reports that Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) and Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd), a former first officer of Picard’s, are in a “new romantic liaison” that “was strongly implied in the season finale’s final scene.”
In the scene from the Thursday episode, the characters, seated next to one another at a table, slowly interlock their hands in an intimate gesture.
After the episode’s airing, fans rejoiced that Seven of Nine has been established as “canonically bisexual.” The character, introduced in 1997 by Ryan in Star Trek: Voyager, was formerly in a relationship with a male character on that series, Chakotay. Likewise, Raffi’s Picard plotline referred to a past relationship with the father of her estranged son.
The Star Trek franchise was long criticized for an absence of LGBTQ representation, which it would not have for decades since the original 1966 series created by Gene Roddenberry. In 1995, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine featured a kiss between two women: Terry Farrell as Jadzia Dax and Susanna Thompson as Lenara Kahn. Series actor Andrew Robinson also told Amazon in 2012 that he interpreted his character Garak as having “inclusive” sexuality.
The 2016 movie Star Trek Beyond revealed that the character originated by George Takei, Hikaru Sulu, played in the film by John Cho, had a male partner. Takei originally objected to the move, calling it “unfortunate” and “a twisting of Gene’s creation.”
In 2017, gay actor Anthony Rapp began playing a gay character, Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets, on Star Trek: Discovery, which is still being aired on CBS All Access. The series’ other LGBTQ characters include Stamets’s husband, Dr. Hugh Culber, played by Wilson Cruz, and Jett Reno, played by Tig Notaro. Rapp and Culber appeared on a 2018 cover of The Advocate to discuss their groundbreaking roles.
If their relationship develops in season 2, Seven of Nine and Raffi would become the first queer female couple in the Star Trek universe.
CBS: All Access is currently offering a free one-month trial to stream Picard, Discovery, and the rest of its digital library, which also includes the LGBTQ favorite The Good Fight.