Spatial representation

I recently gave in and started watching Star Trek: Discovery, after two seasons of waiting in vain for it to show up somewhere other than the CBS subscription service. I’ve been following along and reading caps, though, and my curiosity finally got the better of me. And I really like it so far!

Even though I’ve already read spoilers and know who the characters are in general terms, I was deeply moved this morning as I watched the end of “Choose Your Pain”, one of the earlier episodes. Even though I already knew that the show is the first in the Trek franchise to include a gay couple, they way it presented Culber and Stamets in their quarters at night touched me so deeply. It was just so…normal.

Culber and Stamets brushing

They were just talking about the day’s big events while brushing their teeth. There was no melodramatic declaration of identity. No romantic grandstanding. Not even a clear mention that they were a couple, or married. Looking back on the episode, it seems clear that others understood their relationship, and thought little of it.

The couple didn’t even kiss in this scene. But yet it was so intimate! A familiar and moving interaction between two people who shared a life. I was floored. It turns out this was the representation of gays I’ve been waiting for all these years, especially in something that I love the way I love Star Trek. The gayness was incidental, yet unmistakeable. Inherent to the characters and their interaction, but not a plot point in itself. It just felt like it was part of their lives — clearly important, but one element of many. I hadn’t realized how badly I’d want to see it this way. Where no one has gone before, indeed.

Culber and Stamets bein’ sweet