One of the things that die-hard ‘Star Trek‘ fans– and I mean fans of every incarnation of the property– seem drawn by and inspired by the most about it is the conscious effort to depict diversity from the very beginning. On the original series, there was African Lt. Uhura who is famous for being one of the first black women on a TV series that wasn’t “somebody’s maid.” She was joined by Russian officer Chekov at a time when in the real world, the US and the USSR were locked in a potentially devastating “Cold War” and, of course, Japanese-American Sulu. Let’s not forget all the aliens. This was a tradition that future ‘Trek’ creators held firm to, depicting some of the most diverse ensembles in all of television, even to this day (sadly).
But is there one “final frontier” that should remain taboo? Perhaps that of homosexuality? One unnamed fan sent a letter to ‘Star Trek: Vanguard’ writer David Mack announcing that he was dropping the series and would never read any more of Mack’s works. The dissenter seemed to think his charges would fall on deaf ears. They didn’t.
Mack posted the letter (with the former fan’s name redacted to protect his privacy) as well as offering up his response.
First the angry letter:
Subject: I will not be reading any of your books.
David Mack will probable never read this email but I am writing it anyway.
I purchased and started reading your book, Harbinger and stopped when I got to the part where the Vulcan was having a homosexual affair with the Klingon spy. I deleted the book from my E-reader and will never purchase another volume authored by David Mack. You can call me a homophobe or use any other excuse you choose to write me off but the truth is homosexually is not universally accepted and I get to decided what I read and I choose not to read any more of your work. And on top of that no Vulcan would consider the situation “logical”. You can’t just remold the Vulcan persona to suit yourself.
I am just letting you know that you have lost at least one reader I am not looking for a reply.
And now Mack’s response:
I’m not sure how having a homosexual relationship is any more illogical than Sarek marring human Amanda in the original mythology or Spock having a flirtation with human Nurse Chappel or in the new continuity Uhura.
Mack didn’t shy away or offer a PC rebuttal. Among his responses, he stated:
If he thinks the fear of alienating a few closed-minded readers is going to stop me from writing stories that feature and promote characters of diverse backgrounds—including LGBTQ characters, persons of color, and people who belong to ideological or philosophical minorities—he must be out of his mind. I’m a f**king ‘Star Trek’ writer. Hasn’t he ever heard of IDIC—“Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations”?
We’ve tried to include more people of African, Asian, and Southeast Asian ancestry than were seen in the televised and feature-film stories. We’ve tried to incorporate characters who hail from many cultures and viewpoints. We’ve tried to imagine a future in which people of all faiths have learned to live in harmony with people of other creeds as well as those who prefer to lead purely secular lives. We’ve tried to depict a future in which people’s gender identities are no longer limited to some arbitrary binary social construct, but rather reflect a more fluid sense of personal identity.
The author of the quoted e-mail tries to justify his screed by declaring that “homosexually (sic) is not universally accepted”. So what? Neither are human rights of a fundamental nature. In fact, I can’t think of any notion of justice or equality that is universally accepted. Why should that limit our vision of a more open, egalitarian, meritocratic future? I reject this aspect of the author’s rant as fundamentally illogical.
Mack goes into even greater detail in his complete response, which you can read by clicking the source link below. I think the writer wins in this case. There are places on this planet where women are subjugated and treated as objects, where parents kill their own children for marrying outside their societal standards, or… well, if they think they’re gay. Can you really pick and choose which horrors are indeed repulsive and which can be justified? ‘Star Trek’ has always depicted a Utopian future where humanity at least, has put aside its differences and embraced not only one another, but beings from across the universe. Not sure how you can… not get that if you’ve ever seen it.. or any version of it.
What do you think? Who won this argument?