For Pride month in June, Jessie Earl's Nerd Out show for Pride.com called 'Star Trek's Accidental Transgender Episode' talked about TNG Season 5's 'The Outcast', in which Will Riker falls in love with...
The Outcast, Rejoined and LGBTQ Representation.
For Pride month in June, Jessie Earl's Nerd Out show for Pride.com called 'Star Trek's Accidental Transgender Episode' talked about TNG Season 5's 'The Outcast', in which Will Riker falls in love with Soren, a member of the androgynous J'nai species who the Enterprise arrives to help in the potentially dangerous scientific discovery of 'null space'. Jeri Taylor's script subsequently explores pronouns, gender distinctions, trans issues and the thorny topic of conversion therapy some years before these conversations would enter the mainstream.
Earl's episode gets into the positives and negatives of an episode which was never intended by Taylor to cover transgender issues and rather depict homosexuality in Star Trek for, perhaps, the first time ever. Jonathan Frakes commented at the time that by having Soren played by a woman, actress Melinda Culea, it undercut the homosexual relationship intended. With hindsight, however, 'The Outcast' appears to be ahead of the curve in the conversations around being part of the LGBTQ community that are still being debated today.
Your host, Tony Black, is joined by Star Trek fans and member of the trans community, Orion Armstrong, to discuss just how has Star Trek approached LGTBQ issues and the community since the 1990's when these ideas first began to be explored within the franchise and the fandom? How do they align with the political standpoint of Gene Roddenberry's utopian future? And ultimately, is fiction's most progressive futurism progressive enough on this issue?
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