Gem Sheps: Queerly Beloved

_DSC4429As a chronically ill student I spend a lot of time in bed, and even more time watching TV. What else can you do that requires no physical energy and has nothing to do with homework?

One of my favorite shows is Star Trek; I even named my service dog after one of the main characters, Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy. It’s such a funny, lighthearted show, and it never fails to lift me up when I feel awful.

Part of the reason it makes me so happy is because I can’t help envisioning Kirk, Spock, and McCoy in a relationship together: the sci-fi triumvirate.

A lot of people tell me that when I watch TV, I watch it through a rainbow-colored lens. I find queer traits in nearly every TV character that I care about. Sherlock Holmes is my number one gay: seriously, a close-shaven, Bohemian, Victorian bachelor living with another man and never searching for a wife? That’s pretty gay.

I see the same traits in a character like Spock, and I’m not the only one who does. Kirk and Spock have been a “pair” since the show premiered in the 1960s—their portmanteau is “Spirk,” and countless fanart, fanzines, and fanfiction have been made about them.

When Gene Roddenberry created the show, he had a progressive society in mind, and not just in a “Beam me up, Scotty!” futuristic way. Back in the 1960s, this meant people of color in positions of power—Uhura, a black woman, as a lieutenant on a space ship and Sulu as the ship’s helmsman. Roddenberry also said that if he portrayed certain characters the way he had in mind, audiences might have had him kicked off TV as a whole.

Considering the closeness of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, I immediately take that as a queer reading. A lot of fans do, and a lot of those fans are also queer.

Seeing queer characters on TV is important for that reason. Famous and relatable characters like Kirk, Sherlock Holmes, and Sophia—the trans woman from Orange is the New Black—give young LGBTQ+ people a chance to find themselves. I didn’t know I was gay until my senior year of high school, and I started to find myself through shows like Sherlock and Star Trek and the fan communities surrounding them.

Let Spock be gay!

Gem Sheps
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