Episode 114: Queer Interpretation of Trek


The crew discusses the history of queercoding in Hollywood, and the more recent phenomenon of queerbaiting, then examines Star Trek for signs of each. We also share the characters that we interpret as queer and what positive representation can mean for a community or individual.

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Hosts:  Grace, Andi, Jarrah, and Sue

Editor:  Andi

References & Resources:

  6 comments for “Episode 114: Queer Interpretation of Trek

  1. Jason
    June 17, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Don’t know if this is confirmed or not but I heard that in the 70s when Shatner and Nimoy first learned about Kirk/Spock they not only approved of it but also added some, what we might today call queer-coding, elements of that pairing in the movies. For example, the scene in the motion picture where Spock is in Sickbay grasping Kirk’s hand (“This simple gesture”) or how they seemed to bicker with each other like lovers in some of the movies.

    Again I don’t know if that’s been confirmed by the actors or production staff but I think it’s cool if they did that.

    • jon
      June 19, 2019 at 5:19 pm

      @Jason – Have you heard of “The Roddenberry Footnote”? Roddenberry’s novelization of The Motion Picture uses the Vulcan term, “t’hy’la” to describe Spock’s feelings about his relationship with Kirk. In a footnote, Roddenberry defines “t’hy’la” to mean “friend, brother, or lover.” Between this and the overtones in the film, the sickbay scene in particular, you can imagine how validated K/S fans must have felt at the time.

      Check out https://fanlore.org/wiki/The_Roddenberry_Footnote

  2. Nobody
    June 19, 2019 at 1:07 am

    Great discussion. I’d like to add that the Hays Code also accidentally created a space for relatively positive, heroic depictions of queer-coded characters — think of Louis Renault in Casablanca or even the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.

  3. Mara
    August 12, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    I’m pretty hurt, gotta be honest.

    When you guys mentioned Jadzia I was *so* excited. And then you COMPLETELY IGNORED THE TRANS ASPECT. You dismiss it as just a hetero relationship because a past life was a male. You don’t even bring it up. Don’t erase the trans connotations. Were they intentional? Probably not, but possibly. But YOU DIDNT EVEN BRING IT UP. You looked at Jadzia though a completely Cis lens.

    I am trans. Am I not queer? Or do I not count.

    • August 12, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      Hi Mara,

      Thanks so much for the comment and we’re sorry about how that part came across in the episode. We had started out planning a relatively narrow episode about queercoding and though the scope became larger as we talked we didn’t get close to talking about everything we could have. Unfortunately we didn’t devote much time to Dax’s transness here, but we have touched on it in other places, including Episode 99 all about Jadzia, and this article on our blog. It will absolutely come up again and if you’re interested we’d be happy to keep you in mind for a future guest spot on this topic – just send us an email. Thanks again for raising this.
      – Jarrah, on behalf of the crew

      • Mara
        August 12, 2019 at 2:05 pm

        I appreciate the quick and sincere response. I’m a little raw of late. I’ll certainly take you up on that offer. I’ve got a hell of a lot to say about a little game called Star Trek Online and gender, for instance.

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