“According to the script, Guinan was supposed to start telling Lal, ‘When a man and a woman are in love …’ and in the background, there would be men and women sitting at tables, holding hands[…] But Whoopi refused to say that. She said, ‘This show is beyond that. It should be ‘When two people are in love.’”—TNG research assistant Richard Arnold on TNG 3x16, The Offspring [x] (via macpye)
“To the audience, you’re playing out this metaphor of a taboo that you’re not supposed to be involved with somebody, and the audience sees these two women who are in love together, but the show will never ever comment on it, because it’s really about this Trill taboo, this completely other issue. But the idea of homosexual love is staring the audience in the face no matter what they do, but we never have to mention it in the show. It just became this lovely tale about these two forbidden lovers that just couldn’t get over that one had died and didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, and here they come together in these two other bodies, but what they once felt for one another is still there, but the societal taboo was so strong that one of them had to back out, one of them wasn’t willing to take it all the way. It was just a lovely bit of Star Trek because it really was an allegory for our society, and that’s ultimately what Trek does best.”—Ronald D. Moore, Writer & Producer, on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine S4E05: Rejoined (via inamirrordorkly)
“Some people view Gene as a man with a wild futuristic utopian fantasy, but that’s too simple. Star Trek did not promise that people would magically become inherently “better,” but that they would progress, always reaching for their highest potential and noblest goals, even if it took centuries of taking two steps forward and one step back. Ideally, humankind would be guided in its quest by reason and justice. The ultimate futility of armed conflict, terrorism, dictatorial rule, prejudice, disregard for the environment, and exercising power for its own sake was demonstrated time and time again. Even our most humorous episode, “The Trouble with Tribbles,” illustrated the risks of removing a species from its natural habitat.”—Nichelle Nichols, “Beyond Uhura” (via caitlincaitland)
“That came up at the very first press conference [for Star Trek: The Next Generation]; a reporter asked Gene Roddenberry “…It doesn’t make any sense! You’ve got a bald actor playing this part! Surely by the 24th century they would have found a cure for male pattern baldness!” And Gene Roddenberry said, “No, by the 24th century no one will care.”—Patrick Stewart, discussing his baldness (via tatrtotz)
But it’s more than just that. For as much as shows like Star Trek inspire scientists and inventors to create those very things that we knew and hoped would become a reality, they also inspire people to view each other differently.
Starting with the dream that the universe would one day be a place where everyone was equal. For Star Trek, that started with the military.
THE FUTURE WHERE ALL MEN AND WOMEN ARE CREATED EQUAL
By the time Star Trek aired its first episode in 1966, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, was already a seasoned military veteran. In 1941, he joined the United States Army Air Corps (which became the United States Army Air Forces). He flew planes in World War II, totaling 89 missions until he was honorably discharged at the rank of captain in 1945. During that time he saw people of all types in the military, pulling together for the sake of the mission, patriotism and each other. It was this social foundation upon which he built his future military premise.
“It speaks to some basic human needs that there is a tomorrow, that it’s not all going to be over in a big flash and a bomb, that the human race is improving, that we have things to be proud of as humans. No, ancient astronauts did not build the pyramids. Human beings built them because they’re clever and they work hard. Star Trek is about those things.” – Gene Roddenberry
Gene Roddenberry’s view for the world had a strong cultural impact, different than what was often thought at the time. I mean, we’re talking about the swinging 1960s. The Mad Men universe of gender separation and racial segregation. Social reform was taking the shape by way of civil rights activism. Roddenberry believed that the future would have evolved as much in science and technology as it would in social reform (miniskirts and beehives not withstanding).
“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.” — Gene Roddenberry
Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura (in TOS), often recalls the story about the time she was thinking of quitting Star Trek to return to Broadway, and how it was Martin Luther King, Jr. who talked her out of it. A fan of Star Trek, MLK Jr. mentioned to Nichelle that her show was one of the few he and his wife would allow their children to watch, and that she was a symbol for reform and change. That she was an inspiration. That her work on a science fiction show was helping to change the attitude of a nation, of a world.
So she stayed. I mean, who could say no to that?
As a result, she would go on to film the episode “Plato’s Stepchildren”, the first example of a scripted inter-racial kiss between a white man and black woman on American television.
“I am female. I was born that way. I have had those feelings… those longings… all my life. It is not unnatural. I am not sick because I feel this way. I do not need to be helped, and I do not need to be cured. What I do need — what all of those like me need — is your understanding and your compassion. We do not injure you in any way. And yet we are scorned, and attacked. And all because we are different. What we do is no different from what you do. We talk and laugh… we complain about work and we wonder about growing old… we talk about our families, and we worry about the future…We cry with each other when things seem hopeless. All the loving things that you do with each other… that’s what we do. And for that, we are called misfits, and deviants… and criminals. What right do you have to punish us? What right do you have to change us? What makes you think you can dictate how people love each other?”—
[Soren, a member of a genderless species, defends her sexual orientation]
“There was an episode, one of my favorite moments in Star Trek, when Captain Kirk looks over the cosmos and says, ‘Somewhere out there someone is saying the three most beautiful words in any language.’ Of course you heart sinks and you think it’s going to be, ‘I love you’ or whatever. He says, ‘Please help me.’ What a philosophically fantastic idea, that vulnerability and need is a beautiful thing.”—