Star Trek Discovery was my first contact with the franchise. I had always been interested in Star Trek, but approaching it when it had such a rich and complex history seemed daunting. Doing it trough a new show sounded perfect. When I saw it was supposed to have two women leading it? I was sold.
I’ve loved it, with its good moments and flaws like most shows, and have never cared for the criticism about how it lived up, or not, to other Star Trek shows. The third season is increasingly looking like it will be the best one yet. But still one thing remains missing: A fully developed, on-screen, sapphic relationship.
The show has a canon gay relationship, a canon pansexual character (Emperor Georgiou), a lesbian character (Tig Notaro as Jett Reno), this season also introduced nonbinary and trans actors into the cast (Blue del Barrio as Adira and Ian Alexander as Gray). But I want more. And I feel like Discovery has the potential to do more. I’m biased, of course, if it was up to me all shows would have sapphic characters and relationships.
The good news is that a show not having something has never stopped us from seeing it. As representation has gotten better, it has become less necessary. But WLW will always have an eye for subtext, tension, and even just taking characters we love and exploring their gay side.
That’s why, even as I’ve enjoyed the show as it is, I have always kept an eye open for any small sign of sapphic activity. Now I share it with you in this incomplete compilation of Star Trek: Discovery top 10 sapphic moments, in no particular order.
- The Pilot episode:
The one thing that caught my eye when I saw promos for this show was the fact there were two female main characters at its center. Captain Georgiou and Michael Burnham. But turns out I was baited. Not queerbaited in this case, but still baited. After episode 2, Captain Georgiou was gone, and we had a male captain. I felt robbed. Not unlike I felt robbed with Faberry or Swan Queen.
2. Tilly’s passionate female friendships
When she was eager to become friends with Michael, I assumed it was natural friendliness, and nothing more. But when not one, but TWO other intense friendships were revealed, my lesbian spider-senses started tingling.
First, we had May. A “ghost” that turned not to be a ghost who became obsessed with Tilly to the point of taking over her body and taking her to another dimension. It was intense, is what I’m saying. They even both outright said their connection is unique and stronger than anything they could have with anyone else. I don’t know about you, but to me that screams gay.
Then we had Queen Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po or Po for short. A relationship built on messages exchanged over an undermined amount of time. AKA every lesbian long distance online relationship/friendship/crush.
3. When we finally discovered what had happened to Jenny Schecter
She didn’t die. She was kidnapped by aliens and became Michael’s adoptive mother in the year 2300 something.
4. Wynonna Earp Ft. Star Trek
Another lesbian character who appeared in this universe was a certain beloved, badass sheriff, Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell). In this universe, though, she was known as Stella, and was deeply in love with an undeserving con man. We are glad she left to fall in love with Waverly Earp instead.
5. When they made me care about Ariam only to kill her.
Bury your gays is something we all have been familiar with. Have suffered because of it. Have rioted against. Thankfully is a trend that is going away, but it remains a sad reality that we had to suffer a lot of dear queer characters’ deaths. Ariam, as far as we know, is not queer, but the way they focused on her, made us care about her, for one episode, only to kill her by the end of it to propel the plot was reminiscent of the Bury Your Gays trope.
Maybe it was my own fault for not realizing what was going to happen when they out of nowhere started focusing on a side character they had never paid attention to. But it hurt.
6. Iconic lesbian joins the cast
Tig Notaro as Jett Reno has been one of the best additions to the show. And I swear is not because I’m biased and will naturally love a funny, charismatic, lesbian joining the cast. That helps, of course. But Jett Reno is amazing in her own right.
We later learn she was married to a woman, duh. But of course, her wife is dead. Star Trek Discovery couldn’t risk having a full 2 lesbians, married to each other on the show. Still, on-screen confirmation of Reno’s obvious queerness was nice.
7. All the attractive women
Look, there’s no shortage of amazing, strong, complex, attractive woman on board of Discovery. And as a lesbian, I thank the show for their service.
8. The way Owosekun looks at Detmer
Yeah, yeah. Im sure haters will say is only friendship again. But look, I know the difference between an I’m concerned for my friend look and I’m in love with you please let me protect you look.
This has only become more evident during Season 3.
9. Every single time Emperor Georgiou is on screen
Not only does she radiate “I want to sleep with you” energy around multiple women. She is confirmed pansexual and had a threesome on the show. Was it a cliché that the first confirmed canon sapphic woman was an evil version from the mirror universe? Yes. Will I take it anyway because I love her? Also yes.
Faith, Xena. Badass, troubled, dark women that can kick your ass have always been popular with us. Do we have a type? Yes. And Emperor Georgiou fits it perfectly.
10. The way Georgiou looks at Michael
They can call it a mother-daughter relationship all they want. I’m not buying it. Captain Georgiou and Michal’s relationship was the one of a mother-daughter or mentor. But the depth and strength of the feelings Emperor Georgiou has for Michale are not platonic.
The tension. The way Georgiou has gone against everything that defines her as an “evil” mirror version of Captain Georgiou to protect Michael repeatedly. The way several characters had called Georgiou out on caring and loving Michael. She has tried to intimidate the male romantic interest they insist on giving Michael too.
The show will never go there, and even though I don’t enjoy subtext as I used to now that we have so many good options of actual canon gay couples, I still enjoy the tension and potential these two have.
There needs to be more fan fiction about them, at least.