If Michael Chabon is anything, he’s very open with fans and detractors about creative choices with Star Trek: Picard. He’s taken up the practice of answering fan questions on his Instagram.
He was recently asked about LGBTQ+ representation in season one of Picard.
A fan asked Chabon, “Will we see any overt LGBTQ+ rep in S1? i’m loving PIC, but there’s been a lack. thank u.”
Chabon answered by first stating, “You’re right, there has been a relative lack of emphasis there.”
He continued, “Our characters’ sexuality, or rather our understanding of them, emerged and evolved over the course of the season, as our actors moved into and began to inhabit their roles.”
He added, “It was an organic process and references to sexual identity and history arise in a less explicit way.”
Finally Chabon seemingly promised that season two of Picard would see the characters’ sexual identities more fully established. He answered, “Next season that understanding will come more fully into play. ”
You can see his full response below:
Trek Fans know, that the role of representation in Star Trek is as old as the franchise itself.
As reported by Airlock Alpha, Star Trek historian Mark Clark told Alpha Waves Radio that NBC was responsible in encouraging Roddenberry to hire minorities from the get go. Clark stated, “The idea that Gene Roddenberry faced massive resistance from NBC into putting an African-American woman on the bridge of the Enterprise, or an Asian-Ameican man, when in fact, NBC was encouraging Roddenberry to hire minorities.”
Clark added, “Especially at that time, NBC was the first network to become all-color. And in tandem to that, it was presenting itself as the ‘Network of Color,’ so to speak.”
Though Chabon claims that they want an organic approach to representation one notable example from Picard that comes to mind that doesn’t scream organic is Seven of Nine. When Star Trek: Voyager ended, her and Chakotay left the series looking to explore a romantic relationship. With Star Trek: Picard, we find that she’s gay and there’s no word about Chakotay.
I get what Michael Chabon is trying to say, but so far it’s been a miss. Deep Space Nine did a better job on this issue with Jadzia Dax rekindling an old flame from a previous host. You can check out the episode, “Rejoined” from season four. The episode addresses the topic of love transcending bodies and forms.
It appears that Chabon is attempting to take a play out of the Roddenberry book when it comes to representation. He does place an emphasis on the idea of building up the characters so that those references to their sexual identities are “organic.” This idea has worked in Star Trek. However, given how the show treated Seven of Nines, Chabon’s comments ring a little hollow.
What do you make of Chabon’s comments regarding LGBTQ+ representation? Do you believe him? Or do you think his words ring hollow given what we’ve seen in Picard so far?
Please let me know both in the comments and on Twitter!