In 2013, a fan asked 'Star Trek' to make Sulu gay. Here's his response to the news.

John Cho's recent announcement that Sulu will be gay in "Star Trek: Beyond" predictably set the Internet on fire.

Photo from "Star Trek: Beyond"/Paramount Pictures.


According to Cho, the decision was made, in part, as a tribute to George Takei, the openly gay actor and LGBT rights activist who played the character in the original series.

The actor revealed that Sulu's relationship with his partner — with whom he has a daughter — would be treated as any other relationship in the film and essentially be "no big deal."

Lots of fans were thrilled.



But the announcement about Sulu's sexual orientation had a surprise critic: Takei himself.

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

"I’m delighted that there’s a gay character," Takei told The Hollywood Reporter. "Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene [Roddenberry’s] creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate."

Takei explained that he believed that while "Star Trek" is ready for a gay main cast member, the decision to depict Sulu's same-sex relationship in a prequel recasts the Enterprise helmsman as closeted in the original series.

Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the screenplay, responded in The Guardian to "respectfully disagree" with Takei.

Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images.

"Justin Lin, Doug Jung and I loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice," Pegg said in a statement.

"Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic."

One fan who was particularly excited by the news was Dan Wohl, a California graduate student who asked for exactly this move in a 2013 essay published on The Mary Sue.

"J.J. Abrams, if you’re listening, I think you should make Sulu gay," Wohl wrote.

Giving Sulu a same-sex partner, Wohl argued — and treating their relationship as simply something that is — would not only be a moving tribute to Takei's life and work, but help begin to correct "complicated but ultimately disappointing history" of mostly ignoring LGBT themes and characters on "Star Trek."

Wohl told Upworthy that he was delighted by the news.

Photo from "Star Trek: Beyond"/Paramount Pictures.

"I think it's awesome, and I'm really glad they're doing it," he said.

While he expected that the franchise would eventually introduce LGBT characters, he explained that he didn't believe the writers of the film would actually choose a character with such a long history to be the series' first.

"It's very rare to have something that you want so much to happen in your fandom come true."

"The normalization of things is really powerful," Wohl explained, praising the creators of "Beyond" for choosing not to make a grand statement about Sulu's sexuality within the film.

Making Sulu's sexual orientation just one more facet of a character with decades of rich backstory rather than a major plot point, he said, is just as powerful as using the character to make a big, sweeping statement.

"Almost just as important is to show that the things that were fought for should be viewed as just parts of life."

While he criticized the franchise for being behind the curve on LGBT issues to date, Wohl hopes that with a new series about to launch on CBS, "Star Trek" will further affirm its inclusive values.

"What I really think 'Star Trek' could and should become a pioneer in is when it comes to trans characters," he said.

Similarly, he said, if the franchise does introduce a trans character or characters, it could break new ground by refusing to make their gender identity the focus of their arc.

"The only time that you basically see a trans character is when the story is about them being trans."

But first, the franchise is — thankfully, finally — boldly going ... where many have gone before.

Photo by James Teterenko/Wikimedia Commons.

The show "was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms," creator Roddenberry wrote in an essay on the "Star Trek" philosophy.

While creators, actors, and fans may disagree about the particulars, with "Star Trek," what else is new?

True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Last year, we shared the sad impact that plastic pollution has had on some of our planet's most beautiful places. With recycling not turning out to be the savior it was made out to be, solutions to our growing plastic problem can seem distant and complex.

We have seen some glimmers of hope from both human innovation and nature itself, however. In 2016, a bacteria that evolved with the ability to break down plastic was discovered in a Japanese waste site. Two years later, scientists managed to engineer the mutant plastic-eating enzyme they called PETase—named for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic found in bottles and food packaging—in a lab.

Here's an explainer of how those enzymes work:

Ending Plastic Pollution with Designer Bacteria youtu.be

Now researchers have revealed another game-changer in the plastic-eater—a super-enzyme that can break down plastic six times faster than PETase alone.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has become a beloved voice of reason, knowledge, and experience for many Americans on social media the past few years. At 88, Rather has seen more than most of us, and as a journalist, he's had a front row seat as modern history has played out. He combines that lifetime of experience and perspective with an eloquence that hearkens to a time when eloquence mattered, he called us to our common American ideals with his book "What Unites Us," and he comforts many of is with his repeated message to stay "steady" through the turmoil the U.S. has been experiencing.

All of that is to say, when Dan Rather sounds the alarm, you know we've reached a critical historical moment.

Yesterday, President Trump again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election when directly asked if he would—yet another democratic norm being toppled. Afterward, Rather posted the following words of wisdom—and warning—to his nearly three million Facebook fans:


Keep Reading Show less
via DanielandDavid2 / Instagram

Editor's Note: We used "black" in lowercase for our headline and the body of this story in accordance with emerging guidelines from the Associated Press and other trusted news outlets who are using uppercase "Black" in reference to American descendants of the diaspora of individuals forcibly brought from Africa as slaves. As part of our ongoing efforts to be transparent and communicate choices with our readership, we've included this note for clarity. The original story begins below.

On February 26, 2019, Stacy and Babajide Omirin of Lagos, Nigeria got quite the shock. When Stacy delivered identical twins through C-section one came out black and the other, white.

The parents knew they were having identical twins and expected them to look exactly the same. But one has a white-looking complexion and golden, wavy hair.

"It was a massive surprise," Stacy told The Daily Mail. "Daniel came first, and then the nurse said the second baby has golden hair. I thought how can this be possible. I looked down and saw David, he was completely white."

Keep Reading Show less