hearing an actor’s real accent for the first time
Heh. I still remember the first time my mum saw David Tennant not being the Doctor.
…except for one female-only romance in Deep Space 9 which ended after half an episode and was in itself illicit for reasons other than the fact Lieutenant Dax was kissing a woman, not a single character in any Star Trekseries or film has been openly gay or lesbian. (As an aside: sci fi seems far more comfortable with lesbian romance than gay; probably something to do with the assumed audience being mostly straight and male, thus supposedly titillated by the idea.)
There are two reasons for this lack of representation. The hand-wringing, slightly mealy-mouthed explanation given by Gene Roddenberry when asked about the subject was that because people in his future didn’t care about sexuality, it didn’t need to be shown (despite straight male and female characters having sex all the time). Then there’s the real one, which is that ABC executives, all the way up to the end of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2004, were phenomenally uncomfortable with showing, or even implying the possibility of, same-sex couples on-screen. They figured it was a money-loser, was too controversial for US audiences, and so vetoed any real attempt at including gay characters in the franchise. Deep Space 9’s Cardassian tailor Garak, for instance, was supposed to be bisexual, but ABC vetoed the idea. To his credit, Andy Robinson, who played Garak, didn’t take this lying down and made up for it by flirting heavily with one of the more attractive male lead characters (Siddig El Fadil’s Dr Julian Bashir)non-stop for 7 series.”