Social Equality Effort

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Homepage of the Social Equality Effort website, as of August 17, 2009.

Social Equality Effort is an online organization with the goal of encouraging LGBT representation in the media. According to their front page, SEE (a common abbreviation for Social Equality Effort) is:

...a pending non-profit organization that advocates the fair and balanced representation of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) persons in the mainstream media, with a current focus on the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy. [1]



The Social Equality Effort website launched on July 15, 2009. Their first project was called SEE Trek Love, which initially focused on the inclusion of a same-sex relationship between the characters Kirk and Spock. This raised many concerns by a number of different people and groups, and the petition would eventually be changed to be more encompassing.

They began promoting their efforts on various mailing lists and forums such as newtrekslash, but were met with very mixed reactions to their campaign.[2] Many fans objected to their insisting that Kirk/Spock had to be the couple focused on, as that would break up Spock/Uhura which had gained a considerable following after the new movie. There was an "anti-het" vibe to some of the arguments to canonize Kirk/Spock, and people raised eyebrows over the way it read as more of an effort to make a favored slash couple canon instead of a real push for social equality and gay visibility.[3],[4],[5],[6],[7] Comments on the Social Equality Effort's own forum raised more questions about the entire effort, with some supporters posting comments such as "I really think it's a bit...silly? For people who support LGBT interests not to sign the petition or support us because they don't support the pairing. It's like if civil rights supporters decided not to support the movement because they didn't like MLK Jr.."[8]

Faced with this brewing controversy, on July 24, 2009 the organizers had a meeting to discuss changing the focus of the campaign away from specifically Kirk/Spock due to all of this criticism. A re-worded petition was proposed and parts of the website taken down until they could be revised.[9] A revised petition was posted in the forum for discussion on July 27, removing the mention of Kirk/Spock.[10]

Relaunch and SEE Trek love

On August 1, 2009 the Social Equality Effort website was re-launched. The SEE Trek Love project and petition pages were modified to be more supportive of LGBT representation in general, and no longer requested a specific relationship. In regards to the initial concerns that were raised about the project, the organizers of Social Equality Effort released a statement on their website to clarify what the goals of the group were, and to apologize for the earlier issues regarding Kirk/Spock. [11]

The project's petition now reads:

In the fifth season [of Star Trek: The Next Generation] viewers will see more of shipboard life [including] gay crew members in day-to-day circumstances." - Gene Roddenberry, to The Advocate, 1991
The above quote is a promise made by the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, shortly before his death. This promise was never fulfilled.
We, the undersigned, request that the director, producers and writers of the new Star Trek films include a romantic relationship between main characters of the same sex in the execution of Star Trek sequels. This relationship could be formed by any number of character combinations as might develop naturally in the course of the story. Preferably, this development would occur between members of the primary cast of characters on the Enterprise.
If you, the director, producers and writers, allow such relationships to be shown as was intended for the original Star Trek productions, we believe that it would carry forward the legacy that Gene Roddenberry left to us, the fans: the legacy of a future in which all genders and races are equal and accepted. The acknowledgment of the deep love and friendship between members of the Enterprise crew in a mainstream film, regardless of gender, would encourage the abolition of prejudice and homophobia and open the door to further acceptance of all types of sexuality.
We recognize the fiscal implications of such a momentous step. However, such a relationship, if accepted in the mainstream films, will bring financial returns from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans groups as well as Star Trek fans. The resurrection of the franchise has come at the perfect time for it to lead the way again, as it did in the 1960s, and break new ground in terms of gender and sexual equality. [12]

The website also now states that their project, SEE Trek Love, is:

...a viral campaign (primarily internet based) that is petitioning the Powers that Be of the upcoming Star Trek films to feature major LGBT person and/or relationships in their films. [13]

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