Remembering Nichelle Nichols

As you’ve surely heard by now, the great Nichelle Nichols has died. 

We celebrated what would turn out to be the last birthday of an incredible woman here, in this space, just about eight months ago. She was a pioneer, a great talent, and a trailblazer in human history. 

Her family released this statement yesterday:

Dear Friends, Fans, Colleagues, World,

I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years.

Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light, however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration.

Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.

I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further. Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected.

Live Long and Prosper”

Kyle Johnson

Nichelle made a place in history not just for herself, but for the countless people who have benefited from and will benefit from the life she lived and the trails she blazed. She did not inherit that place in history—she made it. And she shared it, and she paid it forward, and she changed the trajectory of the human experience through the way she chose to live her life. While rightly mourning her passing, we at To Proudly Go also celebrate her extraordinary life.

Please join us for extra special tribute to the legendary Nichelle Nichols with a special viewing of Woman In Motion and fundraiser for the NAACP at season finale of The Orville: New Horizons Viewing Party 6pm Saturday, August 6 at Barracuda Lounge. Click here for complete event details.

Pride Month: Looking Back, Looking Forward

As Pride Month comes to an end and we kick off the summer travel and party season, To Proudly Go has a lot to celebrate: a beautiful day marching in Brooklyn Pride, led by the extraordinary Flippe Kikee; thousands of dollars raised to uplift vulnerable members of the queer community; a stable and established social home for nerdfolk to connect every Saturday at Baraccuda; and of course a thriving and growing community of people drawn together by our love of Trek and our membership in (or allyship of) the LGBTQ+ community.

With so much to celebrate, it does also seem appropriate to reflect on what Pride really means, and the work that lies ahead.

Each year, we celebrate LGBTQ+ identity for the month of June, and we mark the advances in equality that have expanded the rights everyone deserves: to be who they are, to marry who they love, and to receive the benefits afforded to everyone else. But it’s important to remember that the movement to secure our rights started with a riot after prolonged and regular harassment of gay people by the authorities. And in so many ways it felt like the work was done.

But we live in a dynamic and changing world, and there are forces arrayed against the values of the majority of Americans—forces which seek to, and have already succeeded in doing so, take away personal freedoms from the American people.

This year, with the reversal of Roe v. Wade two days before the seventh anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision to codify marriage equality, we very likely have another time of struggle ahead of us.

The radical court has already revoked a woman’s right to choose, and it is nearly certain that they will attack equal marriage rights in the next year. Some who sit on the Court have signaled that they also intend to pursue the re-criminalization of gay sex of any kind.

As we look back with pride on all we accomplished, it is important to prepare ourselves for the challenges to come. Maintaining our rights, and reestablishing a woman’s right to whatever healthcare she needs, will not be easy. We will need to show up for one another and for the people who will come after us. We will need to show up at the voting booth, and at protests, and in the inboxes of our elected officials. And we’ll need to show up however we can to spread the messages of love and equality under the law in places outside of our gayborhoods.

The statehouses outside of New York and California, and local elections, will be critical not only to the continuation of LGBTQ+ rights, but to the restoration of women’s healthcare rights, and possibly to the survival of democracy itself.

Looking back on Pride month, there is much to be truly proud of. But looking forward, we may find ourselves needing to tap into the defiant spirit of previous generations of LGBTQ+ people–the people who had to fight to get us here. 

We can take a moment and remember that Pride isn’t just a month. Pride isn’t only a parade. It’s a movement, a march through time, and the journey comes with ups but also with downs. Some downs are probably coming our way.

But we’re in this together, and our community has won against all odds many times before.

Trekkies: Engage!

🖖🏳️‍🌈🖖🏳️‍🌈🖖🏳️‍🌈

Join To Proudly Go Online for Pride!

To Proudly Go is taking its Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Viewing Party online for a one night only event hosted by Heather Wood and Flippe Kikee! Join us 7pm Saturday, June 25 at www.snwprideshow.torproudlygo.org for a Trek’tastic pride event featuring fabulous Star Trek themed drag performances aimed at benefiting Pop Culture Hero Coalition!

About Pop Culture Hero Coalition

Founded in 2013, Pop Culture Hero Coalition (PCHC) provides mental health and social emotional learning programs for children, teens, and adults. They work to end oppression in all its forms, including bullying, racism, misogyny, LGBTQIA+ bullying, and cyber bullying. By using evidence-based psychology in combination with relatable stories and characters, they work to stransform struggles into strenghts. Learn more at: www.popculturehero.org

About To Proudly Go

To Proudly Go is a 501c3 nonprofit organization formed for the purposes of creating safe and supportive spaces that celebrates science fiction, promotes the LGBTQIA+ community and partners with important community causes to empower and foster a kinder and better world.

🏳️‍🌈🖖🏳️‍🌈

March with To Proudly Go on June 11th

Join the To Proudly Go Crew for the Brooklyn Pride March on Saturday, June 11, 2022!

All interested individuals must fill out an interest form to walk in the Brooklyn Pride March with the To Proudly Go crew on June 11. 

Interest form link:

www.bkpridemarchsignup.toproudlygo.org

Schedule:

We will meet at St. John’s Place between 5th and 6th Avenue (more details to come) at 5:30pm, please be there on time. The parade will start at 7:00pm SHARP.

Questions:

Do you have questions about marching with To Proudly Go? Please contact Luke.Messina@toproudlygo.org

***Due to restrictions, we may not be able to accommodate everyone. We will reach out by June 5th to confirm marchers. Looking forward to an amazing march!!***

About Brooklyn Pride:

Brooklyn Pride is a 501(c)(3) wholly volunteer-managed, tax-exempt, non-profit organization working for and on behalf of all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Brooklynites and all others who support the struggle for equality of this Community. In the spirit of Stonewall, Brooklyn Pride welcomes the participation of all the residents of Brooklyn and the outer boroughs, regardless of age, creed, gender, gender identification, HIV status, national origin, physical, mental or development disability, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

About To Proudly Go:

To Proudly Go is a 501c3 nonprofit organization formed for the purposes of creating safe and supportive spaces that celebrates science fiction, promotes the LGBTQIA+ community and partners with important community causes to empower and foster a kinder and better world.

To Proudly Go Marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Each year, May 17 marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. It was created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

Still, more than one-third of all countries criminalize same-sex relationships. LGBTQI people face prejudice, discrimination, stigma, hostility, violence. They are denied legal protections, essential health care, civil and human rights, including a right to bodily autonomy when forced to go through medical treatment or needless surgery. 

United Nations Population Fund

Queer rights are human rights and To Proudly Go supports this international day of awareness and stands with our LGBTQIA+ community across the world. To learn more about To Proudly Go Marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, please visit https://may17.org.

Join Us for the Strange New Worlds Premiere May 7th

To Proudly Go invites you to join us at the legendary Barracuda Lounge for the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season premiere with celebrity guest Jackie Cox from RuPaul’s Drag Race starting 6pm Saturday, May 7th! No cover!

Hosted by Heather Wood, Flippe Kikee with celebrity guest Jackie Cox from RuPaul’s Drag Race! These Trek’tastic events will be filled with Star Trek Trivia games, special Star Trek themed drag performances, special guests, 2-4-1 drinks, fabulous Star Trek prizes, and merchandise. Your contribution will help benefit Pop Culture Hero Coalition!

About Pop Culture Hero Coalition
Founded in 2013, Pop Culture Hero Coalition (PCHC) provides mental health and social emotional learning programs for children, teens, and adults. They work to end oppression in all its forms, including bullying, racism, misogyny, LGBTQIA+ bullying, and cyber bullying. By using evidence-based psychology in combination with relatable stories and characters, they work to stransform struggles into strenghts. Learn more at: www.popculturehero.org

About To Proudly Go
To Proudly Go is a 501c3 nonprofit organization formed for the purposes of creating safe and supportive spaces that celebrates science fiction, promotes the LGBTQIA+ community and partners with important community causes to empower and foster a kinder and better world.

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Earth Day 2022

Earth Day has been observed every April 22 since 1970, and is coming up again this Friday.

While our group is comprised of people who enjoy the fictional off-world storytelling of the Trek universe and find inspiration in the franchise’s vision of the future, our current reality is bound to this one, fragile planet we call home. And our home is in trouble. The ravages of human-caused climate change are being felt more and more desperately. Pollution still kills between 4.7 and 7 million people every year. There is, in 2022, a very real risk of nuclear warfare, which could range from a tactical weapon that would release radiation regionally across part of one continent and then spread around the globe, to far worse.

It is more urgent than ever to raise our own awareness, to speak out, and to become proactive to protect the planet. While “environmentalism” is often framed as a sentimental, soft-minded preoccupation of the far left, the objective reality is that restoring the health of our environment is the bedrock of future human advancement, prosperity, and possibly even survival as a civilization. If our cultural and economic capitals are flooded by rising oceans and disappear, the hard-headed economist and the artist will be in the same displaced (or deceased) population. If vast swaths of the agricultural lands that feed humanity become deserts and sources of fresh water evaporate from inland reservoirs, there will be mass starvation, wars over ever-more-scarce resources, and mass death. In short, despite what some economists and businesspeople might say, there is nothing more practical, sensible, and economically-prudent than the short-term investments necessary to secure long-term peace, stability, prosperity, and survival.

It may be too late to avert all effects of climate change, but there is still time to do more to stop the worst of the things that currently lie in store for all of us and future generations. It now becomes the responsibility of all people—all of us—to do more.

This Earth Day, find an event near you; write to your political representatives; take this chance to become part of the solution to the greatest challenge shared by all people of the place we call home. Our future might be one drowned by rising seas, scorched by fires, smothered by deserts. Or it can be written in the stars, far into the future. It really is our choice to make.

Trans Day of Visibility: Dropping the Cloak

by Ilia Etoile

You’re fifteen years old, you’re queer, and you’re dragging yourself through the 21st century, one confusing, terrifying day at a time. You survive long enough to make it home, turn on your boxy little television  – and there’s the future, far more colorful than you anticipated, as real as anything, reaching out to pull you into the 24th century: onto the bridge of a starship, or to a distant planet, or a remote space station guarding the only stable wormhole this side of the galaxy.

The people are kind to each other, they talk about how there’s no more prejudice, they all work together to help their neighbors; it’s a nice little story. Good aesops. Wild costumes. Melodrama. The spaceship is even carpeted, it’s a nice touch. Cozy. You like it, a lot! It’s very optimistic, comforting. You’d like to be an “astronaut on some kind of Star Trek,” too. Except…

Where are the people like you? Not allegorical, but flesh and blood – loving, being? What is an egalitarian space utopia without diversity? “It’s easy to be a saint in paradise,” observes Commander Sisko – well, it’s easy to have a paradise without differences. It’s not enough to hear it; you need to see it.

And then you see it. You see her. There’s a reason so many trans women of the ‘90s named themselves after Terry Farrell’s Jadzia Dax, and there’s a reason so many pieces just like this one keep being written. She sauntered onto Deep Space Nine as a beautiful, brilliant woman who, to her friends on the station, was last seen as a man – and they adapt to the change as natural, welcome, something worth celebrating. Her new pronouns are respected; the jokes about her past wear thin, fade quickly. 

As a Trill, Jadzia is the bright new host of the symbiont Dax, embodying the memories and spirits of the worm inhabiting her and all its past hosts. She is an alien in every sense: an extraterrestrial, a unique being in her environment, someone new to her own body, her own mind, her own spirit, and very alien to much of the audience. But not to you. You understand her perfectly.

At one point her alien ex wife shows up and they share one of the first lesbian kisses on television – a forbidden romance, some alien taboo about past lives. You’re shocked. You’re spellbound. All of a sudden there’s very queer characters on Star Trek, and they’re not allegorical, and they’re incredible, and you may or may not be crying.

It’s been almost thirty years since Deep Space Nine dared to make Star Trek’s utopia truly inclusive and visible, in order to interrogate it, and prove the need for that optimism, that hope. In that time, several more Star Trek shows have come and gone. Sadly, the franchise got comfortable with its progressive reputation, and neglected to do the work to uphold it.

Rick Berman’s era as showrunner was rife with misogyny and queerphobia on and off the screen, among other issues, and the show suffered massively in its treatment of trans characters, concepts. Jadzia Dax was infamously killed off after disputes with Terry Farrell. Enterprise kicked off its run with an early episode revolving around Trip Tucker, a human man, getting pregnant by an alien, largely treated as a joke. A later episode explores an alien culture with a third gender, one whose members are mistreated as second class citizens; after Trip attempts to give one of them asylum and teach them to read and fight for their rights, the alien is returned home and ends its own life. The episode ends with Trip receiving a vicious reprimand from Captain Archer for interfering in another culture, framing his actions as wrong, the outcome inevitable. It’s a harrowing, bleak lesson. Yet another episode sees Trip teasing Reed for being attracted to an ambiguously gendered alien, with Reed quipping that he “should have brought his scanner.” It was embarrassing, insulting, disappointing. (Aside: why was Trip personally at the center of so many transphobic stories?) As trans experience started to enter the mainstream, it was being sorely mishandled.

Star Trek only means so much until it starts to make good on its own promises – caring about the real life viewers and actors that are impacted, about the power of representation. Every Trans Day of Visibility, we celebrate ourselves and those around us, everyone in and out of their respective closets, but we also remember the dangers of visibility. The answer, however, is not to step back as Star Trek had done.

If you want to raise your shields and fire back, you have to drop your cloak. (Don’t ask me why, something about the deflector grid? It makes for a great metaphor, though!)

Today, Star Trek is making good on its promise. Discovery features an unprecedented number of LGBTQ crew and characters, from the epically tragic human husbands Paul and Hugh, played by gay theatre legends Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz, to the fantastical couple of Adira Tal and Gray, the nonbinary human host of his late boyfriend’s Trill symbiont and spirit, played by the astonishing fresh talents of Blu del Barrio and Ian Alexander, nonbinary and trans actors themselves. The characters and their stories are powerful, creative, explicitly queer, and the crew behind the scenes defend them off the air. The show is loud and proud of what it’s doing in a world that is equally loud and cruel, and it shines for it.

That confused fifteen year old teen has dragged herself a little closer to Star Trek’s promised future, now a twenty-six year old trans woman. As a proud member of To Proudly Go, I get to support my community too, and celebrate the promise of inclusivity, joy, and love. I wouldn’t be here without believing in that promise.

I hope that on this sacred day my voice will reach an audience that is emboldened to stand up for what they believe in and interrogate the status quo – not just settle for visibility, but call out injustice and fight for respect and understanding, for rights and safety. For all the Jadzias out there: Live Proud and Prosper.

🏳️‍⚧️🖖🏳️‍⚧️🖖🏳️‍⚧️🖖