Happy Fiftieth Birthday Star Trek!

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I think it is fair to say that in some ways, Star Trek saved my life….

When I was a kid, I had a lot of friends. But we moved a lot. I was a Marine brat. And for some reason, when we moved to the Chicago suburbs, I went from being Mr. Popular to being the most unpopular kid in school. From sixth grade on. I was the kid who got his books knocked out of his hands and made fun of and who everyone hated. I was so very very alone.

Then I discovered Star Trek. This was when the original series hadn’t been in reruns but for a very short time. I was just a little too young to like it in its original run, but now I was in love.

Because Star Trek showed a world and a time when man had evolved out of its immaturity and we were all one big family. It didn’t make a difference if you were male or female, white or black, Russian or Japanese, or even human or non-human.

I didn’t even know I was gay yet, but I knew this was a world I wished I lived in. And the philosophies that Gene Roddenberry made the center of his universe was one I adored and thrived through.

Star Trek in many ways made me the man I am today. Loving or learning to love all people, becoming the best that I can be, being a genuine person, and making tolerance an important part of my life.

Star Trek also made me the romantic that I am today.

I believe in the best of mankind. I see us at our best. I see us constantly getting better. Transforming into better beings. I believe that given the opportunity, we will transform our world into the very best it can be. I do believe we are slowly growing out of our infancy, our childhood, our teenage angst, and into loving wonderful adults.

I don’t think we will wipe ourselves out. Why just look what I’ve seen in my lifetime!

Interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, the first black president, and probably soon the first woman president. I’ve seen disease, but cures to disease. And even more is coming!

I’m excited to be witnessing the greatest spiritual awakening in human history.

Yes, there is a lot of bad stuff happening in the world, but there is so good as well. And more every day.

Star Trek also led me to science fiction literature because of Robert Block and David Gerrold and Harlan Ellison and Theodore Sturgeon and so many others. Which led me to other authors that led me to great literature in general.

I love Star Trek for teaching me all of this, for teaching me to see with new eyes, and more…entertaining me for most of my life. Through Star Trek and Star Trek; the Next Generation and Star Trek; Deep Space Nine and Star Trek; Voyager and even Star Trek; Enterprise. I loved the movies, old and new. And I love the possibility that next year a new Star Trek might be a new and wonderful part of the tradition. Gene Roddenberry’s son is a part of it!

Thank you Star Trek for being there for me when I was sad and lonely and had no friends. Thank you Star Trek for teaching me social skills when I found Trek fandom. Thank you for helping me be a better man.

Happy Birthday, Star Trek! And here is to fifty more years!

And beyond!
B.G. Thomas

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