Character Type: Secondary
Summary: Yoshi was the first openly gay character in the Star Trek Universe and one of the first openly gay characters in all of Marvel Comics' publications. However, the sole series that he appeared in (Star Trek: Starfleet Academy) was short-lived and was canceled after only nineteen issues. As Mike McDermott notes in a biographical entry about Mishima written for the site Gay League, "Yoshi Mishima was the first ever openly homosexual human in the Star Trek Universe. He was portayed as a smart, brave, caring young man who was a capable leader, a skilled officer, and an effective fighter." Yoshi's character was created by the writer Christian Cooper. More than 20 years later, Cooper received an enormous amount of press coverage when he was harassed by a racist woman who objected to him walking his dog. Writing for Mother Jones, Dan Spinelli explains, "In addition to being one of New York’s best-known birding enthusiasts, Cooper was, I learned, a pioneering comics editor. He created the first queer characters in the Star Trek and Marvel fictional universes. Two decades before he was falsely accused of threatening a woman in Central Park (and then refused to aid police), Cooper became one of the first openly-gay editors at Marvel. He was one of the company’s few Black creators, too."
Database Links: Gay League, Comic Vine
Important Issues: It is revealed that Yoshi is gay in Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #17 when a teammate asks him about his boyfriend.
To a degree, all the characters of the Star Trek family are "out" there--as in outer space. But for the first time, a Federation member is "out" there--as in "out of the closet." On newsstands this week: Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, the monthly comic-book title, featuring a subplot about a gay cadet. The issue is historic--making Nebula Squadron member Yoshi Mishima the first "outed" regular Trekker character in the 30-plus year run of the franchise's TV, film, book and comic life. (Read more)
Joal Ryan, "Where no Trekker has gone before," E Online, February 28, 1998.
In a video that went viral on Monday, investment banker Amy Cooper is seen threatening to call the police on Christian Cooper (no relation) and tell them that “an African-American man is threatening my life,” after the avid birdwatcher asked her to put her dog on a leash... Aside from being an avid birdwatcher, Cooper also happens to be a trailblazing queer comic writer. As a former editor for Marvel, he is known as a pioneer in the comic world for creating the character Yoshi Mishima, the first gay male character in a Star Trek comic and the first gay human ever within the Star Trek universe. With Yoshi, Cooper explored themes of discrimination, obviously something he’s no stranger to in his own life. (Read more)
Desirée Guerrero, "Man at center of viral park video made gay Star Trek history," Out, May 26, 2020.