Are you a Trekker or only a Trekkie?

“Trekkies are teeny-bops. The real fans are Trekkers.” — Allyson Whitfield 

The print reporters covering the convention got caught up in a debate familiar to fans in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s but which is probably meaningless to younger people: are you a Trekkie or a Trekker?

The distinction was important to young me. I was, of course, a Trekker. The Toronto Star explained the basics on July 26, 1976:

It wasn’t all fun, Toronto’s Star Trek convention. It was serious business for the Trekkers, as distinguished from the Trekkies. The Trekkies may have come to look at Scotty and Uhura, to buy Dr. Spock ears and Starship T-shirts, and reminisce about the good old days of the Starship Enterprise. But the hard-core Trekkers came from all over North America to discuss mankind’s future problems and science fiction in general.

(Yep: “Dr. Spock.”)

Allyson Whitfield told The Globe and Mail on July 24 that “Trekkies are teeny-bops. The real fans are Trekkers.” The newspaper continued:

The Trekkers, the serious ones, all take trekking very seriously. Even the actors and actresses from the TV show, who probably never guessed what would happen to them later, take the whole cult seriously, too.

“You are the most important and beautiful people in the universe, you Trekkies and Trekkers,” cooed Nichelle Nichols to a cheering but obedient audience of 1,500. Miss Nichols played Lieut. Uhura on Star Trek, and to many of her fans, this startlingly attractive woman herself is one of the most beautiful people in the world – sharing that spot only with others from the bridge of the Star Ship Enterprise. 

Star Trek actor Nichelle Nichols on stage. She is wearing a gold-coloured top and a gold necklace.
Photo by Frank Goodman

A convention wrap-up published by The Windsor Star in August of that year again touched on this inherent snobbishness. 

Wilda Robinson and her three children traveled to Toronto from Tecumseh, Ontario. She told the reporter “A Trekker is more seriously interested in science fiction than a Trekkie who is there to gawk at the stars of the cast.”

I find I still refer to myself as a Trekker but I will answer to either.

Two convention goers cosplaying as Lokai and Bele from the Star Trek episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.
Lokai and Bele. Photo by Conrad Felber

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