The actor plays the part of Dr Hugh Culber on the CBS series, one half of a gay couple with Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp), who have been praised as a diverse step forward for Star Trek.
"This franchise has been around for over 50 years, and to not have LGBT characters represented was an obvious missing piece of the world," Cruz admitted to Entertainment Weekly.
"So many LGBT people have been fans since the '60s and have been wanting the LGBT community to be a part of this universe. For them to be thanking us, it's so moving."
Reflecting on wide-reaching potential of LGBTQ+ visibility on Star Trek, he added: "I think about young people who are watching the show and, I hope, feel that their futures are being represented in this relationship.
"That they see our relationships are as worthy of representation as everyone else's – because they are."
Rapp previously opened up about playing the series' first LGBTQ character, saying: "I'm really excited and happy when a gay character is a part of a story – especially when a gay character is created in a complex and human and non-stereotypical, interesting way, and that has certainly been the case with Stamets.
"And you get to see his relationship. There was a little glimpse with Sulu in Beyond, and it was a nice nod.
"But in this case, we actually get to see me with my partner in conversation, in our living quarters, you get to see our relationship over time, treated as any other relationship would be treated."
Star Trek: Discovery airs on CBS in the US and Netflix in the UK.
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