I do hang onto canon pretty hard, even for a story that doesn't deserve it. I can explain things, at least in my own head, that makes most things work together.
I agree that this does work against Trek's optimism, but then Trek is almost as bad in it's erasure of LGBT characters too. Thankfully the novels have done a better job in following up with Trek's legacy than even the current movies in that department.
When I get to the end of my TOS ongoing marathon I'm going to do my best to figure out if I can wiggle around the issue. The presence of female captains in Vanguard, presumably set before this ep, put a lie to the whole thing anyways.
I just watched Mudd's Women, which doesn't involve women as captains, but still gave me a lot to think about on the subject of sexism in Trek. I overall forgive Trek for a lot of these problems, as it was a product of it's time, and ahead of the time in many ways. We do see many women serving in Starfleet, with examples of them having rank and authority,and Roddenberry did want Number One as the first officer, which was pretty bold and daring for the era.
Even with it's shortcomings, the optimistic future of Trek is very important to me.
Thanks CommishSleer for the info! I have that one and am waiting to get to it in my reading. It means a lot to me that the novel line has become so inclusive. I still remember how excited I was when the New Frontier series (which I love) had so many non heteronormative characters as part of their cast, which was really ground breaking at the time. Over the years Trek lit has become more and more inclusive while even the new movies haven't made any progress in that department.