Star Trek will introduce its first non-binary and transgender characters (respectively) in Star Trek: Discovery season 3, which is due on CBS All Access streaming sometime this year. The non-binary character will be Adira (actor Blu del Barrio - who uses "they/them" pronouns in self-reference). As the character description goes, "Adira is highly intelligent with a confidence and self-assurance well beyond their years." Star Trek's first transgender character will be Grey (Ian Alexander), who is described as "empathetic, warm and eager to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a Trill host." These characters already have significant character arcs connecting back to some of Discovery's other key characters, making this seem more than just token background casting.
Star Trek has a history of breaking barriers - such as featuring scripted TV's most famous (if not the first) interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhara in 1968. In general, Star Trek's vision of the future has been one that ideally highlights diversity across all lanes of life; however, the franchise was criticized in the 2000s for being slow to actually push forward with LGBTQ+ representation in its later iterations of (DS9 and Voyager, in particular). Star Trek has since moved to make corrective efforts with openly gay characters being included in both the rebooted Star Trek films and the new Discovery and Picard TV series. Now, it seems as though the franchise is (finally) ready to push even further into the wider spectrum of LGBTQ+ representation.
The full breakdown on Star Trek's latest progressive milestone can be found in CBS All Access press announcement, below:
"CBS All Access, ViacomCBS’ subscription video-on-demand and live streaming service, today announced that season three of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY will introduce the 'Star Trek' franchise’s first non-binary and transgender characters, furthering the 'Star Trek' universe’s ongoing commitment to Gene Roddenberry’s original vision of celebrating diversity and inclusion.
The 'Star Trek' universe’s first non-binary character is Adira, played by Blu del Barrio. Adira is highly intelligent with a confidence and self-assurance well beyond their years. They will find a new home on the U.S.S. Discovery and form an unexpected bond with Lt. Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz). The first transgender character is Gray, portrayed by Ian Alexander. Gray is empathetic, warm and eager to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a Trill host, but he will have to adapt when his life takes an unexpected turn.
“‘Star Trek’ has always made a mission of giving visibility to underrepresented communities because it believes in showing people that a future without division on the basis of race, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation is entirely within our reach,” said Michelle Paradise, co-showrunner and executive producer. “We take pride in working closely with Blu del Barrio, Ian Alexander and Nick Adams at GLAAD to create the extraordinary characters of Adira and Gray, and bring their stories to life with empathy, understanding, empowerment and joy.”
Blu del Barrio is a non-binary actor who uses they/them pronouns. Del Barrio was in their final year of studies at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art when they auditioned for the role of Adira. Del Barrio has been acting in theater and short films since the age of 7, and they’re incredibly excited to make their television acting debut in season three of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY.
Ian Alexander is a 19-year-old actor who uses they/them and he/him pronouns. He is best known for his roles as Buck Vu on the Netflix series “The OA” and Lev in Naughty Dog’s video game “The Last of Us Part II.” They are the first out transgender Asian-American person to act on television. He is also an advocate for transgender equality, racial justice and mental health awareness for LGBTQ+ youth.
The third season of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY will premiere on Thursday, Oct. 15. New episodes of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY’s 13-episode third season will be available on demand weekly on Thursdays, exclusively for CBS All Access subscribers in the United States."