Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Casts Queer as Folk's Jesse James Keitel as Nonbinary Character

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is adding Queer as Folk and Big Sky star Jesse James Keitel as a guest star playing a nonbinary character. She appears in the upcoming seventh episode of Strange New Worlds' first season. The episode debuts on Paramount+ on June 16h. According to Variety, Keitel, a trans woman, plays "Dr. Aspen, once a Starfleet counselor, but whose experiences on the Federation border prompted them to shift careers and work as a humanitarian aid worker." During the episode, Aspen develops a "surprising" connection with Mr. Spock (Ethan Peck). Trans filmmaker Sydney Freeland (Reservation Dogs) directed the episode. 

Paramount+'s Star Trek franchise has been recognized for its diverse casts. Star Trek: Discovery has been nominated for Outstanding Drama four times by the GLAAD media awards, winning once. The show features the same-sex couple Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Cuber (Wilson Cruz). Its third season also introduced the nonbinary character Adira, played by Blu del Barrio, who is nonbinary. Adira is in a relationship with Gray Tal, a transgender man played by transgender actor Ian Alexander. Star Trek: Picard features the relationship between Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) and Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd). A recent Strange New Worlds episode revealed that Christine Chapel (Jess Bush) is bisexual.

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(Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds follows Captain Christopher Pike at the helm of the USS Enterprise in the years before Star Trek: The Original Series. The series brings back fan-favorite stars from Star Trek: Discovery's second season: Anson Mount as Captain Christopher PikeRebecca Romijn as Number One, and Ethan Peck as Science Officer Spock. The series follows Pike, Spock, and Number One before Captain Kirk's command of the USS Enterprise, as they explore new worlds across the galaxy. The series also stars Jess Bush as Nurse Christine Chapel, Christina Chong as La'an Noonien-Singh, Celia Rose Gooding as Cadet Nyota Uhura, Melissa Navia as Lt. Erica Ortegas, and Babs Olusanmokun as Dr. M'Benga.

Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers are Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' co-showrunners. Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet serve as executive producers, with Alonso Myers, Heather Kadin, Frank Siracusa, John Weber, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, and Aaron Baiers. CBS Studios, Secret Hideout, and Roddenberry Entertainment produce the series.

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debuts new episodes on Thursdays on Paramount+. The series is already renewed for a second season.