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Star Trek to debut show's first transgender and non-binary characters

Star Trek: Discovery to introduce the show’s first ever transgender and non-binary characters in series 3 with Ian Alexander and Blu del Barrio confirmed for the roles

  • Ian Alexander will be taking on the role of transgender character, Gray, while Blu del Barrio will play the non-binary Adira in the third series next month  
  • Transgender actor Ian Alexander, 19, who uses both they/them and he/him pronouns, is known for his role as Buck Vu in The OA 
  • Blu del Barrio, who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, auditioned for the role during their final year at LAMDA 
  • Executive producer Michelle Paradise said of the new roles: ‘[Star Trek]  believes in showing people that a future without division… is entirely within our reach’ 
  • Star Trek: Discovery has repeatedly broke ground and in 2017 Sonequa Martin-Green became the first Black woman to lead a Star Trek television series
  • The show also introduced its first openly-gay married couple Paul Stamets, played by Anthony Rapp, and Dr. Hugh Culber, played by Wilson Cruz
  • The third series will debut on October 15 on free-to-view CBS, it has a total of 13 episodes and is the first season not to be shown behind a paywall 

Star Trek: Discovery is set to introduce the show’s first ever transgender and non-binary characters in series three.

Producers have confirmed that the new roles will make a debut on the third season next month.

Ian Alexander will be taking on the role of transgender character, Gray, while Blu del Barrio will play the non-binary Adira.

New roles! Star Trek: Discovery is set to introduce the show’s first ever transgender and non-binary characters in series three (Blu del Barrio, pictured, will play the non-binary Adira) 

Transgender actor Ian Alexander, 19, who uses both they/them and he/him pronouns, is known for his role as Buck Vu in The OA and he also voiced Lev in the video game The Last of Us Part II. 

He is the first openly transgender Asian-American actor to appear on television. Ian uses their social media platform to campaign for transgender equality and anti-racism.   

While Blu del Barrio, who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, auditioned for the role during their final year at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). They have previously appeared in theatre and short films. 

They told GLAAD of the exciting news: ‘When I got the call that I’d been cast as Adira, I hadn’t yet told the majority of my friends and family that I was non-binary. 

Exciting: Transgender actor Ian Alexander, 19, will be taking on the role of transgender character, Gray, he is known for his role as Buck Vu in The OA (pictured in 2019) 

‘So when this happened, it felt like the universe saying “go ahead”.’ 

Executive producer Michelle Paradise said of the new roles: ‘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.’

They added to Deadline: ‘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.’

New character Gray is said to be ’empathetic and warm’, he will be ambitious in his dream to become a Trill host. 

Talking about the new roles, Paul Stamets star Anthony Rapp tweeted on Wednesday: ‘I cannot wait for you all to meet these beautiful souls and wonderful artists. I am so so so proud of them and happy that they are a part of our show.’ 

Amazing: Star Trek: Discovery has repeatedly broke ground and in 2017 Sonequa Martin-Green became the first Black woman to lead a Star Trek television series (pictured in show still) 

While the ‘intelligent’ and ‘self-assured’ Adira will develop close friendships with Lt. Commander Paul Stamets, played by Anthony Rapp, and Dr. Hugh Culber, played by Wilson Cruz.    

Star Trek: Discovery has repeatedly broke ground and in 2017 Sonequa Martin-Green became the first Black woman to lead a Star Trek television series.   

Sonequa plays Michael Burnham in the series, a character who was named after her father, who was killed when she was very young.

Character: Sonequa plays Michael Burnham in the series, a character who was named after her father, who was killed when she was very young (pictured with Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru, left, and Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou, right, in 2017) 

The popular franchise also broke ground by introducing its first openly-gay married couple Paul Stamets, played by Anthony Rapp, and Dr. Hugh Culber, played by Wilson Cruz.  

Talking about the new roles, Paul Stamets star Anthony tweeted on Wednesday: ‘I cannot wait for you all to meet these beautiful souls and wonderful artists. I am so so so proud of them and happy that they are a part of our show.’  

Series three will be set 950 years into the future, teasing the new season at San Diego Comic-Con in July, Alex Kurtzman said: ‘Obviously we made a pretty radical jump into the future at the end of season two – we’re going almost 1000 years into the future in season three (950 to be precise), which is crazy. 


The popular franchise also broke ground by introducing its first openly-gay married couple Paul Stamets, played by Anthony Rapp, and Dr. Hugh Culber, played by Wilson Cruz (L-R)

‘Further than any Trek series has ever gone before. Part of the fun of it is that we get to honour canon but shake it up hugely.’ 

While director Jonathan Frakes, who also played Captain William T. Riker in Star Trek: Picard, teased to Comicbook.com: ‘Discovery has primarily to do with Sonequa’s character, as you’ll see.

‘At the end of season two, we flash-forwarded I think 930 years. Michael Burnham has found a new core, not to mention a new partner in crime. So again, there’s a big tonal shift on that show, less driven by the pain and guilt of her past and more about the magical reunification of the Discovery crew and wherever she went off to.

‘God knows where she went as the Red Angel. So those two things coming back together is very much the theme, and how grateful everyone is and what’s next. It’s got a lot of action-adventure and not so much pain.’  

Future! Series three will be set 950 years into the future and the show tweeted a trailer in October 2019 

The original Star Trek debuted in 1966 as a U.S. television series depicting the adventures of the Starship Enterprise. 

It was created by the late Gene Roddenberry and featured characters including Captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner, and Vulcan officer Mr. Spock, played by the late Leonard Nimoy. 

In November 2017, former The Walking Dead star Sonequa appeared on Good Morning Britain to talk about her character when the subject of gender fluidity came up.

She said: ‘I love all the political themes we’re exploring. My character is named after her biological father, who in the story was killed when she was very young.

Fun: Teasing the new season at San Diego Comic-Con in July, Alex Kurtzman said: ‘Obviously we made a pretty radical jump into the future at the end of season two – we’re going almost 1000 years into the future in season three!’ (the cast pictured in 2019 show still)

‘That is simply but profoundly a political statement of the gender fluidity of the future, where a daughter can be named after her father.’

Host Piers Morgan replied: ‘I’m very confused and unsettled by gender fluidity, people who wake up one day and think they’re Sonequa and the next day Michael.’

Unfazed by the line of questioning, Sonequa replied: ‘I don’t think anyone can speak on those terms because it is such a highly sensitive and personal thing.

‘And everyone has a right to explore that. It’s our rights as human beings. Or at least it should be.

‘In this case (with Michael Burnham) when I’m speaking of gender fluidity I’m talking about the gender roles being in a more equal place.

‘Being on a more even sort of playing field, if you will, so we’re not paying so much attention to the sort of barriers that separate those two genders.’

The third series will debut on October 15 on free-to-view CBS, it has a total of 13 episodes and is the first season not to be shown behind a paywall.   

Return! The third series will debut on October 15 on free-to-view CBS, it has a total of 13 episodes and is the first season not to be shown behind a paywall (Sonequa pictured in 2017 show still) 

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