Star Trek: Discovery continues their efforts to become more LGBTQ inclusive. Just recently, they introduced their first same-sex couple. Now a transgender character and a non-binary character will join the third season, according to a recent CBS All Access announcement. Read on for the full story.
Star Trek’s First Non-Binary Character Bonds with Franchises First Same-Sex Couple
It’s a major first for the Star Trek franchise! While the show has aired in one form or another for over half a century, they only recently introduced a same-sex couple to the character roster. Now, they’re keeping that inclusivity momentum going by bringing on two more LGBTQ characters- Gray and Adira.
— Star Trek (@StarTrek) September 2, 2020
Gray, played by Ian Alexander (best know for his role in The OA), is a Trill trans man who has spent his entire existence planning to become a host for a symbiotic alien species. Adira, played by newcomer Blu del Barrio, is a non-binary character who develops a deep bond with Lt. Commander Paul Stamets and Dr. Hugh Culbe, the show’s historic same-sex couple.
Co-showrunner and executive producer Michelle Paradise said in a statement,
“‘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.”
Star Trek’s LGBTQ characters are actually played by LGBTQ actors
According to Variety Magazine, the show worked closely with GLAAD to create authentic characters. Both Gray and Adira are actually played by LGBTQ actors.
I HAVE BEEN SITTING ON THIS NEWS FOR MANY MONTHS AND I CANNOT WAIT FOR YOU ALL TO MEET THESE BEAUTIFUL SOULS AND WONDERFUL ARTISTS AND I AM SO SO SO PROUD OF THEM AND HAPPY THAT THEY ARE A PART OF OUR SHOW AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! https://t.co/s2k8MRYcrU
— Anthony Rapp Black Lives Matter (@albinokid) September 2, 2020
Blu del Barrio (who uses they/them pronouns) told Nick Adams of GLAAD in a blog post,
“Adira is a wonderfully complex character. Mainly because of this duality they have within them: They’re astonishingly intelligent and yet they’re still a kid. They experience their emotions at a heightened level, like most teenagers. That’s what makes them so fun to play. I like to describe them as cerebrally brilliant and emotionally a puppy.”
Del Barrio earned a spot on Star Trek: Discover during their last year of school in the famed London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. While they’ve acted in both theater and short films since early childhood, their role on Star Trek will be their television debut.
While del Barrio is a newcomer both to the screen and to making television history, Ian Alexander is no stranger to either. At the time of his appearance on The OA, he was the first out Asian American trans actor on television. Of their co-star, del Barrio told GLAAD,
I honestly cannot speak highly enough of Ian. I absolutely love him, and it was so fun working alongside him. Having him join the show with me was a godsend.
Blu del Barrio has a lot in common with Adira
It’s also interesting to note that del Barrio has much in common with their character, saying,
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. I had only recently discovered the word and realized that it described how I’d felt for a long time. I knew I wanted to tell my friends and family, so when this happened, it felt like the universe saying “go ahead.”
We’re looking forward to seeing both Alexander and del Barrio bring more inclusivity to the Star Trek franchise. We’re particularly looking forward to seeing the bond develop between Adira and the series’ historic same-sex couple.