Star Trek: Discovery boldly goes where the franchise has never gone before with non-binary and trans characters

Star Trek

Star Trek: Discovery is about to embark upon a new final frontier as it introduces the first non-binary and trans characters to its upcoming third season.

Gene Roddenberry’s iconic sci-fi franchise has long celebrated the “infinite diversity” of the universe, and this legacy looks set to continue with the latest crew of the USS Discovery.

Actor Blu del Barrio will make their screen acting debut as the non-binary character Adira, while Ian Alexander, who starred in Netflix’s The OA, will portray the transgender character Gray. Together they will play the first trans and non-binary roles in the franchise’s 54-year history.

Deadline describes Gray as “empathetic, warm and eager to fulfil his lifelong dream” of becoming host to a Trill, a symbiotic organism that lives inside humanoids – but he will have to adapt when his life takes an unexpected turn.

Adira is said to be “highly intelligent with a confidence and self-assurance well beyond their years”, and the show teases that they’ll form an “unexpected bond” between the Discovery’s cutest couple, commander Paul Stamets and Dr Hugh Culber.

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.”

Both Alexander and Del Barrio will be recurring guest stars in the new age of Star Trek, which is set ten years before the events of The Original Series.

Non-binary actor Del Barrio was in their final year of studies at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art when they auditioned for the role. They previously acted in theatre and short films before joining the Disco crew.

Alexander, who uses they/them and he/him pronouns, made history as the first out transgender Asian-American person to act on television in The OA.

He’s also known for his role as Lev in the video game The Last of Us Part II, and for his advocacy work in trans rights, racial justice and mental health awareness.

The third season of Star Trek: Discovery is scheduled to arrive on 15 October.