Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Star Trek: Discovery's third season to introduce franchise's first transgender, non-binary characters

Blu del Barrio and Ian Alexander
Blu del Barrio and Ian Alexander
Photo: Phil Sharp / Jake Akita

CBS All Access announced on Wednesday that its upcoming third season of Star Trek: Discovery will be the first to introduce transgender and non-binary characters into the long-running franchise.

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Non-binary performer Blu del Barrio will board the U.S.S. Discovery as Adira, a character that develops “unexpected” bonds with Lt. Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz). Joining them is transgender actor Ian Alexander, an alum of Netflix’s The OA and Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us Part II. He’ll portray Gray, who’s described as “empathetic, warm and eager to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a Trill host.”

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,” Michelle Paradise, co-showrunner and executive producer, said in a statement. “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.”

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Discovery’s third season arrives amidst a flurry of Star Trek-related activity, from Picard and Lower Decks to that Michelle Yeoh spinoff to the recently announced Strange New Worlds. It debuts on Thursday, October 15, with new episodes airing weekly.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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