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“Star Trek” becomes non-binary

The third season of "Star Trek: Discovery" gets progressive: The crew of the spaceship gets two new characters with trans- and non-binary gender identity.

The Star Trek universe is being expanded to include a transgender character and a non-binary character. As the rights holder CBS announced, the trans character Gray (Ian Alexander), a member of the alien species of the Trill, and the highly intelligent Adira, played by Blu del Barrio will appear in the third season of the Star Trek: Discovery.

Del Barrio auditioned for the role right after graduating from acting school, according to CBS. At the time the acceptance finally came, however, it was not yet known that Del Barrio is non-binary. In an interview with the LGBT + media organization “GLAAD”, which appeared on Wednesday, Del Barrio enthusiastically told of the moment of the call: It felt like “as if the universe was going 'Go on!' say".

"We are proud to work closely with Blu del Barrio and Ian Alexander to create the extraordinary characters of Adira and Gray and bring their stories to life with empathy, understanding, strength and joy," said Michelle Paradise, executive producer.

A future without division, within reach
The series and films in the Star Trek universe consistently incorporate social discourses with their content and characters. "Star Trek wants to make underrepresented communities more visible to show people that a future without segregation of race, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation is within reach," said Paradise.

"Star Trek: Discovery" is also the first series in the Star Trek cosmos with a same-sex couple on board: the spaceship doctor Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) and engineer Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp). Rapp wrote on Twitter about the newcomers to the team: "I cannot wait for you all to meet these beautiful souls and beautiful artists."

Transgender questions on Star Trek back in 1992
The efforts of "Star Trek: Discovery" to break names from traditional gender associations were evident right at the beginning of the series: The first officer, Commander Burnham, bears the rather male-associated first name Michael. Actress Sonequa Martin-Green said at the start in the interview that hopefully they will help make the world a better place, as clichéd as that sounds.

The transfigured Gray is not the first foray by the creators of the series to portray transexuality. As early as 1992, the episode "Forbidden Love", from "Star Trek: The Next Century" dealt with a planet whose inhabitants were mostly androgynous. The episode then dealt with what happens when one of these beings - unthinkable for extraterrestrial civilization - prefers the male or the female gender.

The third season of "Star Trek: Discovery", in which the crew of the ship has slipped hundreds of years into the future after a leap in time, will be available on Netflix from October 16, 2020.

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