Meet Blu del Barrio, the first non-binary 'trekkie' on the USS Discovery
Stellar announcement: Star Trek: Discovery has just presented the first non-binary and trans characters in the history of the franchise.
We've been warming up for the dazzling premiere of the third season of Star Trek: Discovery since 2017, and finally, its producers have just announced their new and more diverse crew, which will land at CBS on October 15th.
A historical premiere because it will be the first time that the Star Trek franchise incorporates two transgender and non-binary characters: the trans actor Ian Alexander, better known for his performances in The OA (Netflix) and The Last of Us, and an absolute unknown for the Hollywood world: Blue del Barrio, who will play the role of Adira, a staff member who suffers amnesia upon arrival at the ship and must reveal his gender to the rest of the crew.
A role that for Del Barrio, who was studying acting in London when she passed the casting and is the daughter of Argentines, was the first step to make known to the world their true identity, merging in some way with the character, reflecting each other.
"When I was told that I was going to be Adira, I had not yet told most of my friends and family that I was of non-binary gender. I had only recently discovered the word and realized that it described how I had felt for a long time. I knew I wanted to tell my friends and family, so when this happened, I felt like the universe was saying 'go for it,'" they told Nick Adams, director of Transgender Representation at Glaad.
"Strange and beautiful" that's how Blu del Barrio describes Adira, a complex and brilliant character of whom they still can't reveal much beyond the importance of his inclusiveness for the whole LGBTQ+ collective.
"Most people don't personally know someone who is transgender. This is where I think the problem that leads to discrimination and violence begins," said del Barrio, who already felt like a different person at the age of eight, but did not find any reference at school that could help them understand themselves.
"I think that if schools were legally required to include an LGBTQ+ curriculum, we would see a big change in the way our country treats trans people," they asserted, adding that due to this lack of references, they had to change many things about themselves to survive.
"People need to know who we are and be able to empathize with us so that change can take place," they said. "Using our own voices, out loud, is the best thing we can do. It's not just important that we talk about our experiences; it's necessary.
According to Blu del Barrio, seeing trans performers on TV, such as Lachlan Watson, Indya Moore, Bex Taylor-Klaus, or Theo Germaine, was an impulse to pursue their dreams. However, they admit that the industry still needs to be more diverse and inclusive.
For her part, Michelle Paradise, co-creator and executive producer of the series, declared that Star Trek has always wanted to give "visibility to underrepresented communities." She considers science fiction to be the best format to show a future "without division of race, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation."
Since its inception, USS Discovery has pointed out ways to become the paradigm ship of diversity, with the inclusion of African-American actress Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead) as the main character and the character of Lieutenant Stamets (Anthony Rapp), who is openly gay.
However, Stamets is not the first gay crew member in the trekking universe. In the original 1966 series, actor and LGTBQ+ activist George Takei had already given life to Enterprise member Hikaru Sulu.