Clarryhoo (nomorefrostbite) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

Star Trek: Discovery - 3x04 Ready Room & Interviews - Trek's First Trans Character Debuts!

-For those unaware, two of the ground-breaking big new recurring characters on Star Trek Discovery Season 3 are Adira and Gray – Adira is a non-binary human played by newcomer NB actor Blu Del Barrio introduced last week, and Gray is Trans and Trill, played by Asian American Trans actor Ian Alexander (previously seen as Buck Vu on The OA), introduced this week!
-“When we put the most marginalised people in our society in the centre of our stories and we shed a light on them, we free millions of people to feel and own their own story.” – Wilson Cruz
-ALSO CONFIRMED – ADIRA AND GRAY WILL BE RETURNING FOR SEASON 4, which has just started production!
-Ian Alexander says: I think trans joy, trans power, and trans love deserves to be in the mainstream, in the spotlight. It brings me so much joy to be able to have such a nuanced, strong and confident, and self-assured character. For all the trans teens out there to finally see themselves represented in a franchise is amazing. That’s going to really, really help so many people.”

-Ian Alexander also says Anthony (Rapp) and Wilson (Cruz) have been their and Blu’s biggest allies and supporters on set from Day 1 and took them both under their wings, as did Sonequa Martin-Green, and that the whole cast and crew and Exec Producer Alex Kurtzman and Showunner Michelle Paradise have been incredibly supportive throughout, with Michelle putting in the work of being a good trans ally, “they want to have trans characters existing in this universe and to not have to struggle or to suffer”, checking in with them throughout filming and helping create a space to work through identity issues and find family.

{On Trans and NB Representation in Trek}
-Showrunner Michelle Paradise knew long before Season 3 that she wanted to highlight and represent trans experience.
-Exec Producer Alex Kurtzman says: “Part of the joy of Star Trek, especially given the state of the world now, is that we get to create the world that we want to see. It’s a responsibility that we wanted to take very, very seriously.” And that as well as expanding Trek’s representation of gender identity, the writers also wanted to “tell a great love story”, and that this “felt very emotionally correct.”
-Ian Alexander: “People have not really seen trans people, especially not a trans masculine person in a mainstream show as huge and immensely worldwide popular as Star Trek. So I'm very, very excited for that impact that these characters -- my character, Gray, and Blu del Barrio's character, Adira -- will have on the world, especially for trans teenagers and trans people in general.”

{On The Trill as a Trans Experience Allegory}
-When introducing non-binary and trans characters on Trek, doing it through the Trill made perfect sense, as they felt the Trill had always been an unspoken allegory for. Kurtzman says, “what was exciting to us was saying, OK, we’re going to remove it from the level of allegory and we’re going to make it literal. We are absolutely acknowledging that people have interpreted characters like Jadzia (Dax) as being trans metaphors, but it was never explicitly stated. We just felt we wanted to take it a step further.”
-When speaking to the experiences of trans and non-binary people in today’s world though, through a futuristic show in which both of these identities are a fully accepted reality, and making it resonate in a contemporary way – the symbionts have always had a Trill host, and that a human could be one is seen as horrifying and unnatural to them at first.
“The hosts for the symbionts have always been Trill,” Kurtzman says. “The community of Trill has to reckon with the possibility that a host may not be Trill, and what does that mean? In the vein of all ‘Star Trek,’ do you accept what initially is perceived as other, and do you do broaden your horizons?”

{On Gender Identity Discussion & The Collaborative Process with Michelle Paradise}
-On why Adira and Gray’s gender identities are not explicitly discussed or their pronouns always correct initially – it is by design. The writing team worked with Blu Del Barrio and Ian Alexander, along with GLAAD, to ensure the character’s experiences authentically reflected how they themselves experience the world.
-Michelle Paradise says, “We did not have the non-binary or trans experience. It would not have been right for us to write those stories without having someone with that life experience to be able to help us and check us and make sure that these things are feeling authentic”, but that at all times they wanted to follow the actors’ leads, and if they wanted the characters to reflect their own experiences they would make it happen, and if not then that was ok too, so long as they were always comfortable working on the show and playing those characters.
-Blu Del Barrio wasn’t out at the time of starting to play Adira, and Adira’s own comfort in sharing their gender identity evolved in parallel to Blu’s own off camera as they hadn’t told their parents and felt a lot of imposter syndrome around their identity: “I didn’t feel comfortable immediately playing a character that used they/them pronouns when I wasn’t even out myself,”
-Paradise, Kurtzman and the Disco cast and crew helped create a space which allowed Blu to work through these identity issues, and “checked with me constantly, throughout the filming of the whole season, which was really helpful because I was going through a lot”. (Blu has since come out to their parents and they’re supporting and doing their best!)
-As for Gray’s character, Ian Alexander wanted them to exist fully without needing to necessarily explain from the very beginning their trans gender identity, but that it will be handled explicitely in the future.
-Also says of showrunner Michelle Paradise that it’s been a really collaborative process, and “I really do trust Michelle, that she’s putting in the work of being a good trans ally and checking in with me, and also making sure to always include Gray in the storyline in a way that’s not alienating or othering them. They want to have trans characters existing in this universe and to not have to struggle or to suffer.”
-Regarding costuming and support in the filming process, Blu asked for a binder for under their costume and costuming made them one immediately, and when Ian Alexander arrived on set a binder was already ready for them. “Accommodation for pronouns, being mindful of dysphoria when they’re putting a mic on your chest. You always feel like you’re taking up too much space. But I never felt that way on the set of ‘Star Trek”

Sources: Ready Room, Ian Alexander Twitter, Philiana Ng Twitter for ET, Adam Vary Twitter for Variety

Do you have a Love Thing, ONTD Discoteers? And are you a Responsibility Hoarder?🖖

Tags: lgbtq film / media, star trek

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