Ian Alexander Makes History As Star Trek: Discovery’s First Trans Character

Ian Alexander, 19 is opening up about playing the first transgender character of the “Star Trek” universe.

Sep. 2, CBS All Access announced “Star Trek: Discovery” would add two new roles Adira (played by Blu del Barrio) and Gray ( Ian Alexander) the first-ever trans character, in its latest episode.

The 19-year-old actor in a chat with Entertainment Tonight dished on how playing Gray, the franchise’s first transgender character has impacted his personal and professional life.

Journey to self acceptance wasn’t easy:

“Playing Gray really has reassured a lot of my own self-confidence, and really boosted that belief and faith that I have in myself. Because I think I do tend to feel a lot of imposter syndrome,” Alexander tells ET. “I think that’s sort of the conundrum of a lot of other trans actors — and just anyone in general experiences this to some extent. But especially trans actors because there are so few opportunities for us that when we finally do get those opportunities, it feels kind of alienating. It feels like we shouldn’t be there because it feels sort of unexpected that we are finally getting included in ways that we weren’t before.”

He adds, “For pretty much the entire history of the film industry, trans people have been sort of a taboo topic or something that was presented as negative. So I think I really have grown a lot since joining Star Trek and realizing my worth and being uplifted by the amazing cast and crew and people around me. And recognizing that I do have a place in this amazing, wonderful franchise and this universe that it’s just so cool to be a part of. I’m really grateful for that experience.

The OA was my first-ever TV, film, professional experience. I really have grown so much as an actor and also just as a person since then. I really didn’t intend on choosing acting as my career when I was younger, but once it became an option to me, I realized this is something I’m extremely passionate about. I’ve always loved storytelling. I’ve always loved performing. At the end of the day, I’ve always really loved making other people happy because it makes me really happy. So the fact that just by existing, and being myself, and being out and proud, and visible on a show like Star Trek, and just showing the world you can be trans and you can be happy and successful is so meaningful to me. I really am proud of myself for how much I have grown since The OA because I’m a much more confident, self-assured person now. I really am excited to see how much further I grow in the next few years.

“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.”

“It’s so nice to see a trans person exist onscreen without necessarily needing to exclaim to the world, ‘I’m trans,’ ” Alexander said.


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