The CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery will continue to fulfill the franchise’s progressive ideals and for the upcoming third season include the show’s first transgender and non-binary characters. Queer characters already existed in the ST:D universe, played by Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz, so the addition of the two new characters will be a welcome expansion of the ranks. Ian Alexander, a trans actor most known for his role on Netflix’s The OA, will play a trans-Trill named Gray (Non-Trekker? A Trill is a species of humanoid from the planet Trill. And now you know.) and UK actor Blu del Barrio, who is also non-binary, will play the non-binary character Adira. This will be del Barrio’s first major acting role, and they have told the press that they realized that “non-binary” was the best way to describe their gender nonconformity after seeing Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s non-binary cast member, Lachlan Watson. In other words, we see ourselves in the media for the first time and it sometimes makes things a little more clear, gives us the words to describe ourselves, and, to adapt a _Trek_ cliché, go boldly and get our life.
The question of the day is, “What if Fight Club, but comedy-plus-women?” And the answer is – coming Nov. 13 to theaters and streaming platforms – the indie feature Chick Fight. The story of a woman who is introduced to an underground, all-female fight club, and who then discovers she has a personal connection to the history of the club, it stars Billions regular Malin Akerman, Alec Baldwin, Bella Thorne, Kevin Connolly (Entourage), and former pro-wrestler Kevin Nash (Magic Mike). Meanwhile rounding out that cast is three queer champions that we’ll follow anywhere: comedians Fortune Feimster and Alec Mapa, as well as Pose’s Dominique Jackson. Originally developed by Ash Christian, the queer indie screenwriter, and producer who suddenly and tragically died last month at age 35, the film is directed by Australian actor-turned-director Paul Leyden (As The World Turns) from a script by first-timer Joseph Downey. We plan to channel any post-election rage into watching this cast commit acts of comedy-violence. Should work.
Billy Tipton was a successful touring jazz musician from the 1930s until the 1970s. Billy Tipton was also a trans man. His story is remarkable for many reasons, but in the hands of non-queer, cisgender-dominated media, his story is also almost never told with respect or understanding. The late musician is routinely misgendered, treated as a kind of gender double agent, and discussed in terms of deception and secrecy, as “a woman pretending to be a man.” No Ordinary Man, co-directed by Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt, a film that premiered this week at the Toronto International Film Festival, seeks to change all that. It’s a documentary of sorts, written by Amos Mac (co-founder of the trans magazine Original Plumbing), telling the story of Tipton’s life, elements of which are recreated by actors and trans artists because there was no traditional archival material available. Picked up for distribution by Radiant Films, keep an eye out for a streaming/theatrical release of this fascinating story, one finally properly told by queer people.
A pro-queer film starring Mark Wahlberg? Well, we were a little surprised ourselves, to be honest, but there’s a first time for everything (being a Calvin Klein underwear model doesn’t count). And that’s why we’re pleased to see that Wahlberg will be giving the world some good vibrations in Good Joe Bel_. Based on a true story and also co-produced by Wahlberg, the plot follows Oregon dad Joe Bell, who walks across the United States with his gay son Jadin (Play by Play) as they try to raise awareness about the bullying and abuse of LGBTQ kids. Co-starring Connie Britton, and directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men), it also boasts a script from Academy Award-winning Brokeback Mountain team Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana (and that’s about the gold standard of screenwriting cred when it comes to straight writers). The film has its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, no doubt with some award season hopes on its mind. Look for it to pop up on screens (big or small) later this year.