"It's a really big deal for the queer community to see ourselves on screen," says the actor.

Blu del Barrio makes their acting debut in season three of the CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery, which premiered earlier this month, in the captivating role of Adira. "It's really overwhelming," the 23-year-old nonbinary star, of Argentinean descent, tells PEOPLE. "It's a really big deal for the queer community to see ourselves on screen."

In the show, Adira suffers amnesia, and as new member of the team, has to come out to the crew. Though the story is fictional, del Barrio totally relates to Adira's journey of discovering their gender identity and finding the courage to share it with others. "I was still going through my coming-out process when I got this role," says del Barrio. "The show gave me space to figure myself out. It was a really beautiful thing to be doing it in this duality."

Del Barrio wishes they had seen nonbinary representation on screen when they were growing up. "If I had the language when I was eight or nine years old, I would have been able to come out then — but I didn't, so I found myself having to conform," they explain. "Seeing a nonbinary character would have changed my whole world."

Blu del Barrio
Credit: Phil Sharp

Representing the LGBTQ community on screen and being a source of inspiration for other nonbinary youth is a dream come true. "I'm really honored to be able to be playing a trans, nonbinary character on television," they add. "Hopefully, this character can be one that helps someone else."

Del Barrio recognizes there is still a long way to go. "I really just don't want it to have to be a big deal," they say. "I think there could be trans characters on as many TV shows as possible because that's the world that we are living in."