Voq was born with albinism, which caused him to be outcast from his house and from Klingon society. He came to refer to himself as "son of none". Voq was also a decent gambler who played t'Sang. As an adult, he became part of the movement of T'Kuvma, a messianic, traditionalist political leader who regarded the expanding United Federation of Planets as a threat to Klingon identity and independence. Voq became one of T'Kuvma's most devoted followers. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", "Will You Take My Hand?")
In 2256 aboard the Sarcophagus, Voq volunteered to take on the role of Torchbearer after the death of Rejac. T'Kuvma initially rejected him, citing that the position of Torchbearer belonged to one of noble birth. Voq argued that his faith made him worthy – that he had been reborn through the flames of Kahless – which he demonstrated by burning his fist in a lit brazier. Accepting Voq to be a mirror of himself, T'Kuvma gave his own bat'leth to Voq and charged him with the Torchbearer's sacred duty of lighting the Beacon of Kahless. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")
When the Klingon High Council answered the summons of the Beacon, Voq was the first to respond to their communications. He was treated with contempt by the leaders of the Great Houses, particularly Kol. Nevertheless, Voq ardently proselytized T'Kuvma's vision of a purified Klingon Empire united against the Federation. Following their victory over Starfleet in the Battle of the Binary Stars, Voq urged the High Council again to follow T'Kuvma, whom his compatriot L'Rell proclaimed as T'Kuvma "the Unforgettable".
Voq attacked Commander Michael Burnham after she and Captain Philippa Georgiou boarded the Sarcophagus in an attempt to capture T'Kuvma. However, Burnham defeated him and ultimately fatally shot T'Kuvma. Voq held his dying lord and vowed that all Klingons would rally behind T'Kuvma's memory. (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars")
While T'Kuvma had achieved his goal of unifying the Klingon Empire against the Federation, his followers were largely sidelined. After the battle, the Sarcophagus, commanded by Voq and L'Rell, was stranded for months with no functioning drive and dwindling supplies of food. Voq directed that the ship be repaired by cannibalizing the wrecks of Starfleet vessels destroyed in the Battle of the Binary Stars. However, to repair the ship's warp drive, he would have to use the wreck of the USS Shenzhou, something he utterly refused to do owing to the role of its captain and first officer in T'Kuvma's death. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")
After several months, Kol of the House of Kor arrived in the system with fresh supplies. Voq greeted him warmly, and was convinced to use the Shenzhou's warp drive to help repair the Sarcophagus. He crossed to the ship with L'Rell to retrieve the components, who had began to feel attracted to him owing to his loyalty and determination. Upon their return to the Sarcophagus, however, Voq discovered that the crew had submitted to Kol as their leader after he provided them with food. L'Rell appeared to switch sides to Kol, and convinced him to maroon Voq on the wreck of the Shenzhou to die rather than kill him on the spot. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")
Left on the wreck of the USS Shenzhou to suffocate, Voq discovered Michael Burnham's personnel record and realized that she was T'Kuvma's killer. L'Rell secretly beamed over and informed Voq that she was still on his side. She told him that she had a raider ship for him to use to reach the matriarchs of her sect, the House of Mo'Kai, where she told him he would learn powers he could not yet imagine to help him win the war. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")
L'Rell had warned Voq that Mo'Kai's help would cost him everything. Obsessed with defending T'Kuvma's legacy and finding his killer, Michael Burnham, Voq underwent the choH'a', an extreme, agonizing surgery so that he would appear to be Human. He assumed the identity of the captured Starfleet officer Lieutenant Ash Tyler, and by the time the process was complete, Tyler's personality had completely subsumed Voq's. Now believing himself to be Ash Tyler, the completely transformed Voq was deposited aboard a Klingon prison ship, with L'Rell nearby to act as his jailer, with the intent that "Ash Tyler" would escape and return to Starfleet as a sleeper agent. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry", "Choose Your Pain", "Despite Yourself", "The Wolf Inside")
Voq's personality would be briefly restored by L'Rell in 2257 when she spoke a Klingon devotional prayer to "Ash Tyler". In danger from having two sets of memories in his system, L'Rell attempted to heal him by exorcising the remaining memories of Voq. Afterward, L'Rell, realizing that Voq was truly gone, performed the Klingon death ritual for her old friend. (DIS: "The Wolf Inside", "Vaulting Ambition")
"Voq. Son of none."
"You cannot assume the birthright of a noble house. You are unworthy."
"I am worthy. not by blood... but by faith"
"Open your hearts to the one who delivered this great day. Follow the light. Follow T'Kuvma."
"Your life will remembered forever by all Klingons. Your death will be a cause to unite us all."
"We needed to infiltrate your ship, learn your secrets. You were willing to betray your captain to protect your people; I sacrificed my body and mind to protect mine. I have the Human's face, but inside, I remain Klingon."
"I remain Voq, son of none, the Torchbearer."
Voq was portrayed by actor Shazad Latif. Prior to the revelation that Ash Tyler actually was a disguised Voq, Voq was credited in episodes as being played by "Javid Iqbal".  Latif chose that name to appear in the credits in memory of his deceased father. 
Originally, CBS announced in December 2016 that T'Kuvma's protégé, then named "Kol", was to be played by Shazad Latif. In the final version of the series, Latif went on to portray Ash Tyler and T'Kuvma's protégé was renamed "Voq", while the name "Kol" was given to a leader of a rival Great House.  Ultimately, however, it turned out that the character of Ash Tyler was actually a construct for Voq to infiltrate Human society.