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19 Times Hollywood Actually Cast Trans And Non-Binary Actors To Play Trans And Non-Binary Characters

"It's amazing what they're doing this with this story. It's huge, and I'm very, very proud to be part of it."

1. Jordan Gonzalez as Ash on Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

In a recent interview with BuzzFeed, Gonzalez said: "[Ash] is an openly out transgender student at Millwood High. He is the leader of Spectrum, which is the LGBTQ+ group on campus. He's Mouse's on-the-rise love interest. They meet in the computer lab, and...what happens after that? I don't know — two can keep a secret if one of us is dead, right? [Laughs]."

2. Vico Ortiz as Jim on Our Flag Means Death

Ortiz is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. Their Our Flag Means Death character, Jim, is a nonbinary pirate. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ortiz explained: "When I first read the script, I cried. I was like, 'I can't believe that I'm not even asking for this to be a thing.' In part, it's because we had three nonbinary writers in the writers room. So there's already this space in which this character is being nurtured and taken care of. It's not just like, 'Oh, we're going to hire a nonbinary actor to do this. And then they'll fend for themselves.' There was already this space that's created that people already are vouching for this character and their storyline. It felt incredible."

3. Jesse James Keitel as Jerrie on Big Sky

Keitel is nonbinary and trans. Jerrie made TV history as the first nonbinary series regular on primetime television. Keitel wrote in an Instagram post: "Hard to imagine what my life may have been like if I had seen a character like Jerrie Kennedy on TV when I was younger. I’m eager for the day when characters like Jerrie played by actors like me are no longer 'groundbreaking' or 'brave' — just a beautiful window into the life of a nuanced, complex character."

4. Elliot Page as Viktor on The Umbrella Academy

Viktor sitting on the floor with blood on his cheek and drywall around him

Page publicly came out as trans on his Instagram page in December 2020: "Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life."

close up of Elliot smiling

In an interview with Esquire, trans journalist, Thomas Page McBee, explained how he worked with Page and showrunner Steve Blackman on Viktor's Season 3 storyline: "Elliot and I had a long conversation about when and how Viktor may have come to discover his gender identity, and in what ways he might embody that identity in Season 3. ... Steve and I used Elliot’s insights as a jumping-off point to form and neatly overlay an economical narrative on those existing scenes — one that echoed where Elliot was in his own transition process at the time of shooting."

5. Hunter Schafer as Jules on Euphoria

close up of Jules

Schafer opened up about her identity in a 2016 interview with North Carolina Public Radio: "I do like people to know that I’m not a cis-girl because that’s not something that I am or feel like I am. I’m proud to be a trans person. ... I just feel like I don’t really need to be put in the male or female box. Taking myself out of the binary is something that’s appealing to me, and not having one of those labels. Because gender has kind of been this crazy thing that I’ve had to, not defy, but move past and through."

close up of Hunter smiling

In addition to starring as Jules, Schafer co-wrote and co-produced the Euphoria special episode, "F*ck Anyone Who’s Not A Sea Blob," (also known as "Part 2: Jules") with creator Sam Levinson.

jules saying she wants to get off hormones bc she's framed her womanhood around men

6. Michaela Jaé (MJ) Rodriguez as Blanca on Pose

close up of Blanca walking outside

Rodriguez made history in January 2022 when she became the first trans woman to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Drama. "This is the door that is going to open the door for many more young talented individuals. They will see that it is more than possible," she wrote on Instagram. "They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark New Jersey who had a dream, to change the minds others would WITH LOVE."

close up of Rodriguez in a strapless dress

Pose, which focuses on a group of BIPOC characters navigating New York City's drag ball culture scene, has a predominantly trans cast, including Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar, and Angelica Ross.

the cast at a drag ball

7. Garcia as Matthew on Party of Five (2020)

close up of Matthew

Garcia is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. The actor opened up about their identity in an interview with i-D: "Being non-binary, in my personal experience, is a way of telling people that I don't identify as a man just because I'm trans. But I also don't feel like I'm a woman, either. I don't feel or look like one. ... I'm still very much masculine."

8. Laverne Cox as Sophia on Orange Is the New Black

Sophia playing cards in jail

In 2014, Cox was nominated for an Emmy award for her performance, in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series category. She was the first trans person to be nominated for an Emmy in any acting category.

Laverne on the red carpet

9. Nicole Maines as Nia/Dreamer on Supergirl

Dreamer ready to fight with a limo behind her

Maines's character was the first trans superhero in TV history. "Usually, at any point when Nia's transness has come up, I have the opportunity to talk about that a little bit and work with the writers, so I can nudge them in different directions or let them know if they're on the right track," the Supergirl star explained in an interview with BuzzFeed. "They've been really, really good about coming to me and respecting what I have to say."

the Dreamer saying it's selfish put the world at stake just to have the power and declaring herself the Dreamer

"I'm worried I may have made [Dreamer] a 'Mary Sue,' but you know what?" Maines added. "Superman has super strength, super speed, heat vision, X-ray vision, frost breath, super hearing, invulnerability, he can survive in space, he can fly, and he's bulletproof, so I don't care. Trans folks have one person, so Dreamer can do whatever she wants."

close up of Nicole smiling

10. Sara Ramírez as Che on And Just Like That...

Che speaking into a mic for their podcast

Like their character, Ramírez is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. They publicly came out as non-binary in an Instagram post in 2020.

11. Zión Moreno as Luna on Gossip Girl (2021)

luna leaning her hand on the door frame

Gossip Girl showrunner, Joshua Safran, confirmed in an interview with Variety that, like Moreno, Luna is trans. "Luna is a trans woman in the show. We decided as writers that this isn’t a show that’s about how she became her authentic self," Safran said. "That’s just not our story. Luna is Luna to these people, and that’s that."

Zion at an event and in character as Luna

12. Lachlan Watson as Theo on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Theo saying he can't keep going on as a girl

Watson identifies as genderqueer or non-binary. "The character is trans, through and through," Watson said in an interview with MTV News. "It was interesting because I knew Theo was a trans guy … but [in the] last part, since I hadn’t come out yet, everyone assumed that Susie was non-binary just like me, and I couldn’t correct them."

Lachlan in a velvet suit

13. Kai Shappley as Bailey on The Babysitters Club

Bailey having a tea party with stuffed animals

The Babysitters Club was praised by fans for both including a trans character and also having a trans actor play her.

Mary Anne telling hospital staff that Bailey is a girl and not to look at just the charts that state she's a boy

14. Leo Sheng as Micah on The L-Word: Generation Q

Leo smiling down at a folder

In an interview with Them, Sheng discussed the importance of getting trans Asian representation right on the show: "There was always an understanding that this was so much bigger than me. We would take moments to think about what this means for people who might suddenly see a version of their story on screen. And also those who have never heard of [trans issues], because even in 2019, there's still so many pieces of the conversation that aren't so widely accessible."

close up of Sheng at an event

15. Tom Phelan as Cole on The Fosters

cole on the beach

Phelan opened up about playing the character in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. "A lot of kids who are 14 or 15 have been telling me their stories and telling me that it’s been great to see someone like them on television. I feel really lucky to be that and share that with them," he said. "When I was 14 or 15 I didn’t know this thing existed. Characters like Cole...are really important, especially for trans kids who are coming into their own and just realizing that this is something that they might be."

cole sitting on a couch

16. Jamie Clayton as Nomi on Sense8

close up of Nomi

Clayton discussed playing Nomi in an interview with NBC. "The story does not center on transition, which I think is a really important step to take with trans characters," she said. "I’m excited that shows are moving towards the idea that trans people can just exist in the fictional worlds because we exist in the real world. It’s great that more people of trans experience are writing. That’s where it comes in that we exist, because they have the experience of just existing."

clayton speaking at a podium

Sense8 was co-created by sisters Lana and Lilly Wachowski, who are both trans women. They also directed The Matrix.

Lana and Lilly at an event

17. Elliot Fletcher as Trevor on Shameless

close up of Trevor

In an interview with ScreenCrush, Fletcher discussed his hopes for the future of trans representation. "The future of Hollywood that I want to see for trans people — normal, which is a loaded term to begin with, but trans people need to be normalized. That’s just how it has to be right now. No one is normal, like what is normal?" he said. "But we are an everyday occurrence. Expanding – I want trans people to be cast in more than just trans roles. I would love to play a cis character. I would love to play a Jedi, a supervillain, a superhero. That would be so, so fun."

close up of Fletcher

18. Ian Alexander as Gray on Star Trek: Discovery

close up of Gray on the show

Alexander is non-binary and uses they/them and he/him pronouns. Gray is the first-ever trans character in the Star Trek franchise. "I think that is so impactful and meaningful because trans people exist everywhere," Alexander said in an interview with Forbes. "I mean, we've always existed and we've always existed everywhere. So, of course, they would exist in space if you could exist in, you know, different dimensions, different realms and stuff like that."

close up of alexander

19. And finally, Brian Michael Smith as Paul on 9-1-1: Lone Star

Paul wearing the firefighter outfit

Smith was the first Black trans man to be cast as a series regular on TV. In 2021, he became the first trans man to be featured on People's "Sexiest Men on TV" list. The actor is also known for his roles in Girls, Homeland, and Queen Sugar.

close up of Smith smiling

Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out all of BuzzFeed's posts celebrating Pride 2022.

My Fake Boyfriend, a new LGBTQ rom-com from BuzzFeed Studios starring Keiynan Lonsdale, Dylan Sprouse, and Sarah Hyland, is out June 17 in the US — just in time for Pride! Sign up for Prime Video now so you're ready to watch.