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16 Trans And Non-Binary TV Characters Who Are Actually Played By Trans And Non-Binary Actors
"We've always existed, and we've always existed everywhere."by Kelly Martinez
1. Elliot Page as Viktor on The Umbrella Academy.
Christos Kalohoridis / Netflix
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."
David Livingston / Getty Images
You can read Elliot's full statement here.
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."
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@elliotpage / Netflix / Via Instagram: @elliotpage
2. Hunter Schafer as Jules on Euphoria.
Eddy Chen / HBO
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."
Emma Mcintyre / WireImage / Getty Images
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.
"Because we got to spend more time with Jules, we got a little bit more insight, as to how she feels about like her trans-ness and her gender, and just gender as a whole," she said in an interview with Collider. "I really like her approaching it from an emotional and philosophical standpoint, rather than something political or binary, like the gender binaries of political constructs. That’s not a fun way for humans to think about gender."
3. Michaela Jaé (MJ) Rodriguez as Blanca on Pose.
JoJo Whilden / FX / Courtesy: Everett Collection
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."
Amy Sussman / Getty Images
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.
Eric Liebowitz / FX / Courtesy Everett Collection
4. Garcia as Matthew on Party of Five (2020).
Matthew is a young trans man who is also an undocumented immigrant.
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."
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@whatisgarcia / Via Instagram: @whatisgarcia
Garcia also played Jake, a trans man, on Netflix's Tales of the City.
5. Laverne Cox as Sophia on Orange Is the New Black.
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection
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.
Fox / FOX Image Collection via Getty Images
In 2015, Cox became the first trans woman to win an Emmy as executive producer for Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word.
6. Nicole Maines as Nia/Dreamer on Supergirl.
Diyah Pera / CW Network/Courtesy Everett Collection
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."
"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."
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
7. Sara Ramírez as Che on And Just Like That...
Craig Blankenhorn / HBO Max
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.
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@therealsararamirez / Via Instagram: @therealsararamirez
8. Zión Moreno as Luna on Gossip Girl (2021).
Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max
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."
Getty Images / Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max
9. Lachlan Watson as Theo on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
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."
Daniele Venturelli / WireImage / Getty Images
"By existing and showing up and being a different person, a different identity that the writers may not have even known about before, I think in that way, I influenced Theo’s character," they added. "I showed that it was possible to just hold off a second, and to just live in the gray area."
10. Kai Shappley as Bailey on The Babysitters Club.
Kailey Schwerman / Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection
The Babysitters Club was praised by fans for both including a trans character and also having a trans actor play her.
11. Leo Sheng as Micah on The L-Word: Generation Q.
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."
Emma Mcintyre / WireImage / Getty Images
12. Tom Phelan as Cole on The Fosters.
ABC Family/Courtesy Everett Collection
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."
Eric Mccandless / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images
However, the actor also added that, while he believes media representation is important, he also doesn't see it as the ultimate driving force for change. "I think it’s very important for people looking for depictions of themselves in media, but I think as far as real, concrete change, it’s not going to do a lot," he said. "Media representation is for the community and for young trans kids, and it’s for people looking to see themselves. I don’t think it’s for the rest of the world. Its primary function is to serve as a looking glass so that people who feel lost and confused can look and see themselves."
13. Jamie Clayton as Nomi on Sense8.
Murray Close / Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection
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."
Rebecca Sapp / Getty Images for Outfest
Clayton was also in Designated Survivor and The L Word: Generation Q.
Sense8 was co-created by sisters Lana and Lilly Wachowski, who are both trans women. They also directed The Matrix.
Timothy Hiatt / Getty Images
14. Elliot Fletcher as Trevor on Shameless.
Paul Sarkis / Showtime Networks Inc./Everett Collection
Fletcher played one of Ian's love interests on Shameless. He has also had roles on Faking It and The Fosters.
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."
David Livingston / Getty Images
15. Ian Alexander as Gray on Star Trek: Discovery.
Alexander is also known for their role as Buck on The OA.
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."
Santiago Felipe / Getty Images
Star Trek: Discovery also features a non-binary character, Adira, played by non-binary actor, Blu del Barrio.
16. And finally, Brian Michael Smith as Paul on 9-1-1: Lone Star.
Jack Zeman / Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection
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.
Araya Doheny / FilmMagic / Getty Images
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