Many TV shows still don’t feature gay or bi characters, and that lack of visibility is even scarier when it comes to transgender characters. The 16’-17’ GLAAD report has shown that « Of the 71 LGBTQ characters counted on five broadcast networks, 4% (3) are transgender. ». Let’s give them some space, here are awesome transgender characters appearing in mainstream TV shows.
Coach Sheldon Beiste – Glee
Remember that awesome football coach from Glee, named Shannon Beiste the first time he appeared in the series? The coach then transitioned to male during the sixth season. Glee was a great, inclusive show, and also featured the character of Unique Adams, a transgender teen.
Sophia Burset – Orange is the New Black
Sophia is a male to female transgender who was serving time for credit card theft. Without her, the inmates’ hair would’ve looked even worse, so for that and trans visibility on screen, thank you Sophia.
Nomi Marks – Sense8
Nomi was played by the transgender actress Jamie Clayton. Just like Sophia, the character isn’t a token transgender character, it’s just an awesome one, clever and mind-blowingly hot, who actually transitioned.
Maura Pfefferman – Transparent
The great actor Jeffrey Tambor is Mort Pfefferman in the Amazon show, Transparent. At the age of 70, Mort announces that he will be undergoing a gender change and that they should now refer to him as Maura.
Kyle Slater – EastEnders
It doesn’t really matter what you think of the show, but it is still rare enough that LGBTQIA+ actors and actresses, let alone transgender actors and actresses get to play an LGBTQIA+ character – or get parts in mainstream shows at all. That time, though, it was the transgender actor Riley Carter Millington who played Kyle Slater on screen.
This list might be heart-warming and give some hope for transgender visibility on screen, but trans people are still massively under-represented when it comes to pop culture. It might take a little while before things get better, but talking about these characters, acknowledging trans actors, actresses and characters, is a start.