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13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman comes out as transgender

13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman comes out as transgender

13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman has come out as transgender woman. 

The 29-year-old actress made the revelation in an interview with TIME on Thursday, saying: ‘For a year now, I have been privately identifying and living as a woman – a trans woman.’

On the hit Netflix show, Dorfman played recurring male character Ryan Shaver, who publishes Hannah Baker’s problems in the school newspaper without her consent. 

Speaking with trans novelist Torrey Peters, Dorfman explained: ‘It’s funny to think about coming out, because I haven’t gone anywhere. I view today as a reintroduction to me as a woman, having made a transition medically.’

Reveal: 13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman comes out as transgender and reveals she has been ‘living as a trans woman’ for the past year in a new interview with TIME

‘Coming out is always viewed as this grand reveal, but I was never not out,’ she went on. ‘Today is about clarity: I am a trans woman. My pronouns are she/her. My name is Tommy.’ 

The rising star sparked speculation from fans about her gender identity this past year after changing her appearance on Instagram, as well as stepping out with actor Lucas Hedges in New York recently wearing a summer dress.

Dorfman also revealed in the interview why she decided to keep her name amid her transition, explaining: ‘I’m named after my mom’s brother who passed a month after I was born, and I feel very connected to that name, to an uncle who held me as he was dying.’

Rising star: On the hit Netflix show, Dorfman played recurring male character Ryan Shaver, who publishes Hannah Baker's problems in the school newspaper without her consent

Rising star: On the hit Netflix show, Dorfman played recurring male character Ryan Shaver, who publishes Hannah Baker’s problems in the school newspaper without her consent

She added: ‘This is an evolution of Tommy. I’m becoming more Tommy… I am actually myself.’ 

Talking about her decision to come out, Dorfman said: ‘I’ve been living in this other version of coming out where I don’t feel safe enough to talk about it, so I just do it. But I recognize that transitioning is beautiful. Why not let the world see what that looks like?’

She added: ‘So I kept, on Instagram, a diaristic time capsule instead – one that shows a body living in a more fluid space.’

Glamorous: Tommy took part in a stylish shoot for TIME wearing a sophisticated black gown

Glamorous: Tommy took part in a stylish shoot for TIME wearing a sophisticated black gown 

‘However, I’ve learned as a public-facing person that my refusal to clarify can strip me of the freedom to control my own narrative,’ Tommy went on.

‘With this medical transition, there has been discourse about my body, and it began to feel overwhelming.’

The actress explained that she did consider a different route in publicly coming out, including disappearing for two years and coming back into the spotlight ‘with a new name, new face and new body.’

However, Dorfman said that it was something she ‘couldn’t afford to do’ and wasn’t what she wanted. 

Changing style: Tommy sparked speculation from fans about her gender identity this past year after changing her appearance (Pictured with actor Lucas Hedges last month in NYC)

Changing style: Tommy sparked speculation from fans about her gender identity this past year after changing her appearance (Pictured with actor Lucas Hedges last month in NYC)

Instead, the performer says her intention is to shine a light on ‘gender fluidity’ and ‘how fast and dynamic and vulnerable it can be, how it’s an ongoing thing.’ 

Dorfman spoke candidly with novelist Peters – author of Detransition, Baby – about how she was in a relationship with a gay man for nine years prior to her transitioning.

‘It’s wild to be 29 and going through puberty again. Some days I feel like I’m 14,’ she said. ‘As a result of that shift, the types of romantic partnerships I seek out are different.’ 

‘I was in a nine-year relationship in which I was thought of as a more male-bodied person, with a gay man. I love him so much, but we’ve been learning that as a trans woman, what I’m interested in is not necessarily reflected in a gay man,’ the actress divulged.

Impressive performance: Tommy rose to fame on the 2017 Netflix show that was a surprise hit

Impressive performance: Tommy rose to fame on the 2017 Netflix show that was a surprise hit

She added: ‘So we’ve had incredible conversations to redefine our relationship as friends.’

The actress also spoke openly about the struggles she faced in medically transitioning, saying that although the process can be ‘liberating and clarifying’ there is a ‘sad part’ in that ‘you don’t get to acknowledge some of what you’re leaving.’ 

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‘There’s a way in which in order to justify transition, you have to say everything was terrible before,’ she opined. ‘One doesn’t have to medically transition to be trans, but for me, it was an active choice. I’m aligning my body with my soul.’

‘Yet as a result of that, I am losing some things. I have to reckon with the fact that I brought along a lot of people and things who might not end up being there for this part of my journey.’

Dorfman talked about how she has anticipated her transition will affect her acting career, reasoning that it’s ‘impossible’ for her to separate her ‘personal and professional’ transition, ‘because my body and face are linked to my career.’ 

'For a year now, I have been privately identifying and living as a woman - a trans woman,' she told TIME Magazine on Thursday

‘For a year now, I have been privately identifying and living as a woman – a trans woman,’ she told TIME Magazine on Thursday 

Journey: The actress said she considered disappearing for two years and coming back into the spotlight 'with a new name, new face and new body' but decided against it

Style: The actress has been showing off a number of glamorous looks to fans over the past year on Instagram

Journey: The actress said she considered disappearing for two years and coming back into the spotlight ‘with a new name, new face and new body’ but decided against it 

LBD: Dorfman has been showing off her style on Instagram, including this image from a week ago that garnered praise from fans as well as actress Dove Cameron

LBD: Dorfman has been showing off her style on Instagram, including this image from a week ago that garnered praise from fans as well as actress Dove Cameron

‘I’m most recognized for playing a bitchy gay poet on a soap opera, and I feared that by actively transitioning in my personal life, I would lose whatever career I’ve been told I’m supposed to have,’ she said about her breakout role on the hit series.

‘But I’m no longer interested in playing ‘male’ characters  – except for maybe in a ‘Cate Blanchett playing Bob Dylan’ way. Sometimes you just have to say, “No, this is just who I f*****g am.”‘

Moving forward, Dorfman will next appear in Lena Dunham’s movie Sharp Stick, her first role ‘as a girl’ which wrapped earlier this year and was an ‘exciting and validating’ experience for the actress. 

Taking to her Instagram account on Thursday to promote the interview, Dorfman thanks fans writing: ‘I’m especially grateful to every single trans person who walked this path, broke down barriers, and risked their lives to live authentically and radically as themselves before me.’ 

She added: ‘Thank you to all the trans woman that showed me who i am, how to live, celebrate myself, and take up space in this world.’


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