E.R. Fightmaster Makes Grey's Anatomy History in Recurring Role as First Non-Binary Doctor

E.R. Fightmaster
E.R. Fightmaster
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ABC/Bonnie Osborne

Grey's Anatomy is casting a non-binary character in a recurring role for the first time.

The long-running medical drama has tapped E.R. Fightmaster to play recurring character Dr. Kai Bartley, Variety reported Wednesday. Fightmaster — who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns — first appeared on the show in season 18 and will continue to play Dr. Bartley in upcoming episodes.

Fightmaster's casting marks the first time a non-binary actor has starred as a non-binary doctor on Grey's Anatomy. Their character works as a member of the research team at the Minnesota hospital trying to recruit Meredith (Ellen Pompeo).

ABC describes Dr. Bartley as being "dedicated to their craft and extremely talented at what they do," per Variety, adding that the character is "confident as hell and able to make even the most detailed and mundane science seem exciting and cool."

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E.R. Fightmaster
E.R. Fightmaster

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Fightmaster will appear next on the Nov. 11 episode of Grey's Anatomy, when the show returns from a two-week hiatus, according to Variety.

Fightmaster shared the exciting news on their Instagram, posting a screenshot of Variety's report and with the caption "I am having so much fun 🥼 🤍."

While Fightmaster is making history for their casting, the actor is one of many LGBTQ actors who have starred on the series in the past. Grey's Anatomy previously featured Alex Blue Davis, who is trans, as surgical resident Casey Parker. The series also featured nonbinary actor Sara Ramirez, who played Dr. Callie Torres from 2006 to 2016.

Jake Borelli currently stars on the series as Dr. Levi Schmitt; Borelli came out as gay the same day an episode of Grey's Anatomy aired in which his character came out, too.

Fightmaster has previously starred in series like Tales from the Closet and Work in Progress, and has acted in the short films Pathetic Woman and Ancient Methods. They also had a recurring role in the Hulu comedy Shrill, playing the character Em, who strikes up a romance with Fran (Lolly Adefope).

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In a May interview with IndieWire, Fightmaster said they realized they had to shape their own roles in Hollywood as a non-binary actor.

"I was just like, 'Oh, you do kind of have to create the character yourself.' You have to create non-binary characters," they said. "You have to decide that these characters are going to be non-binary because the industry is not creating them for us."

Fightmaster added, "When I was growing up, I never saw that on TV at all, or if I did see it, they were being made fun of," referring to characters like the one they played on Shrill. "Getting to be [the] butch person on TV that I always wanted to see was a real honor."