The now 17-year-old actress, who performed under a previous alias, admits that she felt like she was shoved into a box by Hollywood. “J.J. Totah, gay boy,” she wrote, admitting that she “almost felt like [she] owed it to everybody to be that gay boy,” but that she has never identified as a gay male.
“I was afraid I wouldn’t be accepted, that I would be embarrassed, that the fans who knew me from the time when I acted in a Disney show would be confused,” Totah shared. “But I realized over the past few years that hiding my true self is not healthy.”
Ultimately, Totah writes about her true identity: “My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah.”
Not surprisingly, many people were ready to send their love and support to the actress, including Mindy Kaling, who played Totah’s character’s mother on Champions.
I love you, Josie. I’m so glad you’re able to speak your truth and live as your authentic self. You’re also so damn talented – I can’t wait to write for you again! ❤️💕❤️💕❤️ https://t.co/OjIoI9Wpb3
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) August 20, 2018
More notably, however, were the number of tweets from fellow members of the LGBTQ community and those who love them. One proud mother told Totah, “Welcome to the light.”
As the very proud mother of a transgender son, welcome to the light, Josie. ❤️
— Linda Sharp🌈 (@LsharpDGMS) August 20, 2018
A person who described herself as a U.S. Navy veteran offered to stand by Totah’s side while she pursued her happiness.
You be who are! Don't let no one define who you should or should not be. We all have the right to persue happiness. We are always stronger when we stand together and I am standing with every minority to live a full life.
— Maggie1778 (@Maggie1778) August 20, 2018
Other transgender people gave the actress some advice on making her transition public, and assured her that it gets easier.
Reading your article, I have to think of how hard that must have been to film while also dealing with people in the real world not seeing you or acknowledging you as you are. It’s a tough fight at first, but gets easier the more true to yourself you are.
— Dee Emm Elms (@d_m_elms) August 20, 2018
Totah finished her letter by stating that she was born this way: “I have come to believe that God made me transgender. I don’t feel like I was put in the wrong body. I don’t feel like there was a mistake made. I believe that I am transgender to help people understand differences. It allows me to gain perspective, to be more accepting of others, because I know what it feels like to know you’re not like everyone else.”
Totah is heading to college this week but will continue to act in roles for both cisgender females and transgender females.
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