Disney's First Trans Character Debuts in 'Raven's Home'

·2 min read
Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

Disney has taken another step forward in the pursuit for greater on-screen representation, with Raven's Home introducing its first out transgender character.

The That's So Raven spin-off, which airs on the Disney Channel and is available on Disney+, recently welcomed Juliana Joel to the show, with the actress playing Nikki.

In a recent post on Instagram, Juliana celebrated her first appearance in "The Fierce Awakens," admitting to followers that she cried in her dressing room after walking out on set for the first time.

Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

Revealing that That's So Raven had always been her "favorite" show, Juliana said that the sitcom had been an "escape" for her while growing up.

"Coming from a typical Puerto Rican family, I didn't think being an actor was possible [especially] for someone like me, I thought you had to be born into that world," she wrote in a touching post.

"Fast forward to becoming an actor I then told myself I wasn't young enough to be on Disney anymore & even if that wasn't the case I'm TRANS! I'd never seen an out trans actor or character on the Disney Channel. EVER."

Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

Comparing her debut as Nikki to a dream come true, Juliana continued: "Needless to say I cried in my dressing room after walking onto that set the first time. It was a moment where it hit me that I not only get to live out my childhood dream on a version of my favorite show… I get to do it as my authentic self and with a character that is openly trans.

"But it was really more than just being on the show. With all of the anti-trans hate and narratives in media and society, it was a win. I claimed a dream and space for myself while so much of the world is trying to erase me & my community."

Offering support to viewers who may be going through a similar experience, Juliana added: "I get to be that person I wish I had to watch on TV growing up. So never tell yourself it can't happen because it can, in ways you never dreamt possible."

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