Tommy Dorfman of '13 Reasons Why' Reintroduces Herself As Transgender

·4 min read

Tommy Dorfman, who portrayed Ryan Shaver on the controversial (and recently canceled) Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why, has come out as transgender.

In a new interview with Time, published Thursday, Dorfman said that for a year now, she has "been privately identifying and living as a woman — a trans woman."

"I view today as a reintroduction to me as a woman, having made a transition medically," explained Tommy to Time. "Coming out is always viewed as this grand reveal, but I was never not out. Today is about clarity: I am a trans woman. My pronouns are she/her. My name is Tommy." (Related: Demi Lovato Opens Up About Getting Misgendered Since Changing Their Pronouns)

Dorfman also posted a separate message Thursday on her Instagram page, expressing gratitude "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."

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Getty Images

"Thank you to all the trans woman [sic] that showed me who I am, how to live, celebrate myself, and take up space in this world," she wrote alongside a series of glamour shots from the magazine feature. (Related: Leyna Bloom Makes History as Sports Illustrated Swimsuit's First Transgender Cover Model)

Dorfman, who hails from Atlanta, Georgia, chronicled parts of her transition on social media and told Time that in terms of making a formal announcement, she wanted to maintain control of her narrative.

"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? So I kept, on Instagram, a diaristic time capsule instead—one that shows a body living in a more fluid space. 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," shared Dorfman. (Related: Elliot Page Came out As Transgender with a Powerful Message About Gender Identity)

"With this medical transition, there has been discourse about my body, and it began to feel overwhelming. So, recently I looked to examples of others who have come out as trans," she continued. "There's the version I couldn't really afford to do, which is to disappear for two years and come back with a new name, new face and new body. But that's not what I wanted."

The 29-year-old added that she will not be changing her name, as she was named after her mother's brother who died a month after she was born. "I feel very connected to that name, to an uncle who held me as he was dying. This is an evolution of Tommy. I'm becoming more Tommy," said Dorfman.

Dorfman also spoke to Time about where she sees her future, both personally and professionally.

"I'm thinking about how I can infuse my trans body into film and television. Lena Dunham gave me my first role as a girl last year—it was so exciting and validating," said Dorfman of the forthcoming movie, Sharp Stick (which, according to Variety, wrapped production in March 2021).

"It's wild to be 29 and going through puberty again. Some days I feel like I'm 14. 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. So we've had incredible conversations to redefine our relationship as friends. Transitioning has been liberating and clarifying," she continued in her interview with Time.

Dorfman has since received a slew of support from Hollywood stars, including Demi Lovato, who announced in May 2021 that they identify themselves as non-binary. On Thursday, Lovato posted a message to Dorfman on their Instagram Story, writing: "I don't know you but I'm proud of you @tommy.dorfman."