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Actor Tommy Dorfman, known for her roles in 13 Reasons Why, Jane the Virgin, and Love, Victor, is reintroducing herself. “Coming out is always viewed as this grand reveal, but I was never not out,” Dorfman said in a TIME interview published Thursday. “Today is about clarity: I am a trans woman. My pronouns are she/her. My name is Tommy.”
In the interview, Dorfman told her friend, Detransition Baby author Torrey Peters, that she has been privately living and identifying as a woman for a year. Although she acknowledged that she’s been documenting her appearance on Instagram, she said that, as a public figure, she decided to open up and clarify her gender in order to control her own narrative amid “overwhelming” discourse.
As Peters noted, several other trans actors (including Disney alum Josie Totah, and Elliot Page) have recently opened up about their identity in TIME interviews and essays. And like Totah and Page, Dorfman also shared the unique situation of transitioning while working as an actor — because, as she puts it, “My body and face are linked to my career.”
“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,” Dorfman added. “I’m thinking about how I can infuse my trans body into film and television.”
In her first role playing a woman, Dorfman will appear alongside Taylour Paige, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Kristine Froseth in Sharp Stick, written and directed by Lena Dunham. She’ll also star in the Channel 4 limited series Fracture, set to air this fall. And, according to the TIME story, she will direct an upcoming adaptation of Mason Deaver’s I Wish You All The Best, a YA novel about a nonbinary teenager navigating a new school, a complicated relationship with their estranged sister, and first love.
After the TIME interview was published, Dorfman shared a quick note on her Instagram, thanking “every single trans person who walked this path, broke down barriers, and risked their lives to live authentically and radically as themselves before me.”
This isn’t a coming out, Dorfman explained. It’s a reintroduction. “This is an evolution of Tommy. I’m becoming more Tommy,” she said. “It is not transition. Or it is, but not as an idea of going somewhere. Just that I am actually myself.”
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