Tommy Dorfman is reintroducing herself as a trans woman.
The “13 Reasons Why” star, who played Ryan Shaver in the Netflix series, revealed that she has been “privately identifying and living as a woman” in a Time interview published Thursday.
“Today is about clarity: I am a trans woman. My pronouns are she/her. My name is Tommy,” Dorfman said, adding that she has officially undergone a medical transition as well.
Though she acknowledged that she was “never not out,” Dorfman, who previously used they/them pronouns, noted that being public about her transition for the first time is nonetheless a “beautiful” process.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, gender identity is a spectrum, and some people do not identify with a single fixed gender or have a fluid or unfixed gender identity. Transgender is an umbrella term for those whose gender identity or expression is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.
“With this medical transition, there has been discourse about my body, and it began to feel overwhelming,” she told the outlet. “So, recently I looked to examples of others who have come out as trans. 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.”
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Dorfman also revealed that she will not be changing her name in order to honor her namesake, “an uncle who held me as he was dying.”
“This is an evolution of Tommy. I’m becoming more Tommy,” she said, noting that it isn’t a “transition” in the sense that she is going somewhere.
“Just that I am actually myself,” she clarified.
Dorfman added she will no longer take on any male roles – something that made her “feel really uncomfortable” – and will instead “infuse my trans body into film and television.”
“I feel like I haven’t scratched the surface with my career or work because everything I’ve done up until the end of last year has been in the wrong body, and not in my truth,” Dorfman said. “So much of my work as an actor was like, hiding this part of myself and then bringing life to a character. And so I think I’m just excited to play women. Trans women, cis women, women in general. Non-binary, femme-presenting people.”
While acknowledging some feelings of sadness and loss during her transition, Dorfman said she is looking forward to a future where she is “just radically honest.”
“That’s the person I am becoming.”
Dorfman took to Instagram the same day to share her gratitude for other trans women who “broke barriers, and risked their lives to live authentically.”
“Thrilled to reintroduce myself as the woman i am today,” she wrote. “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.”
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GLAAD responded to Dorfman’s announcement
“Tommy Dorfman sharing that she’s a transgender woman will inspire so many trans young people and also reminds us that when it comes to queer identity there is not a specific timeline or roadmap to follow,” GLAAD’s Head of Talent Anthony Allen Ramos said in a statement.
Dorfman received GLAAD’s Rising Star Award in 2017 for using her platform to draw attention to important issues affecting LGBTQ people, the organization also shared.
“She continues that work at a time when the trans community is facing attacks in states all over the country. Tommy is a talented artist, and we look forward to the stories that she will tell about the trans community,” Ramos added.
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