Tommy Dorfman of ’13 Reasons Why’ Comes Out As Transgender
Tommy Dorfman, star of 13 Reasons Why has revealed that she is a transgender woman in an interview with Time today (July 22).
Tommy told the publication that, “For a year now, I have been privately identifying and living as a woman — a trans woman. It’s funny to think about coming out, because I haven’t gone anywhere. I view today as a reintroduction to me as a woman, having made a transition medically.”
She continued on to say that her name will remain unchanged, “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.”
“I’m named after my mom’s brother who passed a month after I was born, and I feel very connected to that name, to an uncle who held me as he was dying,” she explains. “This is an evolution of Tommy. I’m becoming more Tommy… I am actually myself.”
Apparently, fans have been speculating about Tommy’s gender identity for about a year, amid a change in her style and appearance in posts to her Instagram. By publicly opening up about her identity, Tommy said that is a way to reclaim the narrative for herself.
“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?” she said. “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,” the 29-year-old actress continued. “With this medical transition, there has been discourse about my body, and it began to feel overwhelming.”
“One doesn’t have to medically transition to be trans, but for me, it was an active choice. I’m aligning my body with my soul,” Tommy said. “Yet as a result of that, I am losing some things. I have to reckon with the fact that I brought along a lot of people and things who might not end up being there for this part of my journey.”
When it comes to her career, Tommy acknowledged that it’s “impossible for me to separate my personal and professional transition, because 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,” she says of her 13 Reasons Why character, Ryan Shaver. “But I’m no longer interested in playing ‘male’ characters — except for maybe in a ‘Cate Blanchett playing Bob Dylan’ way. Sometimes you just have to say, ‘No, this is just who I f—ing am.'”
Looking ahead professionally, Tommy says she’s “thinking about how I can infuse my trans body into film and television.” The actress will appear in Lena Dunham’s upcoming film, Sharp Stick, which wrapped filming earlier this year. The project was Tommy’s “first role as a girl,” an experience she calls “so exciting and validating.”
As she moves forward in this new phase of her life, Tommy says, “All I can do now is look to a future where I am, hopefully, just radically honest. That’s the person I am becoming.”