The actor Tommy Dorfman has confirmed that she is transgender. Dorfman, who played the gay cis-male character Ryan Shaver on the hit Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, told Time magazine: “I view today as a reintroduction to me as a woman, having made a transition medically … Today is about clarity: I am a trans woman. My pronouns are she/her. My name is Tommy.”
Dorfman told the interviewer, trans novelist Torrey Peters, that she had been “privately identifying and living as a woman – a trans woman” for a year. Over that period, the 29-year-old’s physical evolution has been chronicled on her Instagram feed, prompting online discussion about her body that Dorfman said “began to feel overwhelming”. In the Time photoshoot, Dorfman poses in traditionally glamorous film-star attire, including a sheer red dress.
She confirmed that she would continue to be known as Tommy, telling Time: “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,” Dorfman added. “This is an evolution of Tommy. I’m becoming more Tommy.”
Dorfman’s first female role is in Sharp Stick, the forthcoming film written and directed by Lena Dunham. Dorfman confirmed that she would no longer play 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 fucking am.’”
The actor also said that in transitioning, she had had to recalibrate her intimate relationships. “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.” Dorfman is married to Peter Zurkuhlen, who wrote on social media: “So much love. You are gorgeous and you are fully you.”
Other stars added posted in praise of Dorfman’s interview. Emma Corrin, who played Princess Diana in The Crown and recently posed on Instagram wearing a chest binder, wrote: “‘I AM SO PROUD OF YOU @TommyDorfman thank you for being YOU, for sharing this. We see you, we love you.” Katherine Langford, Dorfman’s co-star in 13 Reasons Why, added: “She’s STUNNING.”
In recent years, trans actors have become increasingly visible on screen. This year, MJ Rodriguez became the first trans actor to be nominated for a major acting Emmy for her role on Pose, while the rebooted Gossip Girl also features a trans actor, Zión Moreno.