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13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman comes out as transgender

"For a year now, I have been privately identifying and living as a woman - a trans woman."

By Will Stroude

Words: Will Stroude; Image; Hugo Boss

13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman has come out publicly as transgender.

The 29-year-old actor, who starred as Ryan Shaver on the hit Netflix series from 2017-2020, opened up about her gender identity in a new interview with TIME.

“For a year now, I have been privately identifying and living as a woman – a trans woman”, said Tommy, who previously came out as non-binary in 2017.

Reflecting on their latest coming out, the screen star continued: “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.

Tommy Dorfman was announced as one of the faces of Hugo Boss’s Pride collection earlier this year (Image: Hugo Boss)

“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.”

Despite making a career out of playing male-presenting roles on TV in series such as Insatiable and Love, Victor, Tommy says she won’t be accepting such roles going forward – though she admits she previously worried about the impact that transitioning might have on her career.

“It’s impossible for me to separate my personal and professional transition, because my body and face are linked to my career”, she reflects. “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.

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“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**cking am’.”

Tommy wed her husband, Peter Zurkuhlen, in 2016, while still identifying as male. The Atlanta-born performer says that the pair have ‘redefined’ their relationship to one of friendship since she came to terms with her gender identity.

“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,” Tommy explained.

“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.”

Read the full interview with Tommy Dorfman at TIME.