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Tommy Dorfman would have ‘transitioned a lot sooner’ if she hadn’t done 13 Reasons Why

Dorfman also reveals she's engaged to another woman, saying she's "the person I'm going to spend the rest of my life with".

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Instagram/@tommy.dorfman

13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman has shared how her transition as a transgender woman was impacted by the Netflix teen drama. 

Dorfman came out as trans in July 2021, after the fourth and final season of 13 Reasons Why, and the 30-year-old actor has now said her early career success hindered parts of her personal development. 

“I think if I hadn’t booked that job I would have transitioned a lot sooner,” Dorfman shared on the Broad Ideas with Rachel Bilson podcast on Monday (15 August). 

With her role as classmate Ryan Shaver in 13 Reasons Why – the Netflix drama following high-schooler Hannah Baker’s (Katherine Langford) suicide – being her first substantial job, Dorfman notes that: “In those early years of working, I was just trying to understand [myself]”.

She continues: “I think because of my work being so tied to my body and face and identity, or whatever [a character] identified as, it delayed some of my growth and some of my maturation in my twenties.”

“I made decisions that were just not aligned with how I really was or what I wanted – but out of fear,” Dorfman added. 

Elsewhere in the podcast, Dorfman shared that she is engaged.

Though she kept the details to a minimum, Dorfman shared that her fiancée is a “gay girl” and declared that she is “the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with”. 

She added that her “very affirming” romance feels nothing but “safe”. 

“I knew I was interested in women in a way that I hadn’t really been aware of since high school,” Dorfman reflected. “I had this unresolved, unexplored thing.”

In February, Dorfman’s husband of five years, Peter Zurkuhlen, filed for divorce. The pair redefined their relationship as friends.

In her 2021 coming out, after coming out as non-binary in 2017, Dorfman shared: “For a year now, I have been privately identifying and living as a woman – a trans woman”.

“Coming out is always viewed as this grand reveal, but I was never not out,” Dorfman added. “Today is about clarity: I am a trans woman. My pronouns are she/her. My name is Tommy.” 

The Attitude September/October issue is out now.