13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman just made a major announcement: She is transgender.
Dorfman, 29, shared the news on Instagram on July 22 alongside photos from a Time magazine shoot that showcases her in several gorgeous dresses and heels. “Thrilled to reintroduce myself as the woman I am today. My pronouns are she/her,” Dorfman wrote in the caption, before thanking Time for sharing her story.
“I’m especially grateful to every single trans person who walked this path, broke down barriers, and risked their lives to live authentically and radically as themselves before me,” she wrote. “Thank you to all the trans woman that showed me who I am, how to live, celebrate myself, and take up space in this world.”
The comments of Dorfman’s post were filled with supportive messages. “YASSSSSSSSSSSS SLAY QUEEN!! SO PROUD YOU BBY❤️,” one person wrote. “Yes, girl, yes!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️” someone else said.
Speculation about Dorfman’s gender identity had persisted for months, after she began changing her style and appearance. But Dorfman has remained silent about it, until now.
In a new interview with Time, she shared that she’s “been privately identifying and living as a woman” for a year.
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“It’s funny to think about coming out, because I haven’t gone anywhere,” she said. “I view today as a reintroduction to me as a woman, having made a transition medically. 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.”
Dorfman shared that she had 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, she added, “I recognize that transitioning is beautiful. Why not let the world see what that looks like? So I kept, on Instagram, a diaristic time capsule instead—one that shows a body living in a more fluid space.”
Dorfman acknowledged that “there has been discourse about my body, and it began to feel overwhelming. 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 pointed out that she has no plans to change her name, as other transgender women have done. “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 said. “This is an evolution of Tommy. I’m becoming more Tommy.”
Dorfman shared that she’s had concerns about how this will impact 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 said. “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. 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.'”
Dorfman also revealed that she recently ended a nine-year relationship. “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,” she said. “So we’ve had incredible conversations to redefine our relationship as friends. Transitioning has been liberating and clarifying.”
Dorfman says that she’s “aligning my body with my soul,” but acknowledges that she’s losing some things. “All I can do now is look to a future where I am, hopefully, just radically honest,” she says. “That’s the person I am becoming.”
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