An openly transgender child actor will appear in tomorrow night’s episode of the hit ABC series Modern Family.
“Eight-year-old actor Jackson Millarker will appear in Wednesday’s episode as Lily’s friend Tom,” Deadline Hollywood reported. “Lily, of course. is the daughter of same-sex couple Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson).”
Millarker’s appearance comes as transgender visibility is rapidly increasing. A recent HRC survey found that 35 percent of likely voters surveyed reported that they personally know or work with a transgender person. That’s nearly 1.6 times last year’s figure of 22 percent.
Celebrities including Laverne Cox, Mya Taylor, Lilly Wachowski, Aydian Dowling, Geena Rocero, Janet Mock and Andreja Pejic are also part of this changing landscape. So, too, are shows and films like HerStory, Transparent, Sense8, Tangerine and The Danish Girl. But while transgender teen Jazz Jennings, and HRC Youth Ambassador, is the face of many brands and campaigns, including her own reality show, there are very few openly transgender youth in the media.
Though trans visibility is increasing, obstacles to equality remain for the transgender community, especially for transgender youth. Since state legislatures began meeting earlier this year, more than30 bills were introduced seeking to deny transgender students access to appropriate restrooms and locker rooms, and preventing them from playing on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity. Additionally, an HRC Foundation survey found that three-quarters of transgender students feel unsafe in school settings. Additionally, far too many transgender youth are forced to leave their homes.
In 2010 at its 14th annual National Dinner, HRC presented a National Arts & Culture Award to Modern Family. Several Modern Family cast members, including Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita, are longtime HRC supporters. Mikita also serves on HRC’s Board of Directors.
HRC thanks the cast and crew of Modern Family for continuing to break down barriers and for sharing the stories of LGBTQ people of all ages through their beloved and groundbreaking show.
For transgender and gender-expansive youth, parental support is incredibly important. In light of growing transgender visibility in recent years, more and more children and their families are looking for transgender youth resources. HRC is committed to providing the kinds of resources children, families and other youth-serving professionals need to support one another in their journeys. Read more here.
For HRC’s transgender visibility resource guide, visit http://www.hrc.org/resources/transgender-visibility-guide