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Tommy Dorfman re-introduces herself to the world as a trans woman.
Dorfman, who played Ryan Shaver on 13 reasons why, first discussed her transition publicly in an interview with novelist Torrey Peters, published by Time on Thursday, saying: “For a year now, I personally identify and live as a woman – a trans woman.”
“It’s funny to think about coming out because I didn’t go anywhere,” she continued. “I see today as a reintroduction of me as a woman, who has made a medical transition. Coming out is always seen as a big revelation, but I was never lost. Today it’s about clarity: I’m a trans woman. My pronouns are she/her. My name is Tommy.”
Dorfman, who has been documenting her changes in style and appearance for several months Instagram, says she felt the need to publicly raise her gender identity in order to maintain control of her own story.
“I’ve been living in this different version of coming out where I don’t feel safe enough to talk about it, so I’ll just do it. But I recognize the transition is beautiful. Why don’t you show the world what that looks like sees ?” she said. “So I kept a diary-like time capsule on Instagram instead — one that shows a body living in a more fluid space. However, I’ve learned as an audience-watching person that my refusal to elucidate can deprive me of the freedom to control my own story. With this medical transition, there has been a discussion about my body and it started to feel overwhelming.”
Dorfman, 29, will not change her name, which she was given in honor of her mother’s brother, who died shortly after she was born. “I feel very connected to that name, to an uncle who held me while he was dying,” she said. “This is an evolution of Tommy. I’m becoming more Tommy.”
“I love my name, I want to keep my name and breathe new life into my name,” she continued. “I’m also very proud of the person I was. I think that’s important to acknowledge. I’m proud of who I’ve been over the years.”
Given her trajectory so far, Dorfman said it was “impossible for me to separate my personal and professional transition, because my body and face are connected to my career.”
“I’m most recognized for playing a bitchy gay poet on a soap opera, and I was worried that active changes in my personal life would make me lose any career I’ve been told I should have,” she said. “But I’m no longer interested in playing ‘male’ characters.”
Dorfman got her first role as a woman in Lena Dunhamthe upcoming movie Sharp stick. She’s also going to direct an adaptation of Mason Deaver’s I wish you the best and will play in the Channel 4 limited series this fall fracture.
“I feel like I haven’t surfaced with my career or work yet because everything I’ve done up until the end of last year has been in the wrong body, and not my truth,” Dorfman said. “So much of my job as an actor was hiding this part of myself and then bringing a character to life. And so I guess I’m just excited to play women. Trans women, cis women, women in general. Non-binary “, femme presenters. And it’s funny, because I loved acting, but I would hate going to work. It would always make me feel really uncomfortable. And now I know why.”
And in her personal life has also changed what the star is looking for in a romantic partner.
“Personally, it’s wild being 29 and going through puberty again. Some days I feel like I’m 14,” she said. “As a result of that shift, the types of romantic partnerships I seek are different. I was in a nine-year relationship where I was seen as a more masculine person, with a gay man. I love him so much, but we learned 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,” she continued. “The transition has been liberating and enlightening.”
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