True to its name, ABC’s Modern Family has become known for its relatable depictions of non-traditional family dynamics. It centers on three interrelated families including an aging grandfather and his much younger wife, a gay couple raising an adoptive daughter, and a seemingly nuclear family, who are anything but.
This week the awarding-winning family comedy is weaving into the plot a transgender child, who will be played by an openly transgender child actor.
In the episode of Modern Family, which airs Sept. 28, Cameron and Mitchell’s adopted daughter Lily invites a transgender boy named Tom over for a play date, Variety reported. The couple reportedly couldn’t be prouder of having raised such an open-minded child, until Lily insults the boy, and Cam and Mitchell have sit her down for a talk.
The role of Lily’s friend Tom will be played by eight-year-old transgender actor Jackson Millarker, the episode’s director Ryan Case said on Instagram.
While shows like Nashville, Orange is the New Black, and Amazon’s Transparent, which feature transgender adult characters, some of whom are played by transgender actors, have helped make TV more inclusive, the subject of a child transitioning is still fairly taboo. Some argue that children who transition early in life are too young to make such a big decision, while others say gender emerges early enough for even young children to know what gender they identify with.
The upcoming episode of Modern Family could push the narrative around transgender acceptance forward while offering transgender children a mainstream example of someone who looks like them on primetime TV.
Parents of transgender children praised the TV show on Twitter.
The recently released third season of Amazon’s Transparent also featured a 12-year-old transgender actress in a flashback scene. Transgender teen Jazz Jennings has her own reality show on TLC called I Am Jazz.
During the Emmy’s last week, Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor urged Hollywood to “give transgender talent a chance,” during his acceptance speech. ”Give them their story,” he said.
The industry is listening.