Actor Josie Totah, who stars in Mindy Kaling’s NBC sitcom Champions, has disclosed her identity as a transgender. The 17-year-old actor has featured in various films and shows like Glee and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Totah came out through an open letter that was published in Time Magazine. Making a confession, the Glee actor said she was “shoved into a box” on gender and sexuality during her child acting career and now feels free to speak her truth.
“When I was on the show ‘Glee’, I’d stand back and watch Lea Michele. She was fabulous. And it was fun to see her and the other girls wear dresses and put on lavish musical numbers. But it was also hard because I wanted that to be me,” Totah wrote in the letter.
“My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah,” she added.
Totah said she “always knew on some level that (she) was female” and asked to wear dresses as soon as she could speak full sentences.
The documentary series “I Am Jazz”, about transgender activist Jazz Jennings, inspired her to come out and she decided to pursue hormone replacement therapy.
Sharing the challenges she had to face regarding her gender identity, Totah wrote that reporters asked her how it felt to be a “young gay man” and LGBTQ+ rights organisations would introduce her that way when presenting her with awards.
“I almost felt like I owed it to everybody to be that gay boy. I was afraid I wouldn’t be accepted, that I would be embarrassed, that the fans who knew me from the time when I acted in a Disney show would be confused,” the actor added.
Totah’s co-star Mindy Kaling appreciated her courage to speak the truth publicly. Taking to Twitter, she wrote: “I love you, Josie. I’m so glad you’re able to speak your truth and live as your authentic self.”
I love you, Josie. I’m so glad you’re able to speak your truth and live as your authentic self. You’re also so damn talented – I can’t wait to write for you again! ❤️💕❤️💕❤️ https://t.co/OjIoI9Wpb3
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) August 20, 2018
-With agency inputs