Now in its eighth season, ABC sitcom Modern Family makes a significant move in terms of casting diversity. The show will feature eight-year-old Jackson Millarker, television’s first openly transgender child actor.
According to Variety, Millarker will play Tom, a transgender boy who is pals with Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons). He will appear in the episode “A Stereotypical Day,” where he is invited for a play-date by Lily, and by extension her parents Cameron “Cam” (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson).
Adult transgender actors appear on the shows Orange Is the New Black and Nashville, and transgender teenager Jazz Jennings stars in her own reality show, I Am Jazz. Of course, a number of cisgender actors have performed the roles of transgender people—and continue to do so—but as Jeffrey Tambor of Transparent suggests, this practice should end.
“I would not be unhappy if I were the last cisgender male to play a female transgender on television,” he said during his 2016 Emmy Awards speech.
You can catch the Modern Family episode “A Stereotypical Day” on Wednesday, September 28 on ABC.