Modern Family Casts First Openly Transgender Child Actor Jackson Millarker

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.

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Seneca the Younger(er)

Cool, and good for him, I’m sure he’ll knock it out of the park. Jeffrey Tambor is right about plenty of transgender actors out there with the chops to pull off roles.

On a personal note, I have a 7-year-old and I’m trying to imagine him coming to me next year and saying he’s a transgender girl. I mean, he’s already told me he wants hair like Rapunzel, but I think my response would be “Okay, buddy, let’s wait until puberty hits and see what the hormones say, huh? In the meantime, wear what you want, style your hair how you want, and be interested in whatever you want, because that crap has nothing to do with gender”. I mean, I get that it’s ignorant of me, but I have trouble understanding how a pre-adolescent child can feel any conflict or monachopsis about gender. I’m a cis male and I wasn’t aware of my sexual orientation until I was twelve. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin and appreciative of my own self-image until much later than that. As a young child I played with barbies and learned to cook and bake, but although that freaked my father out, those superficial trappings have nothing to do with gender.

Can anyone who found themselves convinced about their gender one way or the other at such an early age educate me?