'Modern Family' Is Featuring TV's First Openly Transgender Child Actor
This family is getting just a little bit bigger.
Modern Family is staying true to its name. Wednesday's episode of the hit ABC comedy will feature 8-year-old Jackson Millarker, the first openly transgender child actor.
Now in its eighth season, the Emmy Award-winning series will air "A Stereotypical Day" this week, its second episode since the season began. In the episode, Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) host a playdate for their daughter Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons), who invites classmate transgender Tom (Jackson Millarker) over to their home to play. The shenanigans that ensue serve as a solid memo regarding the lack of information and education we have on transgender individuals.
Film editor Ryan Case, who directed the episode, shared a selfie of Millarker and herself on set on Monday.
"This is Jackson Millarker," she wrote. "He’s 8 years old, from Atlanta, and just happens to be transgender. He plays Lily’s friend Tom in this week’s Modern Family and he’s wonderful. One of the many reasons I love being a part of this show."
What's especially notable about a transgender child playing a transgender child in a TV show is that it's never happened before. As a matter of fact, no real-life transgender adult has portrayed a transgender character in mainstream media (while Laverne Cox's character in Orange Is the New Black is indeed notable, Netflix is a paid subscription service).
The casting choice echoes the thoughts of Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor, who acknowledged the issue when he accepted his Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy this year:
"I would not be unhappy if I were the last cisgender male to play a female transgender on television," he said at the time.
Don't forget to tune in for "A Stereotypical Day" on Wednesday, September 28 on ABC.