TV’s First Black Trans Male Regular Cast in ‘9-1-1’ Spinoff

Discussion in 'Television and Web Series' started by OckyDub, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. OckyDub

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    Actor Brian Michael Smith was one of three casting announcements that trickled out on Tuesday morning ahead of Fox’s 9-1-1 spinoff, Lone Star, which debuts in January. This next installment in Ryan Murphy’s burgeoning franchise will take place in Texas and star Rob Lowe and Liv Tyler as first responders tasked with saving lives every week at 8 p.m.

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, Smith will play a “transgender male firefighter with a gift for observation worthy of Sherlock Holmes.” He joins Natacha Karam and Rafael Silva, who are playing Muslim and Latinx firefighters, respectively.

    While THR notes that Smith, who is Black and transgender, is just “one of just a handful of trans and non-binary regulars on broadcast TV,” his casting is also historic. While Angelica Ross of Pose and American Horror Story became the first trans woman to be featured as a series regular on two television shows earlier this year, the silver screen has never had a Black trans male regular. Smith will be the first.

    The 36-year-old was cast in small roles on Girls and Homeland before landing his most significant role to date in OWN’s Queen Sugar, playing a transgender cop. It was one of Smith’s first opportunities to play a trans character on TV, as his previous parts were not specified as trans or cis.

    “I was excited at the thought of sharing this with people who may not know that they know trans people in their personal life,” Smith said in a statement released by GLAAD at the time.

    Other trans and nonbinary actors to book regular roles on television include Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), Jen Richards (Tales of the City), Elliott Fletcher (The Fosters), and Asia Kate Dillon (Billions). FX’s Pose, which debuted in 2018, was the first show in history to have a predominantly transgender cast — most of whom are trans women of color. Many are featured as regulars.
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