Tommy Dorfman, the 29-year-old star best known for her role in Netflix’s teen drama 13 Reasons Why, has given fans a closer glimpse into her life.
In an interview with Time magazine, the actress is reintroducing herself to the world as a trans woman. However, she isn’t considering the moment a “coming out,” but rather moment to clear the air.
“It is not transition. Or it is, but not as an idea of going somewhere. Just that I am actually myself,” Dorfman, who uses she/her pronouns said.
“It’s funny to think about coming out, because I haven’t gone anywhere. I view today as a reintroduction to me as a woman, having made a transition medically. Coming out is always viewed as this grand reveal, but I was never not out. Today is about clarity: I am a trans woman.”
“Some people moved houses during the pandemic, some people changed genders,” she said in a video clip for Time. “For many years I wanted to start transitioning and it felt really daunting and really scary to embark on that journey, especially because I’m at the beginning of my career.”
Growing up, Dorfman says she always felt feminine inside, “whatever that means.” But self-isolation brought upon by the pandemic inspired her to look inside herself a bit more deeply.
“For me, it really took everything to go away, me alone in my bed, trying to imagine what my life at 60 would look like — and all I can see was a woman.”
For the last year, Dorfman has been posting her transition journey on Instagram little by little, and while her 1.3 million followers have taken notice, she has never publicly confirmed or denied it — until now.
“I recognize that transitioning is beautiful. Why not let the world see what that looks like? So I kept, on Instagram, a diaristic time capsule instead—one that shows a body living in a more fluid space,” she said.
“With this medical transition, there has been discourse about my body, and it began to feel overwhelming,” she explained. “So, recently I looked to examples of others who have come out as trans. There’s the version I couldn’t really afford to do, which is to disappear for two years and come back with a new name, new face and new body. But that’s not what I wanted.”
Dorfman, who stars in Channel 4’s Fracture and is set to direct an adaption of Mason Deaver’s I Wish You All the Best, added that she is choosing to keep her name for sentimental reasons.
“I’m not a different person. I want to keep my name, and give new life to my name,” she said, adding, “I’m named after my mom’s brother who passed a month after I was born, and I feel very connected to that name, to an uncle who held me as he was dying. This is an evolution of Tommy. I’m becoming more Tommy.”
Looking ahead, Dorfman said she’s diving into her future with optimism, hope, and above all, honesty.
“One doesn’t have to medically transition to be trans, but for me, it was an active choice. I’m aligning my body with my soul,” she says. “Yet as a result of that, I am losing some things. I have to reckon with the fact that I brought along a lot of people and things who might not end up being there for this part of my journey. All I can do now is look to a future where I am, hopefully, just radically honest. That’s the person I am becoming.”
And as for acting, Dorfman says she feels the best is yet to come.
“I feel like I haven’t scratched the surface for me and my work because everything I’ve done up until the end of last year has been in the wrong body and not in my truth, and so much of my work as an actor was hiding this part of myself and then bringing life to character,” she explained. “So I’m just excited to play women: trans women, cis women, women in general, nonbinary presenting people. It’s funny because I loved acting but I would hate going to work. It always felt really uncomfortable to me and now I know why.”
Following the publication of Dorfman’s Time interview, many have come out to support her.
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