IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'13 Reasons Why' star Tommy Dorfman reintroduces herself as transgender

The actor, who also appears in the show “Love, Victor,” shared her story in a new interview with Time.
Tommy Dorfman seen at Girls' Night Out screening of "Zola" on June 10 in Los Angeles.
Tommy Dorfman seen at Girls' Night Out screening of "Zola" on June 10 in Los Angeles. Blair Raughley / AP

Tommy Dorfman, who stars in the show “13 Reasons Why,” has come out as transgender in a new interview with Time.

The actor, 29, is known for playing the role of Ryan Shaver in the controversial Netflix show, which addresses heavy subject matter such as sexual assault, school violence, bullying and suicide.

Dorfman told the magazine that her pronouns are "she" and "her" and that she has been privately identifying and living as a trans woman for a year. She said she sees the concept of "coming out" as funny, 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," she explained.

Dorfman has posted several photos throughout her transition, leading many fans to wonder if she would be making a statement to confirm the news. During her interview with author Torrey Peters, whose debut novel, “Detransition, Baby,” features transgender characters, Dorfman explained why she waited to make the official announcement.

"I’ve been living in this other version of coming out where I don’t feel safe enough to talk about it, so I just do it. But 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.

After undergoing a medical transition, the actor wanted to control her own narrative and decided to make a formal announcement since the public discussion about her body “began to feel overwhelming.”

The 29-year-old is keeping her name, Tommy, and explained why that was particularly important to her.

"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," she said.

Moving forward, Dorfman is excited to take on female roles and move into a new stage of her career.

"I’m thinking about how I can infuse my trans body into film and television. Lena Dunham gave me my first role as a girl last year — it was so exciting and validating. And personally, it’s wild to be 29 and going through puberty again. Some days I feel like I’m 14," she said.

She’s also ready to explore new romantic relationships after carefully considering what she really wants in a partner.

“I was in a nine-year relationship in which I was thought of as a more male-bodied person, with a gay man. I love him so much, but we’ve been learning that as a trans woman, what I’m interested in is not necessarily reflected in a gay man,” she said. “So we’ve had incredible conversations to redefine our relationship as friends. Transitioning has been liberating and clarifying.”

GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, responded to Dorfman’s news Thursday.

"Tommy Dorfman sharing that she’s a transgender woman will inspire so many trans young people and also reminds us that when it comes to queer identity there is not a specific timeline or roadmap to follow," Anthony Allen, GLAAD's head of talent, said in an emailed statement to TMRW by Today. "Tommy received GLAAD’s Rising Star Award in 2017 for using her platform to draw attention to important issues affecting LGBTQ people, and she continues that work at a time when the trans community is facing attacks in states all over the country."

Ramos added, "Tommy is a talented artist, and we look forward to the stories that she will tell about the trans community."

This story was originally published on

Follow NBC Out on TwitterFacebook & Instagram