Young actor Josie Totah, who has appeared in projects like Champions and Other People, has come out as transgender.
In a moving and honest op-ed for Time, Totah details her journey in accepting and embracing her identity.
She explains that growing up, people always assumed she was a gay boy.
‘On the playground, I was the type of kid who wanted to sing with the girls, not play soccer with the boys,’ she writes.
‘Then I found myself playing that role once I got into the entertainment industry, and people kept assuming my identity. Numerous reporters have asked me in interviews how it feels to be a young gay man.’
She says she felt she ‘owed it’ to be the gay boy everyone assumed she was.
That wasn’t her truth
Now, Totah realizes hiding her ‘true self is not healthy’.
‘I know now, more than ever, that I’m finally ready to take this step toward becoming myself. I’m ready to be free.’
Then she claims her real truth: ‘My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah.’
She further explains this wasn’t a choice and this is who she’s always been, ‘long before I understood what the word gender meant’.
When Totah was 14, she watched the docuseries I Am Jazz, about a young transgender girl, with her mother. That’s when it became clear.
‘I looked over at her in the middle of the show and said, “This is me. I’m transgender. And I need to go through this.” My mother, who is immensely supportive and gracious, said, “Okay, let’s do it.”
‘Three days later I was meeting with my pediatrician, who referred me to a specialist, who put me on a hormone blocker. From that point on, I hit the ground running.’
Facing the future
Totah explains she struggled with anxiety growing up, and still does about certain things, like changing her identity documents.
Still, she’s also excited about the future and she’s starting college this week.
‘I’m also going to continue my acting career, and I am so excited to do both things as myself,’ she writes. ‘I plan to play roles I haven’t had the opportunity to play. And I can only imagine how much more fun it’s going to be to play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy.’