With Laverne Cox being all-round brilliant on Orange Is The New Black, Caitlyn Jenner coming out as trans and The Danish Girl – with Eddie Redmayne playing the title character, an artist who had the first sex-change operation ever in the 1920s – hitting our screen this year, there have been some serious steps made for trans equality.
But what’s worth noting is that as well as male-to-female trans people (better known as transwomen), there are also female to male trans people.
What better way of informing the UK about them than by featuring a transguy on EastEnders! Riley Carter Millington, 21, is to join the cast and will first appear on screen in October before returning at the start of 2016.
In a statement released by the BBC, he said: ‘I am extremely excited to be joining EastEnders. I can honestly say that I have now fulfilled my two biggest dreams – to be living my life as a man and to be an actor.
‘I cannot wait to really get stuck in with filming and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for my character.’
No more details have been revealed about his character, but what makes this a landmark is that this is the first time a trans person has played a trans character in a soap.
While Hayley Cropper was a soap’s first trans character in Coronation Street, she was played by a cis woman (that means someone who feels like their inner person matches what they look like on the outside). And criticism has been levied at The Danish Girl for having a man play a trans woman.
So for EastEnders to actually have a trans person play a trans person is a huge step forward for diversity.
Well done, Riley!
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.