Disney Channel Finally Introduced Its First Trans Character


The That’s So Raven reboot may have given Disney Channel its very first live action trans character.

“The Fierce Awakens,” the 15th episode of the fifth season of Raven’s Home, premiered on Friday, and episode writer Nori Reed posted to Instagram to commemorate the occasion, writing that she “may have created the first ever trans character for the Disney Channel.”

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That character, Nikki, is an influencer who is played by trans actress Juliana Joel, who is also possibly the first out trans actress to play a role on a Disney Channel show. Both Joel and Reed wrote on Instagram that the episode was a dream come true, especially for people who could not have imagined seeing trans characters on children’s TV.

In an Instagram post, Joel shared her story of growing up as a kid in a “typical Puerto Rican family” in Florida, dreaming of being on the Disney Channel and specifically on her favorite show That’s So Raven.

“Raven Baxter was my best friend in my mind. It was my escape from what I was going through internally,” Joel wrote. “Needless to say I cried in my dressing room after walking onto that set the first time. It was a moment where it hit me that I not only get to live out my childhood dream on a version of my favorite show…I get to do it as my authentic self and with a character that is openly trans.”

Lastly, she added that being on the show was more meaningful than just her childhood wish fulfillment. “With all of the anti-trans hate and narratives in media and society, it was a win,” Joel wrote. “I claimed a dream and space for myself while so much of the world is trying to erase me & my community. And now I get to be that person I wish I had to watch on TV growing up.”





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