In the United Kingdom, EastEnders is an institution. The soap opera first aired in 1985, and in the decades since, it's tackled some tough issues and taboos, fundamentally contibuting to societal progress. Long ahead of the curve, the show is proving itself once again with a recent announcement that they have hired trans actor Riley Carter Millington to play a permanent trans character, Kyle. This marks the first time that a trans actor has been hired to play a trans character on a British soap opera.
In a statement, Carter Millington 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."
Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins added:
"[Story producer] Alex Lamb and his story team have worked with Riley to create an EastEnders character who is fresh and relatable - but also comes with his own stock of secrets and is going to be thrown right into one of our biggest stories for the end of the year. I hope that the audience will take Riley and his character to their hearts as quickly as everyone here at EastEnders has done."
Speaking with Buzzfeed, writer Paris Lees celebrated the announcement:
"It's probably the most exciting thing to happen for trans people in popular culture in this country this decade."
"It's massive, it's mainstream. EastEnders is leading the way in encouraging trans talent and doing away with the lie that there isn't any [trans] acting talent out there."
[H/T Gay Star News]