Actress Yasmin Finney leads a new generation of trans equity in Hollywood

Through+her+work+as+an+actress+and+young+role+model%2C+Yasmin+Finney+is+creating+safe+transgender+representation+in+Hollywood.

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Through her work as an actress and young role model, Yasmin Finney is creating safe transgender representation in Hollywood.

Caroline Sierk, Copy Editor

Breakout actress Yasmin Finney made her debut in overnight Netflix sensation “Heartstopper” based on the graphic novels by Alice Oseman. Within only a month of the series’s premiere, Finney has established herself as a member of the next generation of Hollywood stars.

Her “Heartstopper” character Elle Argent melted hearts with her endearing charm and humble charisma. In the first episode, Elle experiences her first day at an all-girls school after attending an all-boys school her whole life. The show is a pivotal piece of modern LGBTQ+ representation for the way it normalizes homosexuality for teens instead of tokenizing it. 

Additionally, introducing Elle as a young woman post-transition allows viewers to imagine the hopeful futures for trans kids if they are given the love, support and resources to transition.

Finney’s beautiful performance as Elle enamored audiences and left them wondering what would lie in store for the incredibly talented young performer. Already, Finney has appeared on GLAAD’s 20 Under 20 list in 2022, and she has been contracted to act in the next Doctor Who (2023).

In an interview with The Guardian, Finney expressed her anticipation for Hollywood’s future. “I think we’ll really [have] change when I can play a character whose gender identity or sexuality isn’t specified,” she confided. “That’s when the industry will start to see trans actors as normal actors like everybody else, and we can play any role that we want to. When I can play a cis role, it will be sunshine and rainbows.”

The doors are open, and if actors are being fairly casted based on talent, whether an actor is transgender or cisgender, they should have equal opportunites to shine. Trans individuals – not just actors – have been waiting to have their stories told for all too long. 

Promoting trans narratives in a welcoming industry is the next step in advocating for trans rights beyond media. PV sophomore and actor Zack Guest expressed, “Sadly, many LGBTQ+ celebrities and actors risk losing [support] as they come out, but I do believe people are making strides to be better.” 

Guest recognizes the role of social media in this conversation; cancel culture is both a blessing and a curse. He described, “Today, if openly transphobic people are being ‘cancelled’ they may lose their jobs which enables more trans actors [and allies] to work.” 

Essentially, Guest hopes the industry will slowly weed out transphobic directors, actors, producers and creators in general to manifest the representation and respect necessary in media for years to come. He looks forward to hearing trans stories be shared and audiences learn to be accepting of future trans representation in movies and theatre.

Finney is but one of a vast group of young trans actors paving the way for new Hollywood. Her impact has already inspired millions and can only grow stronger. 

“For the most part, I’m just happy to be seen,” Finney said. “And I will play trans roles for the rest of my life if I have to because I think every trans story is valid. But bring on the next role: trans, cis, alien – whatever!”