Nickelodeon has cast its first-ever openly transgender teenage actor in a live-action show, Sasha A. Cohen, who will be featured in the children network’s series Danger Force. The 13-year-old actor — along with his twin sister Natalie Cohen — will appear on the June 19 episode of Danger Force, according to a report by Variety.
Fellow Nickelodeon star Michael D. Cohen (no relation) — who is also transgender — told the outlet that he wants “Sasha to see his own power as an actor and as a human.”
“I want him to feel proud of his work and feel real confident in himself in every aspect and to know that he will help change kids’ lives by being the first kid of trans experience on Nickelodeon in live action,” Michael D. Cohen added.
Michael D. Cohen — who revealed to TIME in 2019 that he was born a female but transitioned some two decades prior — discovered Sasha A. Cohen through his “Trans Youth Acting Challenge,” which is meant to help transgender youth break into the entertainment industry.
“I had never felt comfortable about who I am, and I always thought that I would never play a transgender role,” Sasha A. Cohen told Variety. “But there are so many kids out there who need to see someone like them — a role model who has the ability to put themselves out there.”
“It has long been Nickelodeon’s mission to be a home for all kids, and to authentically represent them in their full diversity,” Paul DeBenedittis, Nickelodeon’s executive vice president of programming and content strategy, told Variety of the TV channel’s casting choice. “This episode of ‘Danger Force’ ultimately tells a relatable story of friendship, openness and trust, through the lens of sitcom. We’re incredibly proud of it and of everyone involved.”
Cohen is the latest transgender star to come out as transgender.
In December, X-Men and Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy Elliot Page — formerly known as Ellen Page — announced that she is transgender. Last month, the actor updated the public on her transgender status via a photo on Instagram, which revealed she had undergone top surgery.
As the transgender agenda begins to take center stage in the entertainment industry, other celebrities have announced that they are changing their pronouns to “they” and “them,” as well as coming out as pansexual — a trend sweeping the entertainment industry.
In March, singer and actress Demi Lovato came out as pansexual, and then a few months later, announced she is officially non-binary, and will be using the pronouns they and them to refer to herself from now on.
On Wednesday, fashion model and actress Lio Tipton — who previously went by Analeigh Tipton — came out as queer and gender non-binary, adding that she is also pansexual, and will be going by the pronouns, they and them.
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.
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