September 27, 2016 11:31 am

‘Modern Family’ featuring TV’s first transgender child actor, Jackson Millarker

The 'Modern Family' cast pose in the press room during the 66th Emmy Awards on August 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

This Wednesday’s Modern Family features a first for the show, and for TV as a whole: an 8-year-old openly transgender child actor, Jackson Millarker, will be making his debut.

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In the upcoming episode — entitled A Stereotypical Day — parents Cameron “Cam” (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) allow their daughter Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) to have her transgender friend Tom (Millarker) over for a play-date. Both parents are filled with pride that they’ve done well, raising an accepting and open-minded child. That pride quickly diminishes when Lily insults her friend, which they use as a teachable moment about acceptance.

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Ryan Case, who directed the episode, posted this photo of Millarker on set. “This is Jackson Millarker. He’s an 8 year old, from Atlanta, and just happens to be transgender. He plays Lily’s friend Tom in this week’s Modern Family and he’s wonderful. One of the many reasons I love being a part of this show.”


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The show has previously drawn praise for its portrayal of same-sex relationships, becoming a critical and popular hit for ABC with an average audience of 9.8 million for its last season.

Modern Family has had 77 Emmy nominations and taken home 22 of the awards. The ABC sitcom is tied with Frasier for the most wins in the Outstanding Comedy Series category. The show premiered in September 2009 and is currently in its eighth season.

Other shows have included transgender characters played by transgender actors, including Orange Is The New Black and Nashvillebut not of these were roles for trans child actors.

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The call for more trans-visibility in the entertainment industry was brought forward by Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor in his Emmy acceptance speech for best actor.

“I would not be unhappy were I the last cisgender male to play a female transgender on television,” he said. “We have work to do.”

A Stereotypical Day will air on Wednesday Sept. 28 on ABC.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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