Trans actors are continuing to break new ground in Hollywood.
Last month it was revealed that Pose actress Angelica Ross had made history, signing on to star in American Horror Story: 1984 and becoming the first trans woman to be featured as a series regular on two different TV shows.
Now, actor Brian Michael Smith has become the first Black trans man to score a lead role on a US TV series, landing a slot in Ryan Murphy's 911 spin-off, 911: Lone Star. Smith joins a stellar cast for the show, which is set in Texas and revolves around a number of first responders including Rob Lowe, Liv Tyler, Jim Parrack, Sierra McClain and Ronen Rubinstein.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Smith will play a “transgender male firefighter with a gift for observation worthy of Sherlock Holmes.”
LGBTIQ+ organisation GLAAD described Smith's new role as "a truly groundbreaking step forward for transgender visibility and representation.”
“Trans men, especially Black trans men, have been largely underrepresented on television,” Alex Schmider, Associate Director of Transgender Representation at GLAAD, said in a statement, "making this casting and character significant not only to the entertainment landscape but also in furthering the public's understanding of who trans men are.”
Having previously appeared on shows including Girls and Law & Order, Smith used his role on Ava DuVernay’s critically acclaimed show Queen Sugar as a vehicle to come out as trans.
Describing the experience, Smith told NBC: "When I first started to act, I needed to figure out how I could get good at it. I’d been doing it since I was younger, and was out there and performing, but I really wasn’t having the real experiences, so I was trying to figure out what would it take for me to do that."
He continued: "I was leaning into the parts that were comfortable for me: roles around moving from one town to another or dating and things like that. Things I was comfortable with, I was able to do. It wasn’t that there was any shame or anything like that, I just wasn’t ready to explore that in my work.
"But the more time I spent doing the acting training and doing a lot of self-investigation and through therapy, I became more comfortable with my entire self as a person."
The series is expected to premiere in early 2020.