Transgender activists have long decried the lack of opportunities for transgender actors in the film and television industries. Most trans roles, they say, are played by cis-gender actors. Though many in the trans community were pleased when Maya Avant, a character on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” was recently outed as trans, there was a collective sigh when Karla Mosley, the actor who plays Maya, acknowledged she was a cis-gender woman.
But, transgender viewers of “B&B” got their wish. The long-running soap opera has just cast actor Scott Turner Schofield as Nick, an old friend and mentor to Maya. Nick is a transgender man — so is Schofield.
“Nick is a good friend who shows up after not having heard from Maya for a while,” Schofield explained to PGN. “He helps her see the truth about herself.”
Schofield, who is currently airing on “B&B,” revealed that his character is recurring, and that he is not under contract.
“I hope there are enough episodes for people to see who Nick really is,” he said. “That would really be something.”
He would like Nick to be a fully developed character, complete with the shades of gray that make us all human.
“Every trans person is a hero, but we are not perfect,” he said. “What are Nick’s issues? What makes him tick?”
The actor hopes that Nick and Maya will open viewers’ hearts toward the transgender community, noting the soap is broadcast around the world, including in places like the ultra-conservative Middle East.
“Violence against trans people is part of daily life,” he said. “To get a dream acting job where they talk about trans lives so correctly, well, I couldn’t be more thrilled. The storyline is causing viewers to think.”
Schofield said he began his own coming-out experience at a young age.
“I knew I was a boy when I was 3,” he recalled. “When I was 11, my best friend said that they didn’t know what was going to happen to me if I didn’t stop doing boy things.”
It wasn’t until he met a trans man when he was in his 20s that Turner found community. His family, he said, is supportive.
“Once my family realized that I was showing my true authenticity, once they realized that I haven’t changed, they were fine,” he said.
He said he hopes the visibility he and other trans celebrities are achieving will improve the lives of trans people everywhere.
In addition to the escalating violence being perpetrated against trans women of color, transgender people face unemployment levels that are higher than 50 percent.
Schofield is, in fact, the first transgender actor to be cast in a major role on daytime television.
“It’s ridiculous that in 2015 I’m the first,” he said. “Give us a job.”
“The Bold and the Beautiful” airs weekdays on CBS and weeknights on Pop TV.