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Looking for trans representation? Here are our favorite transgender characters from TV, film, games, and more!

Robyn Exton

May 30, 2023

Looking for trans representation? Here are our favorite transgender characters from TV, film, games, and more!

Welcome to a glittering celebration of trans representation across various forms of media! In a world where visibility and authenticity matter, we are thrilled to embark on a fabulous journey through the realms of TV, film, video games, comic books, and anime, where transgender people shine bright and capture our hearts.

Get ready to find your new favorite character or a fantastic series to binge-watch as we explore some of the most famous fictional trans folks that will make you say, “literally me.”

Why trans representation matters

Transgender representation is about recognizing the beautiful diversity of gender identities and ensuring everyone has a seat at the glamorous brunch table we call life. And what does it look like? Well, it means allowing our trans friends to see themselves reflected on screen and paper, to feel empowered, and to celebrate their authentic selves.

We’re talking about embracing love, acceptance, and inclusivity because who wouldn’t love to know that they have something so important in common with their favorite character?

Source: Healthline

These trans characters are canon, and we’re thrilled about it

When popular media introduces trans characters, it’s like a rainbow-colored beacon of hope. They’re showing the world that our stories matter, that we’re more than just tokens on the sidelines. Having authentic trans characters adds depth, complexity, and a whole lot of fabulousness to the narrative. 

We should raise our rainbow flags high, demand more authentic representation, and continue to create spaces where everyone can feel seen and celebrated. In the meantime, let’s talk about some characters that are canonically confirmed as transgender:

Angel, Blanca, Candy, Elektra, and Lulu — Pose (2018)

Pose is a TV series that takes us back to the vibrant ballroom culture of New York City in the late ’80s and early ’90s. It not only showcases the dazzling world of competitive ballroom dancing but also delves into the lives and struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly the experiences of trans individuals, like main characters Blanca, Elektra, Lulu, and Angel, who are played by trans actresses MJ Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Hailie Saharm, and Indya Moore, respectively.

The show takes us on an emotional journey, shedding light on the challenges faced by trans people of color during a time when acceptance and understanding were scarce.

POSE — “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” — Season 3, Episode 5 (Airs May 23) Pictured: Indya Moore as Angel, Dominique Jackson as Elektra, Hailie Sahar as Lulu, Mj Rodriguez as Blanca. CR: Eric Liebowitz/FX

Source: NPR

This is one of the very few shows with — not one — but an all-trans leading cast and characters. Pose has become a groundbreaking series that not only entertains but also educates and sparks conversations about the importance of trans representation in media. It allows trans individuals to see themselves reflected on screen, providing much-needed visibility and representation in a world that often silences their stories. The show’s impact extends beyond the screen, inspiring hope, fostering understanding, and pushing for greater queer celebration.

Elle Argent —  Heartstopper (2022-ongoing)

Step into the vibrant world of “Heartstopper,” the captivating TV series based on Alice Oseman’s beloved graphic novel, where diversity thrives, love blossoms, and authentic representation takes center stage. Among the remarkable characters gracing the screen, one figure shines brightly and leaves an indelible impact on the trans community: the dynamic Elle Argent.

Source: Netflix

Played by Yasmin Finney, Elle’s presence in Heartstopper is a triumph for the trans community, offering a ray of hope and visibility. She embodies compassion and support, standing as a true friend to the main characters and exemplifying the power of representation.

 For trans viewers, Elle’s character becomes a beacon of empowerment, a source of validation that celebrates their unique journeys with joyous authenticity.

The series presents her journey as she switches to an all-girls school, falls in love with her best friend, and enjoys her life as a teenager in a wholesome — yet authentic way. Can’t wait to see more of her in season 2!

Theo Putnam — Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018-2020)

Theo Putnam, brilliantly played by an exceptional non-binary actor, Lachlan Watson, stands as a vibrant beacon of representation in the magical universe of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” From their very first appearance, it’s clear that Theo’s presence is both striking and influential. 

Their unique blend of courage, vulnerability, and unwavering determination resonates deeply with LGBTQIA+ audiences, sparking a profound connection that transcends the boundaries of fiction.

Source: Pinterest

Just as Theo navigates their own transition, they also delve into the extraordinary powers bestowed upon witches and warlocks. The exploration of magic becomes a metaphor for self-discovery, mirroring the profound journey that trans individuals often undertake. Theo’s determination to harness their abilities is a powerful metaphor for embracing one’s true self and tapping into hidden potential.

Loki Laufeyson — Marvel

Loki Laufeyson, known as the God of Mischief, has always been a beloved Marvel character for their cunning wit, shape-shifting abilities, and complex nature. However, it wasn’t until  2014’s Original Sin Vol 1 #2 comic that their genderfluid identity was explicitly confirmed, sending shockwaves of excitement and celebration throughout the LGBTQIA+ community. Even in Loki’s self-titled TV show, there is a file shown that says “SEX: FLUID.”

Source: Games Radar

Loki’s identity, in both the comics and Norse Mythology, perfectly reflects their shape-shifting abilities, allowing them to easily embody both masculine and feminine forms. This ability to change their physical appearance underscores the concept of gender as a social construct and serves as a potent reminder that traditional norms do not confine identity. Loki’s genderfluidity challenges the binary notions of gender, presenting a more inclusive and nuanced portrayal that resonates with a diverse audience.

“In a way, describing Loki as not genderfluid is a form of cultural appropriation. Or blasphemy, if you prefer.”

— Mats Andersson. Professional translator and descendant of Vikings.

Sophia Burset — Orange is the New Black (2013-2019)

Sophia Burset, portrayed by the iconic actress and activist Laverne Cox, emerges as a trailblazing figure within the realm of “Orange Is the New Black.” and changed the panorama for trans actors worldwide. From the moment she graces the screen, Sophia’s presence is captivating, radiating strength and authenticity. Her portrayal resonates deeply with her community, highlighting the often untold stories and challenges faced by transgender individuals.

Source: Hello Giggles

This character catalyzes change within the larger narrative. Her presence not only sheds light on the unique struggles faced by transgender individuals in the prison system but also sparks conversations about trans rights, healthcare, and societal acceptance. Through Sophia’s story, viewers are confronted with the urgency of advocating for the rights and dignity of transgender individuals in all spheres of society.

Nomi Marks — Sense 8 (2015-2018)

Nomi’s journey in “Sense8” is a powerful exploration of identity and the pursuit of justice. She’s a skilled hacker and activist, using her unique abilities to expose corruption, leaving an indelible mark on both the audience and her fellow sensates, 8 people with whom she shares a profound psychic connection all  across the globe. Through this bond, she finds acceptance, love, and unwavering support from her fellow sensates, underscoring the importance of chosen family and connection in the face of adversity.

Source: NBC News

It’s worth noting that the visionary minds behind “Sense8” are the Wachowskis, who happen to be trans sisters themselves. Lana and Lilly, through their own lived experiences, bring an authentic and nuanced perspective to the portrayal of transgender characters, including Jamie Clayton’s performance as Nomi Marks. Their creative vision and commitment to representation elevate Nomi’s character, setting a new standard for transgender inclusion in television.

Saiki Kusuo — The Disastrous Life of Saiki K

Saiki Kusuo is a fascinating protagonist in the manga and anime series “The Disastrous Life of Saiki K,” showcasing his extraordinary psychic powers and navigating the challenges of everyday high school with deadpan humor and too many eye-rolls. With his analytical mind and witty commentary, Saiki captures readers’ hearts and keeps them engaged in his remarkable adventures. However, it is through the introduction of Kuriko that Saiki’s character takes a compelling twist, challenging traditional notions of identity.

Source: Otaquest

The introduction of Kuriko challenges traditional gender norms, inviting the fans to question societal expectations and the limitations imposed by binary definitions since Saiki easily switches genders with his god-like powers, and he doesn’t see it as a big deal.

Now, the exciting part is that only in the manga Saiki mentions that he transitioned at birth and was supposed to be a girl but used his abilities as a fetus to become a boy. That’s how powerful he is! And yet- his ego-charged laidback nature brings a refreshing take to the trans experience since he only cares about what he can do, and to him, that’s the most remarkable thing about his identity.

Jules Vaugh  — Euphoria

Jules Vaughn stands at the center of “Euphoria,” a series known for its gritty portrayal of teenage life. As a transgender teenager grappling with her identity, Jules navigates the tumultuous world of love, friendships, and growing up. Her character serves as a poignant reflection of the challenges many young individuals face as they navigate the complexities of their identities.

Source: Cosmopolitan

She becomes a voice for authenticity and self-expression within the show. Her character navigates the landscape of high school with unapologetic courage, refusing to conform to societal norms or compromise her true self. Hunter Schafer’s portrayal or Jule’s encourages viewers to embrace their unique identities, fostering a sense of pride and self-acceptance. 

Every single character in this show is flawed, and even if it might be hyperbolic, the way the teenage LGBTQIA+ experience is presented is quite realistic in the sense that most of them are still learning how to manage relationships and find out who they are.

Alysia Yeoh — Batgirl

Alysia is introduced in the first issue of the 2011 Batgirl run. She is Barbara Gordon’s roommate and confidant, and their relationship highlights the importance of supportive and understanding connections. As a close friend, ally, and confidante to Batgirl, Alysia provides a safe space for emotional vulnerability and empathy. She demonstrates the transformative power of acceptance, love, and chosen family, reminding readers of supportive relationships’ profound impact on one’s journey.

Source: Distractify

She’s not a “super” in the DC Universe, but she’s definitely a hero! The character is known for being an environmental activist (not the Poison Ivy kind, don’t worry). For her fans, her happy ending as a transgender woman in a same-sex relationship holds profound importance. It affirms that happiness and fulfillment are attainable for transgender individuals and that their stories deserve to be celebrated with joy and authenticity.

“She was created as a trans character. I want to do this right; representation is important. No one wants stereotypes or tokens. We want believable characters we can care about, that we want to know more about.”

— Gail Simone. Writer and creator of Alysia Yeoh.

“She was created as a trans character. I want to do this right; representation is important. No one wants stereotypes or tokens. We want believable characters we can care about, that we want to know more about.”

Frankie Stein — Monster High

Frankie Stein stands out among their peers at Monster High as a unique creation. In the most recent iteration of the dolls and characters, it is said that they were stitched together from the parts of some of the most brilliant minds in the world, leading them to identify as non-binary. Their visually striking appearance reflects embracing one’s individuality and celebrating what makes each person different.

Source: Monster High Wiki

Frankie’s friendships at Monster High exemplify the importance of acceptance and understanding. Despite coming from different backgrounds and diverse appearances, the monster squad embraces each other for who they are. Through their relationships, Frankie teaches kids values like empathy, inclusivity, and the power of friendship in creating a supportive community.

Lev  — The Last of Us 2

Lev’s journey in “The Last of Us: Part II” is one of profound growth amidst a world torn apart by violence and despair. Born to a devout Seraphite (basically a cult follower) mother and raised in a strict community on the Seraphite island in Seattle, he questioned the traditions surrounding him from a young age. His gender dysphoria became a source of internal conflict and confusion, which he kept hidden until circumstances forced him to confront his true identity.

Source: Inverse

His journey becomes a powerful exploration of identity and the lengths one must go to embrace their true self, even in the face of rejection and danger. Lev is multi-dimensional, displaying strengths and vulnerabilities and a pessimist outlook because of his background. Through his interactions with friends and the support of his sister Yara, Lev learns to face and overcome some of his fears, showcasing his growth and ability to adapt in the face of adversity, something that we can turn into a metaphor about support systems and hope when overcoming trauma.

“[…] in the original game, there was queer representation. There was Bill and Frank. I’m glad that they’re making the LGBTQIA+ representation more explicit and more just… obviously queer. I’d love to see more of that.”

 — Ian Alexander. Voice of Lev in ‘The Last of Us II.’

Trans headcanons that are a little bit too convincing 

First of all, we should explain ourselves. Headcanons are personal interpretations or beliefs that fans create to fill in gaps or expand upon a character’s backstory, relationships, or other narrative aspects. Knowing this, we can say that trans headcanons celebrate our vibrant imaginations and embrace the possibilities.

They allow us to take our favorite characters, sprinkle them with rainbow dust, and reimagine them through a trans lens. It’s about finding that connection, that moment of “OMG, this character is just like me!” And they are super valid because they’re a way to explore your own experiences and celebrate the diversity within the LGBTQIA+ community.

Some of these theories are very popular between fandoms and other communities; some are more obscure. But either way, let’s dive in and talk about our fave headcanons!

Danny Fenton — Danny Phantom 

One of the core elements of the fan theory surrounding Danny Fenton’s transgender identity is the profound connection between his dual nature as both a human and a ghost. He undergoes a transformative experience when he gains ghost powers, and fans draw parallels between this transformation and the journey that many transgender individuals go through. 

Embracing a hidden or suppressed identity aligns with the narrative as he navigates the complexities of being a teenage superhero while grappling with his sense of self. We also have the quite literal ‘invisibility powers’ factor because when it comes to rights and rep, many trans people feel unseen.

Source: Paramount Plus

Fans who support the theory often point to subtle subtextual clues and themes within the show that could be interpreted as nods to Danny’s transgender identity. These include episodes that tackle masculinity, identity exploration, the challenges of navigating adolescence, and hints of gender dysphoria when people touch his chest or point out something about his body. We also have an episode in which his genetic clone was a girl, making people think it might suggest he was AFAB.

This headcanon holds significant meaning for many fans, and even though showrunner Butch Hartman denied the theory, fans keep holding on to a childhood hero turned into an awesome representation.

“Any sort of character who has a magical transformation is Trans culture because the duality of ‘normal’/’magical’ selves represents being in the closet. Yeah like, there’s a ‘magical’ version of you that’s incredibly powerful and also ‘who you really are’ but you have to keep it a secret from your family? That’s Trans Baby.”

— Mallika S. Long-time Danny Phantom fan.

Dipper Pines — Gravity Falls

While the show does not explicitly address Dipper’s gender identity in this manner, fans have presented compelling arguments and interpretations to support this perspective. One key aspect of the headcanon centers around him being Mabel‘s identical twin, the type that shares the same genetic material, making them both assigned female at birth.

Source: Mashable 

Fans also believe that Dipper’s journey throughout the series involves him exploring and understanding being trans, parallel to the adventures he and Mabel embark on, while actively rejecting his sister’s hyper-feminine persona because he’s 12 and his understanding of gender roles might be a little limited.

In fact, there is a specific episode titled “Dipper vs. Manliness,” in which he feels the need to prove his masculinity and become a “real man.” Evidently, some fans interpret this as a reflection of his internal conflict with gender expectations.

This theory mainly sparked conversation when Breath of the Wild came out when Link was disguised as a woman. With the saga’s history of gender-swapping their characters, like Zelda as Sheik, people began to wonder if it was only clothing or an indicator of genderfluidity.

Source: Lightgun Galaxy

Well, actually, Link’s design as a gender-neutral character was a deliberate choice by the series creator and the producer of Ocarina of Time, Shigeru Miyamoto, as he wanted players to see themselves in the hero’s shoes, regardless of their identity. This intentional ambiguity allows players to project their identities and experiences onto Link, immersing themselves fully in the game’s adventures.

This empowering sense of agency allows players to feel seen and acknowledged, enhancing their enjoyment and investment in The Legend of Zelda series.

Mulan —  Disney

One of the central themes in Mulan’s narrative is the exploration of identity. Through her experiences in the army, Mulan discovers her strength and capabilities and learns the importance of staying true to oneself. Mulan’s journey is a universal coming-of-age story as she navigates the challenges of self-acceptance, finding her place in the world, and honoring her family’s legacy while forging her own path. 

Source: Prime Video

These themes can easily be relatable from a trans perspective, and many fans speculate that Mulan is “trans-coded,” not only as transgender female-to-male but also as genderfluid, bigender, and even non-binary. And yes, her journey is canonically about female empowerment and how girls can be as strong and even stronger than men. That’s definitely not a story people wish to “erase.” But to say that her literal transition into her disguise as a male soldier is not parallel to the trans experience would be a lie.  There is no harm in folks seeing themselves in such a beloved character, but we hope to see some actual canon Disney royalty soon.

After this wild ride of fantastic AF characters, let us embrace the power of trans representation. When we see ourselves reflected in the stories we consume, we find the strength to rewrite our own narratives and live our truth unapologetically. Keep shining, keep fighting, and keep celebrating the beauty of diversity. Queer folks in media are here to stay!

Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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