Former Disney actor comes out as transgender woman

Mindy Kaling and Josie Totah on "Champions." Totah asked that photos of her for stories about her coming out use production photos rather than focusing on her looks currently.

Mindy Kaling and Josie Totah on "Champions." Totah asked that photos of her for stories about her coming out use production photos rather than focusing on her looks currently. NBC promotional photo

Josie Totah, who previously acted in multiple television shows under the name J.J. Totah, is coming out as a transgender woman. Totah, who typically played gay teen or pre-teen boys roles, says she felt “like I let myself be shoved into a box” and now she’s coming out.

“In the past, I’ve halfway corrected people by telling them I identify as LGBTQ. I wasn’t ready to be more specific,” Torah wrote in an article for Time. “I was afraid I wouldn’t be accepted, that I would be embarrassed, that the fans who knew me from the time when I acted in a Disney show would be confused.”

“But I realized over the past few years that hiding my true self is not healthy. I know now, more than ever, that I’m finally ready to take this step toward becoming myself. I’m ready to be free.

“My pronouns are sheher and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah.”

Totah began her career as a child actor on the Disney Channel show Jessie. She appeared in four episodes of Glee as the youngest member of the New Directions and had a starring role in Mindy Kaling’s short-lived comedy Champions.

“This week, I’m going off to college,” Totah writes. “I’m also going to continue my acting career, and I am so excited to do both things as myself. I plan to play roles I haven’t had the opportunity to play. And I can only imagine how much more fun it’s going to be to play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy.”

“I’m going to gun for those roles, be it a transgender female or a cisgender female. Because it’s a clean slate — and a new world.”

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