The US soap series, All My Children, will introduce an ongoing transgender character and storyline this week.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the US lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy group, had applauded the announcement. This is said to be the first time a daytime drama – or any series on American broadcast television – will chronicle a transgender coming out story.
The storyline involves Zarf (Jeffrey Carlson), a male-to-female transgender character who has hidden behind a larger-than-life rock-star persona. Zarf initially connects with and shares her struggles with Bianca (Eden Riegel), whose life experiences in coming out as a lesbian leads to her own education, acceptance and compassion.
“All My Children has a long standing commitment to telling socially relevant stories that entertain and inform. Viewers can expect a heartfelt story between two people who share a common ground, yet learn about inherent differences and understanding. At its core, this is a story of acceptance and love,” says executive producer, Julie Hanan Carruthers.
“Telling the story of a character’s transition from male to female is groundbreaking television,” says Damon Romine, entertainment media director of GLAAD, which consulted with the daytime drama on this story. “All My Children has a track record of telling honest and important stories, and we applaud them for their commitment to sharing Zarf’s story with compassion and integrity.”
Romine notes that Showtime’s The L Word is the only other scripted series that has told the story of a transgender character’s transition; Moira (Daniela Sea) transitioned to Max last season.
All My Children celebrates its 37th anniversary on January 5, 2007. In 2000, television history was made when All My Children became the first daytime drama to incorporate a lesbian character, Bianca Montgomery (Eden Riegel) as a contract role. In 2003, another historic moment was made when the show aired daytime television’s first kiss between two women in a loving relationship.