Modern Family is a show that’s never been afraid to break down barriers, in it's own gentle and comedic way - and their latest casting is no different. The series has cast an openly transgender child actor for the first time, and the episode will air in the US this week.
Eight year-old Jackson Millarker will appear on the show as Lily’s friend Tom in an episode titled “A Stereotypical Day”. Lily is, of course, the daughter of same-sex couple Cam (played by Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson).
In the episode, the two fathers allow Lily to invite Tom over for a play date, and are delighted to discover that they are raising an open-minded child. However, their pride quickly diminishes when Lily insults Tom, and the two parents use that as a teachable moment, but of course..
Ryan Case, who directed the episode, posted a picture of the young actor to Instgram, along with the caption: “This is Jackson Millarker. He’s 8 years old, from Atlanta, and just happens to be transgender. He plays Lily’s friend Tom on this week’s Modern Family and he’s wonderful. One of the many reasons I love being a part of this show.”
Modern family, which is currently in its eighth season, has had 77 Emmy nominations and taken home 22 of the awards. It’s tied with “Frasier” for most wins in the Outstanding Comedy Series category.
It's also at the forefront of more transgender actors getting roles in mainstream shows. The Hollywood Reporter says that Laverne Cox prepares to make history later this year playing the first full-time transgender character on broadcast television in new CBS show Doubt. Nashville is also set to introduce a recurring transgender actress, Jen Richards of I Am Cait fame. . Earlier this year, MTV's Faking It signed up trans actor Elliot Fletcher to recur as a trans character for what would be its third and final season.