LOS ANGELES: Actor Josie Totah, 17, who has featured in various films and shows like "Glee", "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and the comedy show "Champions", has come out as a transgender.
In an open letter to Times Magazine, Totah confessed about her gender identity and said she was "shoved into a box" on gender and sexuality during her child acting career and now feels free to speak her truth.
She wrote: "When I was on the show 'Glee', I'd stand back and watch Lea Michele. She was fabulous. And it was fun to see her and the other girls wear dresses and put on lavish musical numbers. But it was also hard, because I wanted that to be me.
"My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah."
Totah "always knew on some level that (she) was female" and asked to wear dresses as soon as she could speak full sentences.
But it was after she saw the documentary series "I Am Jazz", about transgender activist Jazz Jennings, that she decided to pursue hormone replacement therapy.
Sharing the challenges she had to face regarding her gender identity, Totah wrote that reporters asked her how it felt to be a "young gay man" and LGBTQ+ rights organisations would introduce her that way when presenting her with awards.
"I almost felt like I owed it to everybody to be that gay boy. 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," the actor added.
Appreciating the actor's courage to speak the truth publicly, Totah's co-star Mindy Kaling took to Twitter and wrote: "I love you, Josie. I'm so glad you're able to speak your truth and live as your authentic self."