Josie Totah: 5 Facts About ‘Glee’ Star Who Revealed She’s Transgender In Powerful Essay

Actress Josie Totah penned a remarkable essay for 'Time' that revealed that the 17-year-old is transgender. Read her essay about transitioning, and learn more about her here!

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Mindy Kaling & Josie Totah
Image Credit: Courtesy of NBC

Josie Totah is not afraid. The star of shows like Champions and Glee just wrote a powerful piece for Time Magazine in which she reveals that she’s a transgender young woman. The 17-year-old said that she was wary of coming out as trans, but is now “ready to be free.” Learn more about her journey, and her life:

1. At first, Josie identified as LGBTQ, not transgender. “In the past, I’ve halfway corrected people by telling them I identify as LGBTQ,” she wrote in her Time essay. “I wasn’t ready to be more specific. 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. So, listen up y’all: You can jump on or jump off. Either way this is where I’m heading.”

2. She wants to finally play female roles. Josie is starting college this week, after her NBC show Champions got cancelled. But she still wants to act, specifically in female roles. “I plan to play roles I haven’t had the opportunity to play,” she wrote in her essay. “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.”

3. She realized she was transgender while watching I Am Jazz.Josie said she always knew deep down that she was a girl, but it didn’t “crystalize” until she saw an episode of I Am Jazz when she was 14. “The docuseries was about another 14-year-old, Jazz Jennings, a transgender girl who was going through a medical transition. As I learned more information about hormone replacement therapy, I knew that this was what I had to do. I looked over at her in the middle of the show and said, ‘This is me. I’m transgender. And I need to go through this.’ My mother, who is immensely supportive and gracious, said, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’ Three days later I was meeting with my pediatrician, who referred me to a specialist, who put me on a hormone blocker. From that point on, I hit the ground running.”

4. She has the support and love of her costars. Mindy Kaling, the creator and writer of Champions, also the actress who played Josie’s mother, showered her with praise on Twitter after she published her essay. “I love you, Josie. I’m so glad you’re able to speak your truth and live as your authentic self. You’re also so damn talented — I can’t wait to write for you again!”

5. You may also recognize Josie from Glee. Josie played Myron, who joined the New Directions after the original crew went to college. She auditioned for Glee by singing Lady Gaga‘s “Born This Way” and “All That Jazz” from the musical Chicago. She also played Stuart on Jessie!

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