Nickelodeon star Michael D. Cohen, 43, revealed in a May 23 interview with TIME that his family and friends have known privately – the Canadian actor transitioned from female to male two decades ago. Cohen – who plays Schwoz in the Nickelodeon sitcom Henry Danger – told the magazine, “I was misgendered [sic] at birth. I identify as male, and I am proud that I have had a transgender experience – a transgender journey.” Here’s what we know about the TV star.
1. Cohen transitioned in 2000. The actor, who grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, told TIME that he played female roles until he transitioned socially and with medical treatment. “I think I loved acting so much that I didn’t want to do it as a woman,” he told the magazine.
2. He doesn’t like using the term “transgender” because he feels that his “core being” was always male. Cohen – who is putting on a play about his life – said, “In my experience, I was born male. What my body said about it was irrelevant. No matter how hard I tried, it was not up for negotiation.”
3. Cohen has many TV credits under his belt. The 5ft 1 actor has appeared in Modern Family, 2 Broke Girls, The Mindy Project and The Wizards of Waverly Place, to name but a few.
4. He’s also an acting teacher and a coach. Cohen holds workshops and gives private coaching to fellow performers and students. “[I] help actors transform blocks into brilliance,” he says on his Michael D. Cohen Studio website.
5. He is a huge Carol Burnett fan and considers her to be one of the “main influences in his professional life,” according to his bio. Cohen told TIME that he loves the way that TV can bring a family together “regardless of whatever else is happening in that family unit.”