Season 14 of Grey’s Anatomy is one of the show’s most progressive yet. You can see this best perhaps in the episode from two weeks ago, where Casey, an intern played by out trans actor Alex Blue Davis, revealed his gender identity to his co-workers. “I’m a proud trans man, Dr. Bailey,” Casey said in the episode. “I like for people to get to know me before they find out my medical history.”
Casey’s coming out felt natural and empathetic; we watched his storyline unfold throughout the episode, and this new information just felt like another aspect of his character—not some type of shock ploy, as we see too often with LGBTQ+ depictions on screen.
And Grey’s will continue its path of nuanced transgender representation with a new storyline starring Candis Cayne, the trans actress whom you might recognize from I Am Cait, Transparent, and The Magicians. She also had a recurring role on ABC’s short-lived drama, Dirty Sexy Money, where she played a trans woman.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cayne will have a multi-episode arc this season playing a transgender person, who comes to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital for a “groundbreaking” vaginoplasty surgery. Grey’s show-runners were inspired to tell this story after reading about Hayley Anthony, a trans woman who helped Jess Ting, the director of surgery at the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai, develop an innovative method for vaginoplasty procedures.
“[The surgery] revolutionizes the making of a vagina and we thought that was a really cool story and Candis is playing a character inspired by something we read,” Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff told The Hollywood Reporter.
Cayne shared some details about her Grey’s character this afternoon with Glamour: She’s an “intelligent,” “no-nonsense” doctor named Michelle Velez who interacts closely with Jesse Williams’ and Debbie Allen’s characters. Cayne has shot two episodes so far, but she couldn’t tell us if more were in store. Like Casey, one of the most important parts about Cayne’s character is that her transgender identity isn’t a capital-T “Thing”—it’s just a part of who she is.
“I think the biggest thing I want people to take away is the reaction of my colleagues [meaning the other characters] on the show and how there was never a raised eyebrow, never a cocked head,” Cayne said. “It was, ‘This is Dr. Michelle Velez,’ and that’s it. She’s just another person in society who just happens to be transgender.”
With this role, Cayne is particularly excited about expanding the scope of trans characters on TV. “A lot has changed in 10 years, and the idea that we’re still having a dialogue and the parts and the roles is becoming deeper and more complex and more advanced, it says something for our society,” she said. “Of course we have a long way to go, but Grey’s is another great show that’s taking the steps to include everyone in their show.”
Taken from GLAMOUR US. Click here to read the original.
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