This “13 Reasons Why” star explained why he decided to be open about his sexuality, and it’s so important
Ever since it debuted on Netflix, people have been unable to stop talking about 13 Reasons Why, and now Tommy Dorfman, who plays Ryan Shaver on the show, has opened up about his sexuality, and why, like his character, he refused to censor himself.
Speaking to Teen Vogue about why he decided to take on the role of Ryan in 13 Reasons Why, Dorfman explained that he was excited to play a gay character who wasn’t undergoing the usual narrative that LGB characters do in TV shows.
“It was exciting to play a gay person in high school who’s really proud of himself and isn’t dealing with the sort of typical story line — the coming-out story — but is already out and sort of an advocate in his own way,” he explained.
Continuing, Dorfman also discussed the ongoing conversation that surrounds actors playing roles that align with their identities outside of the show, and explained that he actually found playing Ryan a super exciting opportunity.
"I had a lot of insecurities [when I was] coming into this career. You hear a lot of things. There was a period where I was like, 'I’m gonna have to be in the closet if I want to be successful.' But then I sort of made the decision right when I graduated college that that wasn't going to be my route. Even if it took longer to get work, I at least was gonna be true to myself. I'm really grateful I did because I don't think I would have the opportunity to work on this show if I was living in fear about that," he explained. "When I was in high school, there weren't a lot of out gay actors playing gay roles. I didn't see myself represented truthfully in the media. So I'm really grateful and humbled that I get to be that person for so many kids."
In fact, Dorfman says, when he was growing up he would have appreciated having a more varied depiction of gay individuals on TV, including LGBT actors, rather than the typical narratives that either focused on coming out or on tragedy.
“Nothing was about just living and breathing as a human being who happens to be gay,” he said. “Something like that would’ve been really great while I was growing up.”
While there have been some controversies surrounding 13 Reasons Why, and there continue to be ongoing discussions about the show, it’s clear that the Netflix series’ dedication to diversity has had a huge impact on people watching it, but also on the actors who starred in it, too.
And, with rumors that there could be a second season (well, there were LOADS of cliffhangers), it seems that we could be about to explore some of these characters and experiences even closer than before.