Modern Family has cast an openly transgender child actor for the first time. An upcoming episode of the ABC comedy will feature eight-year-old actor Jackson Millarker. According to Deadline, Millarker will appear in Wednesday’s episode of Modern Family, playing the role of Lily’s school friend, with the move to cast a transgender actor to play the role being heralded as a landmark move by the creators of Modern Family.
The show already features Lily, played by Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, an only-child of same-sex couple Cam, played by Eric Stonestreet and Mitchell, played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson. However, this particular episode of Modern Family, titled “A Stereotypical Day” will also feature transgender child actor Jackson Millarker. The eight-year-old actor will guest star as Lily’s school friend, with Cam and Mitch pleased to see Lily making such a friend. However, they quickly find Lily is insulting her new friend and set out to teach her right from wrong.
Modern Family premiered in 2009 with same-sex couple Mitch and Cam arriving back from Vietnam having adopted Lily. With that in mind, the show has consistently received widespread acclaim for breaking down barriers in terms of what’s typically seen in a sitcom. Wednesday’s episode of Modern Family looks set to take that one step further by introducing a transgender child actor into the show.
According to BBC Newsbeat, the news that Modern Family had cast its first transgender child actor was confirmed by the show’s director Ryan Case, who said he was “super proud” of the episode. Actor Jesse Tyler Fergus also expressed a great deal of pride in Modern Family‘s decision to cast Millarker. Similarly parents of transgender children have taken to social media to thank Modern Family for openly introducing a transgender child actor. In all, the decision taken by the show’s producers to cast Jackson Millarker appears to have paid off.
ABC later provided the synopsis for the episode, saying “Cam and Mitchell have always felt they were the most open, non-judgmental and supportive parents. However, when they overhear Lily insulting her new friend, they have to take a quick look in the mirror before they teach her a lesson about acceptance.”
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The eighth season of Modern Family premiered on ABC last week. However, its ratings are believed to be lower than previous season premieres, following claims that Modern Family is losing its edge following Season 7. That being said, there’s still been a considerable amount of excitement around the new season of the sitcom.
Over the course of its lifespan, Modern Family has managed to pick-up a total of 22 Emmy awards. However, it’s left the awards empty handed for the past couple of years. In 2016, the show received a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series, and actor Ty Burrel for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series. Whilst it didn’t manage to pick up either of the awards it was nominated for, Modern Family still holds some of the highest paid actors on TV, with Sofia Vergara recently topping Forbes’ TV actress rich list.
The world of television has slowly begun introducing transgender actors. Orange Is the New Black received widespread acclaim for casting Laverne Cox in a main role, with shows like Nashville following suit. However, Modern Family will be the first show to introduce a child transgender actor when eight-year-old Jackson Millarker guest stars in Wednesday’s episode.
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