‘Roseanne’ Reboot: Sara Gilbert Says Darlene’s Dress Wearing Son Is Not Transgender

Roseanne star Sara Gilbert is setting the record straight on her character Darlene’s son, Mark. After reports emerged that the character played by newcomer Ames McNamara will be seen wearing girls’ clothing on the upcoming Roseanne revival, Gilbert told Entertainment Weekly that it doesn’t mean the child will be portrayed as gay or transgender. Sara Gilbert made it clear that the Mark character, who is named after his uncle Mark (played by the late Glenn Quinn on the original Roseanne series), is simply a little boy who likes to wear clothing that is traditionally feminine.

Sara Gilbert went on to say that press reports about a child transgender character on the Roseanne reboot are not true. Sara said the Mark character is based on a few little boys in her life who like to wear clothing that is considered feminine. Of the new Roseanne character, Sara Gilbert said the following.

“He’s too young to be gay and he doesn’t identify as transgender, but he just likes wearing that kind of clothing and that’s where he is at this point in his life.”

Sara Gilbert told EW that her TV son dresses in female clothing throughout the nine-episode Roseanne revival series and that his clothing preference will be addressed. Gilbert added that Roseanne producers did a lot of research on the topic and there is “one episode that focuses on it more heavily,” but she reiterated, “This character is not transgender.”

The buzz about young Mark and his penchant for female clothing came after a casting notice for the Roseanne reboot was issued for a “gender creative” 9-year-old character last summer. Roseanne’s grandson Mark was described as a “sensitive and bright” child who “occasionally likes to wear girls’ clothes.” Fox News revealed that the casting call was issued for a “sensitive” and “effeminate” character displaying “qualities of both male and female young child traits,” a first for network TV.

Sara Gilbert explained that Roseanne producers wanted to create a character that “represents the world,” and that little Mark’s clothing preference is just a small part of his story.

“In a way, the character— that’s one element of the character that he dresses that way, ” Gilbert explained to EW.

“I don’t want to pigeonhole him and say just because he dresses this way that’s the only thing about him. He happens to dress that way but he’s an amazing, creative, brilliant kid, which you will see, and so is the kid, Ames, who plays him.”

The Roseanne reboot will feature nearly all the original cast members when it debuts on ABC later this year. New characters on the 10th season of Roseanne Barr’s hit comedy series include Mark and Harris, the children of Darlene Conner and David Healy (played by Johnny Galecki, who will return for at least one episode). The Harris character will be played by Shameless star Emma Kenney.

Roseanne returns to ABC for a nine-episode run on March 27.

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