“Modern Family” featured Jackson Millarker, the first openly transgender child actor, asWednesday night. Here’s what you need to know about the young thespian.
Millarker, 8, appeared in the episode “A Stereotypical Day,” playing Tom, a classmate of Lily’s (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) who comes over for a playdate. When Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) overhear Lily insulting Tom, they use the moment to teach her a lesson about acceptance.
For Millarker and his family, having Jackson make his network TV debut on the long-running “Modern Family” was something of a no-brainer.
“Jackson has been a young activist in our community, and he knew that ‘Modern Family’ would portray the role of a transgender child in a positive light,” Jackson’s moms, Stacey and Jen, tell People magazine. “When we explained the role to him, he was very excited about the opportunity to portray a character that is so similar to himself.”
“It was really fun,” Jackson said of his time on set. “I felt welcomed from the very beginning. In the first five minutes of meeting the cast, I was already laughing.”
As for Jackson’s career aspirations, even at 8 years old being an actor has been something of a lifelong dream.
“Since I can remember, I have enjoyed performing,” he said. “I have always performed plays at home for my family. When I was 6, my parents finally signed me up for a theater class. I joined a musical theater troupe, and I was Baloo in ‘The Jungle Book.’ I love being on stage and making people laugh and smile.”