Tommy Dorfman didn’t ‘come out’ as trans. ‘I’m becoming more Tommy,’ she says

A woman poses in a black cocktail dress
Tommy Dorfman is clarifying her gender after her medical transition.
(Gizelle Hernandez / Time)

For the past year or so, Tommy Dorfman’s Instagram has quietly documented the actor’s gender transition. Now she’s explaining what it all means.

Dorfman, known for playing gay poet Ryan Shaver on Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why,” reintroduced herself Thursday as a transgender woman. But don’t think of it as some big coming out.

“I view today as a reintroduction to me as a woman, having made a transition medically. Coming out is always viewed as this grand reveal, but I was never not out,” Dorfman said in a Time interview titled “Tommy Dorman Would Like to Clarify.” “Today is about clarity: I am a trans woman. My pronouns are she/her. My name is Tommy.”

Dorfman characterized her Instagram as “a diaristic time capsule... one that shows a body living in a more fluid space.” But the 29-year-old said her medical transition had sparked “discourse” about her body that started to feel “overwhelming,” so she decided to go on the record with her story with Torrey Peters, author of “Detransition, Baby.”


“I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self,” wrote “Juno” actor Elliot Page.

Dec. 1, 2020

“Some people moved houses during the pandemic. Some people changed genders,” she said with a laugh in a video accompanying the article. For years Dorfman wanted to start transitioning, she said, but it always seemed too daunting.

“For me, it really took everything going away,” she said. “Me alone in my bed, trying to imagine what my life at 60 would look like. And all I could see was a woman.”

Dorfman, who says her career is just getting started, is no longer interested in portraying male characters, like Ryan in “13 Reasons Why” or Bobby in “Jane the Virgin.”

But not everything about Dorfman is changing.

“I’m not changing my name. I’m named after my mom’s brother who passed a month after I was born, and I feel very connected to that name, to an uncle who held me as he was dying,” she said. “This is an evolution of Tommy. I’m becoming more Tommy.”