‘13 Reasons Why’ star Tommy Dorfman is engaged and in love: ‘It’s very affirming’
Congratulations are in order for “13 Reasons Why” star Tommy Dorfman, who revealed Monday that she is engaged.
On the latest episode of Rachel Bilson’s “Broad Ideas” podcast, the actors discussed Dorfman’s childhood, family relationships, dating experiences and gender transition a year after the “Jane the Virgin” alum reintroduced herself as a transgender woman.
“There are people who fetishize trans women ... so then that’s another thing to be cognizant of,” Dorfman told Bilson and co-host Olivia Allen.
“I’ve been fortunate to not have that experience ... so much because I was so insular and private during my transition that I wasn’t out in the world. And then I fell in love with someone who doesn’t fetishize me in that way.”
In a new Time profile, ’13 Reasons Why’ actor Tommy Dorfman reintroduces herself as a trans woman after a year of documenting her transition on Instagram.
The “Sharp Stick” actor also shared that — before she started seeing her current partner — she hadn’t been romantically involved with a woman in “a very long time.” Initially, Dorfman worried that her female friends would feel threatened by her transitioning and coming out as a lesbian or bisexual — that they might never trust her again. It turns out “those were the people who cared the least.”
“It’s just great,” Dorfman said of her relationship with her fiancée. “It’s very affirming. It’s very safe — also not safe, and being in love is so scary and so uncomfortable and so painful ... all the universal feelings of being in love.”
Another way Dorfman said her fiancée supports her is by helping her administer estrogen shots — a process she wasn’t familiar with before transitioning. Dorfman was previously married to Peter Zurkuhlen from 2016 to 2021.
In the month after the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” started streaming, the suicide rate for youths 10 to 17 increased by nearly a third, according to a newly released study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
“She knew how, so she did it for me the first time,” Dorfman said. “Then she was out of town, and we FaceTimed, and she walked me through it.”
To date, Dorfman’s most prominent role has been that of Ryan Shaver, a male high-school student in Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why,” which ran from 2017 to 2020. If not for her professional commitment to that show, Dorfman said, she “would’ve started transitioning a lot sooner.”
“Because my work being so tied to my body and like face and like identity, and whatever I’d been identified as, it delayed some of my growth and maturation in my mid-20s,” she said. “I made decisions that were just not aligned with how I really was or what I wanted — but out of fear.”
Season 4 of Netflix’s ’13 Reasons Why’ features high school students protesting for the removal of school resource officers after a Latino student is assaulted.
“I kind of got stuck in time for a minute ... I had to kind of compartmentalize those things and put them away,” she added. “When it came to anything around dysphoria or gender or stuff that had already been really present, I was like, ‘Nope, that’s not for now, I’m working.’”
After living publicly as a trans woman for more than a year, Dorfman mused that she doesn’t view transition as “a destination” so much as “an evolution of self.”
“We’re all evolving,” she said. “We’re all transitioning in a myriad of ways. We’re getting married. We’re getting divorced. People are dying. We rupture and fracture our lives across the board through different experiences.”
It's a date
Get our L.A. Goes Out newsletter, with the week's best events, to help you explore and experience our city.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.