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Josie Totah Of NBC’s “Champions” Says She Is A Transgender Woman

The actor from NBC’s Champions detailed what prompted her to come out as transgender in a Time op-ed.

Last updated on August 20, 2018, at 5:47 p.m. ET

Posted on August 20, 2018, at 3:27 p.m. ET

Actor Josie Totah, formerly of NBC’s Champions and several Disney shows, has come out as transgender.


In an op-ed for Time, the 17-year-old Totah detailed her discomfort with being introduced as “J.J. Totah, gay boy,” and how she would often correct interviewers saying she is LGBTQ. But now she is ready to publicly live her truth, writing, “My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah.”

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Totah notes that she’s known she was a girl since she was 5, but her identity crystallized when she watched the TLC show I Am Jazz with her mom. “I looked over at her in the middle of the show and said, ‘This is me. I’m transgender. And I need to go through this.’ My mother, who is immensely supportive and gracious, said, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’”


Totah added that Lea Michele is one of the inspirations who helped her realize her womanhood.

“When I was on the show Glee, I’d stand back and watch Lea Michele. She was fabulous. And it was fun to see her and the other girls wear dresses and put on lavish musical numbers,” Totah wrote. “But it was also hard, because I wanted that to be me. It’s a feeling I’ve experienced in nearly every project I’ve worked on.”

Totah ended her piece by saying that she plans to continue acting after college and is excited to “play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy. I’m going to gun for those roles, be it a transgender female or a cisgender female. Because it’s a clean slate — and a new world.” For so long I’ve been trying to hide who I was. And I did it in fear. In fear that I wouldn’t be accepted or loved. I know now more than ever I’m ready to take the step to becoming myself. I am Transgender and this is my story.

Via Twitter: @jjtotah

Totah’s announcement was met with huge support from her friends in the comedy world, including Mindy Kaling...

I love you, Josie. I’m so glad you’re able to speak your truth and live as your authentic self. You’re also so damn talented - I can’t wait to write for you again! ❤️💕❤️💕❤️

Via Twitter: @mindykaling

You are awesome Josie!

Via Twitter: @JuddApatow
Via Twitter: @fortunefunny

As well as LGBT organizations like the Trevor Project. . .

"when my friends and family call me Josie, it feels like I’m being seen. It’s something everyone wants, to feel understood" 🌟 Thank you @jjtotah for being an amazing role model and for this beautiful letter of self-love! 💙💗💙

We are so proud of you Josie (@jjtotah) for living your truth as an openly transgender female. We are honored to call you a member of the HRC family. Your story will encourage other LGBTQ young people everywhere to live as their truest self. 💖💙

We love you @jjtotah! Welcome to the #PFLAG family - we embrace you as you embrace yourself! #TransIsBeautiful Your story will change hearts and minds...and lives.

And even Jazz Jennings of I Am Jazz showed her support for Totah via a statement to BuzzFeed News, saying "I am so happy for Josie."

Vivien Killilea / Getty Images

"I am so happy for Josie! My family shares our story on TLC’s I Am Jazz, so that our lives can resonate with others and inspire them to express who they are authentically," Jennings said. "Knowing that people like Josie are positively impacted by my family’s story shows that we’ve accomplished our goal of helping others, and it just warms my heart to see others being true to themselves."

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Lea Michele for comment.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.