J. J. Totah appeared as a transgender.
In a personal essay, published on Monday Time the 17-year-old Totah, who starred Michael Patel in Mindy Kaling's comedy Champions "revealed that I identify as a female, especially a transgender Woman "and also announced her new name: Josie.
Totah, a former Disney actress, told her during her childhood, "People would just assume that I'm gay," and when she entered the entertainment industry, "people always took on my identity."
"Numerous reporters have asked me in interviews what it feels like to be a young gay man, and I was even introduced in this way before receiving an award from an LGBTQ + legal body, which I understand did not know any better, "Totah wrote. "I almost felt that I owe it to anyone to be this gay boy, but that was never the way I think about myself."
So far, Totah has not corrected people's assumptions: "Me I was scared that I would not accept that I was ashamed that the fans knew I was confused from the time I played on a Disney show. "
Now, Totah has decided to be open-minded after realizing that "my true self has not been healthy in recent years."
They are they they and their . I identify as a female, especially a transgender woman. And my name is Josie Totah, "Totah said.
While Totah shares that she" always knew I was a female "from adolescence," that crystallized about three years ago when I was 1
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Totah explained, "When I learned more about hormone replacement therapy, I knew that was what I had to do. I looked at her in the middle of the show and said, "That's me, I'm transgender, and I have to go through it."
Her mother was immensely helpful, and Totah met doctors quickly and was put on a hormone blocker. "From that point on, I ran on the ground."
"Like many Trans people, I developed serious anxiety when I hid in. In some ways, I felt like I was lying, making people believe I was this gay boy," wrote Totah, who admitted To hide girl clothes under sweat. But "as soon as I came across the hormone blocker, which basically stopped my testosterone, that part changed, I did not wake up every day and panic." Is there hair on my face? Will my voice get deeper?
Now that Totah identifies herself openly as Josie, she said, "It feels like you see me. "
" I came to the belief that God made me a transgender. I do not feel like I've been put in the wrong body, "she wrote," I do not feel like a mistake was made. I believe that I am a transgender, helping people to understand differences. It allows me to get a perspective, to be more accepted by others, because I know what it feels like to know that you are not like everyone else. "
Kaling, 39, shared her support for Totah in a tweet, wrote," I love you, Josie. I'm so glad you can tell your truth and live as your authentic self. You're also damn talented – I can not wait to write for you again!
Earlier this year, Totah, who grew up this week in a small town in Northern California and attends college, told PEOPLE of her "stuck like a sore thumb" during her childhood.
"There was not much diversity in all genres, be it race or ethnicity or the LGBTQ community. I definitely stuck like a sore thumb. I came to the conclusion that I should have been so young when no one would be like me. If I can not be like any other, then I could just own who I am, "she said.
She added," I somehow felt compelled because I was so different, I just had to stay there , In a way, that helped me to stay true to myself and to honor myself. I was literally so different that I could not hide or be shy. At such a young age, I just stuck with it. "