Thanks to the inclusive musical-comedy “Glee,” the “T” in LGBT is being fully represented for the first time in broadcast television history.
When Coach Beiste, the football coach played by Dot-Marie Jones, came out as transgender in the episode “Jagged Little Tapestry,” he became the first series-regular character in primetime broadcast television to do so. And now, according to “PEOPLE” Magazine, another milestone is on its way: Beiste will also be the first to transition.The magazine has published an exclusive photo of Beiste’s new look, which will be unveiled during the show’s Feb. 13 episode. The still shows Coach Beiste dressed in a collared shirt and tie with facial hair and his long locks traded for a short cut.
“Coach Beiste is a character ‘Glee’ fans have known and loved for years, and hopefully seeing his journey toward becoming his authentic self will increase people’s understanding about the lives of transgender men,” said Nick Adams, Director of Communications and Special Projects at GLAAD.
In an emotional revelation to his player Sam Evans, Beiste revealed last month that he had struggled for his whole life because his outside didn’t match how he felt on the inside.
“This isn’t about who I want to go to bed with,” Beiste said to Sam when he came out. “It’s about who I want to go to bed as.”
The response, according to Jones, was overwhelming; she began to receive thousands of tweets.
“I was crying,” Jones told “PEOPLE.” “Members of the transgender community were saying, ‘I never thought I’d see myself on TV. You have no idea what this means to me. Now, maybe people will get it.‘ “
“Glee’s” history-making turn comes after “Orange is the New Black” and “Transparent,” series’ with transgender story arcs run by the streaming services Netflix and Amazon, made a splash at the Golden Globes, and as a rumored real-life transition appears in national headlines. Olympic gold medalist and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star Bruce Jenner is reportedly transitioning into a woman, PEOPLE reports.
The first pre-transition character to appear on broadcast television as a series regular was “All My Children’s” Zoe in 2006, according to GLAAD. In the story line, Zoe, who was a male rock star named Zarf, gains the courage to come out as a transgender woman and explore transition after she falls in love with a lesbian woman named Bianca.