Transgender actress Ivory Aquino has made history after being cast in the upcoming HBO Max Batgirl movie.
Aquino will portray the first ever transgender character in a live-action DC Comics film, Alysia Yeoh, the best friend of Batgirl.
Yeoh is a groundbreaking character, having been the first major trans character in a comic book at the time of her debut in 2011, Daily Beast reports.
Leslie Grace, who will star as Barbara Gordon — aka Batgirl — in the film, previously teased Aquino’s casting on her Instagram story earlier this month.
Sharing a photo of the characters crossing a street and holding hands, Grace wrote: “Barbara and Alysia 😍🦇” and tagged Aquino in the post.
HBO Max has yet to set a release date for Batgirl. The film will also star J.K. Simmons as Gotham police commissioner and Barbara’s father James Gordon, Brendan Fraser as sociopathic pyromaniac Firefly, and Michael Keaton — reprising his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman after previously portraying the character in Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns.
Aquino publicly came out as transgender in 2017 during the press tour for ABC docuseries When We Rise, about the history of LGBTQ rights advocacy between the 1970s and 2010s.
Aquino told People that she had considered quitting acting prior to When We Rise, as she “didn’t feel at the time that there were any roles” for transgender actors.
Speaking to NBC News, the Filipina-American actress said, “As soon as I was born, I was always a girl; I was just assigned differently at birth.”
“At some point in high school that desire to express that need in me was so strong that one summer I ended up plucking my eyebrows and colored my hair, and I walked into school and there was a collective gasp in the classroom in the change of appearance,” Aquino said.
She added that being transgender was “nothing to be ashamed of, in fact it’s something to be happy about.”
“I think trans kids are so great amid all of that society tells them,” Aquino said. “They are courageous enough to speak their truth.”
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