In a July interview with NBC, actor Brian Michael Smith (who plays Toine Wilkins on OWN's Queen Sugar) came out as transgender.
"I was really working from an incomplete version of myself," he said. "I was leaning into the parts that were comfortable for me: roles around moving from one town to another or dating and things like that. Things I was comfortable with, I was able to do. It wasn’t that there was any shame or anything like that, I just wasn’t ready to explore that in my work. But the more time I spent doing the acting training and doing a lot of self-investigation and through therapy, I became more comfortable with my entire self as a person."
Continuing, Smith said:
"In my personal life I felt a little bit more complete and accepting of my entire experience, and I wanted to do the same thing in my work. There were a lot experiences I had during my transition and post transition, and I feel that I learned a lot, and I wanted to share that through my work as an artist. I felt that because of the amount of time that I’ve been training and the experiences I’ve been able to collect, I’m at a place as a performer that I could truly bring these things to work. Also, because of the work that you’ve been doing and Laverne Cox and GLAAD have been doing, there are more roles that have trans people in them that are better written and rooted in authenticity. This is definitely the time."