Season 14 of Grey’s Anatomy is gearing up to be one of the series' most progressive and inclusive seasons for LGBTQ characters yet.
Earlier this season, Casey, an intern played by out trans actor Alex Blue Davis, revealed his gender identity to his coworkers. "I'm a proud trans man, Dr. Bailey," Casey said in the episode. "I like for people to get to know me before they find out my medical history."
What was great about Casey’s coming out was that it felt natural. He was still the same Casey. His gender identity was a part of who he is, at the same time, his gender didn't consume his identity. Often, when it comes to transgender representation, the person’s gender identity eclipses the character. The person is boiled down to being transgender and nothing else. While undoubtedly an important part of a person’s identity, being transgender isn’t the only thing that defines an individual.
And it looks like Grey’s will actually be continuing its path with nuanced trans representation! This season will star Candis Cayne (Dirty Sexy Money, Transparent, and The Magicians) who will be starring in multiple episodes.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cayne will be playing a transgender person who comes to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital for a "groundbreaking" vaginoplasty surgery. Grey's showrunners were inspired to tell this story after reading about Hayley Anthony, a trans woman who helped Jess Ting, the director of surgery at the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai, develop an innovative method for vaginoplasty procedures.
"[The surgery] revolutionizes the making of a vagina, and we thought that was a really cool story and Candis is playing a character inspired by something we read," Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff told The Hollywood Reporter.
Cayne also shared some of the details of her Grey’s character with Glamour, telling them, she's an "intelligent," "no-nonsense" doctor named Michelle Velez who interacts closely with Jesse Williams' and Debbie Allen's characters.
"I think the biggest thing I want people to take away is the reaction of my colleagues [meaning the other characters] on the show and how there was never a raised eyebrow, never a cocked head," Cayne said. "It was, ‘This is Dr. Michelle Velez,’ and that’s it. She’s just another person in society who just happens to be transgender."
Cayne is really excited to show the diversity of transgender individuals with this role on TV.
"A lot has changed in 10 years, and the idea that we’re still having a dialogue and the parts and the roles are becoming deeper and more complex and more advanced, it says something for our society," she said. "Of course we have a long way to go, but Grey’s is another great show that’s taking the steps to include everyone in their show."