Transgender teenager Georgie Stone will make history with her debut on Aussie soap Neighbours next month.
Georgie will play Mackenzie, a student Erinsborough High School and the long-running show’s first ever transgender character.
“She’s absolutely the character I wish I had seen as a kid,” the 19-year-old told the Australian Women’s Weekly.
“I would have gone to this place of self-acceptance sooner if I had seen a happy, high-achieving trans character growing up.
“It would have made such a difference to me.
“I didn’t know the word ‘trans’. I just knew that I was a girl.”
The character will have a special connection with a member of one of Ramsay Street’s favourite families.
Georgie explained she had emailed Neighbours producers to pitch the character.
Within two hours, executive producer Jason Herbison replied, embracing the idea and inviting the teenager to an audition.
“I’d got home from school and was watching and singing along to the movie Chicago,” she recalled.
“There were high kicks around the room in celebration!”
Georgie said she had worked with the show’s writers to inform her character’s development over her two-month stint on the show.
“It’s a soap, so we knew it had to have elements of drama,” she said.
“I help them to ensure it’s truthful at the same time as dramatic by not shying away from the experiences trans people face – coming out, relationships, good allies who listen, internalised shame from bullying.”
Neighbours storyline ‘thought-provoking and important’
Georgie Stone’s episodes will begin in August. It will be only the second time a trans character will be played by a trans actress in an Australian TV drama.
She will follow in the footsteps of Carlotta, who played a trans role in 1970s soap Number 96. Trans actress Daniielle Alexis also starred as Dana Malouf in season five of Foxtel prison drama Wentworth.
When Georgie’s role was announced in March, executive producer Jason Herbison described her as an “exceptional young woman.”
“Georgie approached us last year regarding a guest role and I could see she was passionate about acting,” he said.
“She also put forward a thought-provoking and important storyline idea.
“Seeing her talent during the audition process, I knew she would be able to tell the story truthfully and authentically.
Georgie Stone named Victoria’s Young Australian of the Year
At the age of 10, Georgie Stone became the youngest Australian granted permission by the courts to take hormone blockers.
She also successfully petitioned to achieve a change in the law regarding treatment.
Georgie was named Victoria’s Young Australian of the Year for 2018 for her advocacy for other trans youth.
Last year, Neighbours featured the first legal same-sex wedding on an Australian drama.
Gay couple Aaron (played by Matt Wilson) and David (Takaya Honda) tied the knot, with comedian and marriage equality campaigner Magda Szubanski playing their celebrant, Jemima.
Earlier this year, Neighbours cast and crew marched in this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade for the first time.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.