Tommy Dorfman on Transitioning After “13 Reasons Why”: “It Delayed Some of My Growth”

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One year after publicly reintroducing herself to the world as a trans woman, Tommy Dorfman is reflecting on the impact her Hollywood career has had on her gender identity. The “13 Reasons Why” alum – who starred in the Netflix original series from 2017-2020 – revealed in an interview with Time in July 2021 that she’d “been privately identifying and living as a woman.” During an Aug. 15 episode of the “Broad Ideas with Rachel Bilson” podcast, she got more candid about her acting start and its influence on her transition.

“. . . it delayed some of my growth and some of my maturation in my mid-20s.”

“In those early years of working, I was just trying to understand [myself],” Dorfman said. “I think if I hadn’t booked that job [’13 Reasons Why’], I would’ve started transitioning a lot sooner. I think because my work being so tied to my body and face and identity, or whatever I had been identified as, it delayed some of my growth and some of my maturation in my mid-20s. I also think I made decisions that were just not aligned with who I really was or what I wanted, but out of fear.”

Dorfman, who divorced her husband, Peter Zurkuhlen, in February after five years of marriage, added that, reflecting now, she feels she got married in 2016 because “it felt like a safe, secure space that I could carve out for myself in a world that was ever-changing.”

Dorfman also elaborated on the timing of her transition, noting that she once felt like she was “never the right age.” “I always felt like I wasn’t in the right place, right time, always felt like I wasn’t really meant for the world I was living in,” she said. ” . . . When I started transitioning, I went, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, I’m totally meant for this body, this time, and this world, I just was wearing a sweater that was three sizes too small for 28 years.'”

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