CBS' long-running soap The Bold and the Beautiful became the first daytime drama to introduce a regular transgender character this week, revealing model Maya Avant was actually a trans woman.
On yesterday's episode, Maya—who is currently dating Rick Forrester— surprised viewers by confirming that she had transitioned at a young age. The revelation was brought on by Maya's sister, Nicole, who confronted her with a birth certificate. "You're not my sister, Maya. You're not Maya at all," Nicole declared. "You're Myron, my brother."
Some fans claim they weren't shocked by the revelation, pointing to Avant's long history of having trouble with intimacy as a clue. Others are concerned about a trans character being used as a "shocking" plot twist.
Speaking with USA Today, Karla Mosley, the cisgender actress who's played the role for two years, called being able to play Maya a "gift" and "a privilege."
"My first reaction was surprise, because 10 or 20 years ago, this was not a story we would be telling—and not in a way that's truthful and not sensational," she said. "It's a real opportunity to educate our viewers here and all over the world."
B&B head writer Bradley Bell says Avant's journey is ultimately a romance:
It is about people respecting other people's differences and their uniqueness. In the end, we all want to be loved, and in order to love someone else you first have to love yourself. If you are transgender, gay, straight, it doesn't matter. It's about finding love in life. This is a love story.
CBS claims the show is the "only current show on broadcast or cable TV to include a transgender character as part of the cast," though Fox's Glee had trans characters as early as 2013, and just revealed Coach Beiste would be transitioning.
Watch Karla Mosley as Maya Avant on The Bold and the Beautiful below: