‘Queen Sugar’s’ Brian Michael Comes Out As Transgender
Ben Esner

Queen Sugar actor Brian Michael has come out as transgender.

Michael appeared in “Caroling Dusk,” episode five of the show’s second season, as an officer who has a run-in with Ralph Angel.

Speaking to GLAAD, Michael said he was “so moved and honored” to land the role. “There aren’t many acting roles about trans people, let alone trans men in TV and films. And I’ve found that often when things are written by people outside of the trans experience, they tend to focus on these common tropes: the painful disclosure, or the physical aspects of transition itself. The characters tend to be pre-transition or early in transition, and the storylines they are involved in are mainly focused on their transition and them seeking other people’s acceptance or their non-trans love interest or family members’ reaction.

“There is so much more to trans people’s experiences than those moments.I’m incredibly grateful to the writers on Queen Sugar and Ava DuVernay who took this approach and crafted this scene with such authenticity. I loved that this scene was about gratitude and friendship, and that Toine being trans was just a part of their story, and not the focus. Instead, support and understanding was the focus of the scene!” 

Next up for Michael is a role in the third and final season of Amazon’s Red Oaks. The actor, who has also had cisgender roles, hopes to continue to get those as well as trans roles.

“I want to continue to take on any roles that resonate with me and that allow me to challenge myself as an artist and impact audiences,” he told Logo’s New Now Next, “I’m happy that I am working at a time when there are roles like Toine being written. At a time when writers, producers have been open to the input of trans artists and advocates and are holding space for full and authentic trans narratives—and reaching out for trans actors for these parts.”