August 21, 2018 at 8:56 am PDT | by Mariah Cooper
‘Champions’ star Josie Totah comes out as transgender in moving essay

Josie Totah (Screenshot via YouTube)

Josie Totah, known for her work on “Champions” and “Glee,” came out as transgender in an essay for Time.  

The 17-year-old says that she”let myself be shoved into a box: ‘J.J. Totah, gay boy,'” when that wasn’t her true identity. Totah wrote in the essay that her new name is Josie Totah and she goes by female pronouns.

“I realized over the past few years that hiding my true self is not healthy,” she writes. “I know now, more than ever, that I’m finally ready to take this step toward becoming myself. I’m ready to be free. So, listen up y’all: You can jump on or jump off. Either way this is where I’m heading. My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah.”

She says the TLC reality show “I Am Jazz” helped her to better understand that she is female.

“This is not something that just happened,” Totah writes, “This is not a choice that I made. When I was five, long before I understood what the word gender meant, I would always tell my mother that I wished I were a girl. Since I could speak in full sentences, I was like, ‘Give me a dress!’ I always knew on some level that I was female. But it crystallized about three years ago when I was a 14-year-old watching the [TLC] show ‘I Am Jazz’ with my mother.”

Totah closed out the letter announcing that she is going to attend college but also keep acting. She says she is looking forward to pursuing transgender female or cisgender female roles.

“This week, I’m going off to college. I’m also going to continue my acting career, and I am so excited to do both things as myself. I plan to play roles I haven’t had the opportunity to play. And I can only imagine how much more fun it’s going to be to play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy. I’m going to gun for those roles, be it a transgender female or a cisgender female. Because it’s a clean slate — and a new world,” she concludes.

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