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GA Voice - - Georgianews -

26 In­sta­gram post by the episode’s di­rec­tor, Ryan Case.

“This is Jack­son Mil­larker,” Case wrote in the post with a pic­ture of the two. “He’s 8 years old, from At­lanta, and just hap­pens to be trans­gen­der. He plays Lily’s friend Tom in this week’s Mod­ern Fam­ily and he’s won­der­ful. One of the many rea­sons I love be­ing a part of this show.”

Na­tional and in­ter­na­tional head­lines fol­lowed, with in­ter­view re­quests for the Mil­lark­ers from all over, in­clud­ing for an Oct. 7 New York Times story on young trans­gen­der ac­tors.

In the episode, mar­ried cou­ple Cam and Mitch (Ston­estreet and Fer­gu­son) al­low their daugh­ter Lilly (An­der­son-Emmons) to have her trans friend Tom—played by Jack­son— over for a play-date. Their pride in rais­ing an open-minded daugh­ter di­min­ishes when Lilly in­sults her new friend, which they use as a teach­able mo­ment. It’s a brief ap­pear­ance by Jack­son but he’s part of a sto­ry­line that is cen­tral to the episode.

“I think the way they did it was per­fect,” Jen says.

‘Elf’ and a key­note speech next

As for what’s next for Jack­son, he’ll be play­ing Fake Santa in the De­catur Com­mu­nity Play­ers’ hol­i­day pro­duc­tion of “Elf.” And he’s al­ready been named the key­note speaker of THEA’s Fam­ily Sym­po­sium next May.

There aren’t many 8-year-old key­note speak­ers out there, but there’s no rea­son for con­cern on Jack­son’s part—he just gave a speech in June in front of 400 nurses at the Ge­or­gia Con­ven­tion for School Nurses. He stood on a chair so he could reach the podium mi­cro­phone and talked about his ex­pe­ri­ences as a trans­gen­der kid in the Dekalb County school system.

“I know there’s lot of talk about which bath­room kids that are trans­gen­der should use. Peo­ple are wor­ried about what their kids will think, see or hear. But I have the in­side scoop, and it may not be what you think,” he said.

He talked about iden­ti­fy­ing as a girl in kin­der­garten be­fore iden­ti­fy­ing as a boy in sec­ond grade, and how his anx­i­ety over it dis­ap­peared be­cause of the sup­port from his fam­ily, his school and his peers.

“My hope is that you can pro­vide the same sup­port to your stu­dents. Please re­mem­ber that we are all hu­man. We must treat each other with kind­ness and love, and please con­tinue sup­port­ing your chil­dren through their jour­ney. Thank you for be­ing a part of mine.”

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