It was a celebratory, historic moment for transgender men and Paul Rudd fans alike last Thursday, when actor Brian Michael Smith became the first transgender man featured in People’s annual ‘Sexiest Men Alive’ issue. With success on the hit show 9-1-1 Lone Star, Smith plays a popular character — firefighter Paul Strickland. He originated the role in 2020, but even then he was no television rookie. His past TV appearances include Girls, Homeland, and The L Word: Generation Q.
On the L Word, Smith portrayed political strategist Pierce Williams. He broke ground for his performance on that show, becoming the first out trans male actor in a recurring network TV role.
As for this newest accolade from People, Smith took it in stride, stating he was incredibly honored. He celebrated with an Instagram post, writing, “I’ve been called many things,” but “this is a first.”
The timing couldn’t be more perfect as this week marks Trans Awareness Week. The entertainment industry more commonly celebrates trans female performers, however trans men don’t often receive that same visibility in media. That is what makes Smith’s recognition all the more important. Hopefully it signifies more to come.
Alex Schmider, GLAAD’s associate director of Transgender Representation, shared with Yahoolife the significance of People’s inclusion of Smith in their iconic issue,
“Trans men should be recognized alongside other men, and People’s Sexiest Man Alive issue is sending a powerful and inclusive message by including the very worthy Brian Michael Smith this year. While trans men still remain largely underrepresented in media, especially Black trans men, Smith continues to use his personal and professional platforms to drive visibility and expand representation for other trans men to see greater possibilities for their lives.”
Instinct Magazine congratulates Brian Michael Smith on his continued success in Hollywood and for being a shining example of the power we all can claim when we live authentically in our truths.