Michael Cashman slams ‘negative’ media response to trans Eastenders character
Lord Cashman praised the BBC and applauded the soap’s “honest, open” storytelling.
Earlier today, Eastenders revealed that it would be welcoming the first transgender character to be played by a trans actor in a British soap.
The character, Kyle, will be played by 21-year-old Riley-Carter Millington.
The BBC announced that it planned to introduce a trans character into Eastenders earlier this year.
Millington commented on the casting, saying: “I am extremely excited to be joining EastEnders. I can honestly say that I have now fulfilled my two biggest dreams – to be living my life as a man and to be an actor.
“I cannot wait to really get stuck in with filming and I look forward to seeing what is in store for my character.”
Although most have welcomed the move, others have mocked the BBC’s decision – including The Yorkshire Post, who posted a piece on Twitter labelling Millington a “gender bender”.
Other unhappy viewers also took to Twitter to express their disdain – with one viewer branding the move as “disgusting”, before adding that “it will deffo [sic] put me of my dinner.”
“Awful move BBC. Not representative at all,” wrote another.
“PC Brigade ruining my favourite TV show. AGAIN.”
However, former EastEnders star turned politician Lord Michael Cashman has praised the BBC’s decision.
Speaking exclusively to PinkNews, the former MEP said that the negative backlash “should encourage the BBC that they are doing absolutely the right thing.”
“The BBC’s courage and determination in reflecting the world in which we live honestly is to be applauded,” he said.
“The negative headlines of ‘gender bender’ and the negative backlash on some aspects of social media, should encourage the BBC that they are doing absolutely the right thing to tackle homophobia and transphobia by showing the lives of people within our communities, who would otherwise be overlooked and misrepresented.”
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The star – who took part in the soap’s first ever gay on-screen kiss – went on to applaud the soaps “honest” storytelling.
“Great news about the trans-character. Great news that Eastenders is is carrying on in its honest open way in reflecting,” he said.
“The amazing people living in the amazing communities of our country.”
Speaking to PinkNews, Jamie Wareham of Student Pride – where the announcement was initially made – said: “We saw similar headlines when the news was first announced at Student Pride this year, it is gutting to see Transphobia in the media which should know better.
“It’s clear so much is still left to be done to tackle prejudice, a clear example of why the whole LGBT community should work together to fight it.”