Ian Alexander, who stars in Netflix’s The OA, has said that it was “a little hard” for his family to accept that he was transgender when he first came out.

Alexander—who plays Buck Vu in The OA—made the comments during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show yesterday, where he revealed that his family have since become much more supportive.

“I come from a religious family, so it was a little hard for them to accept at first,” Alexander said.

Ian Alexander said his family told him he was ‘too young’ to know he was transgender

“They were like, ‘you’re too young, you don’t really understand what this means.’ They didn’t really take it very well at first. But I think that being on The OA actually really helped them realise that I can be happy and I can be successful as a trans person and as a queer person.”

The 17-year-old actor continued: “Being on set for The OA was the first time I heard my mom use my correct name and pronouns, so that just made my heart soar and made me realise, they can accept this and other people can accept this and I can be fully accepted for who I am.”

“Being on The OA actually really helped them realise that I can be happy and I can be successful as a trans person and as a queer person.”

– Transgender actor Ian Alexander

Alexander also opened up about his experience of realising he had been assigned the wrong gender at birth.

He said he first started questioning his gender identity when he was 11 or 12 years old.

“It wasn’t until I was 13 when I met other trans people for the first time and I was like, ‘Wait, you’re allowed to do that? You’re allowed to change your pronouns and your name?’ That really gave me the courage to come out and finally accept who I was,” he said.

Trans actor Ian Alexander says acceptance was ‘hard’ for his family
Trans actor Ian Alexander (Kevin Winter/Getty)

Ian Alexander was cast in The OA without any prior acting experience

Elsewhere in his interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander explained how he was cast in The OA without any prior acting experience.

His role had been written as a 14-year-old Asian-American trans male. The show’s creator Brit Marling appeared on Ellen alongside Alexander and explained that they wanted somebody who matched that exact description—but casting directors said they were unlikely to find a match.

However, the team put out calls on chatrooms and social media and ended up with 400 applications from 14 and 15 year old trans Asian-American boys.

Alexander saw the casting call on Tumblr and said: “I just decided to go for it. I felt like it was fate calling out to me.”

He is currently saving up money so he can pay for healthcare to aid his transitioning process. He told Ellen that he plans to start taking testosterone next week.

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