Transgender actress, writer and producer Jen Richards is set to join the cast of CMT’s Nashville for its upcoming season 5.
“Giving an out trans woman a good role on a show like this is a risk, and they’ve been wonderful to me.” – Jen Richards
Richards was recently nominated for an Emmy for her work on her web series HerStory. According to CMT, she will play the role of Allyson Del Lago, a physical therapist who helps one of the series regulars through a difficult challenge. She will be the first transgender actress along with the first transgender character in the history of the network.
On Tuesday, Richards took to twitter regarding the news:
I’m impressed by @NashvilleCMT. Giving an out trans woman a good role on a show like this is a risk, and they’ve been wonderful to me. 💖
— Jen Richards (@SmartAssJen) September 13, 2016
In addition to her work on HerStory, Richards has appeared on E’s I Am Cait, AOL’s True Trans With Laura Jane Grace and Logo’s Beautiful As I Want to Be. She is also the co-producer of More Than T, a new docu-series and is the writer of its accompanying Trans 102 series. Richards also penned a script for the new CBS series Doubt, which stars Laverne Cox.
In addition to her work in film and television, Richards is a well-known trans activist. She was most recently outspoken about Mark Ruffalo’s casting of cisgender actor Matt Bomer as a transgender female in his new movie Anything. The news of Richards’ casting is a positive development in the ongoing problem with transgender actresses not being cast to play transgender roles.
Season 5 of Nashville will premiere on CMT Thursday, Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.