EastEnders casts first transgender actor to play a transgender role

EastEnders producers have cast a transgender actor to play a transgender role in a first for UK soaps. Riley Carter Millington has been cast as Kyle, a young transgender man who will first hit screens in October before becoming a regular at the end of the year.

Riley, who is the first transgender actor to play a transgender character in a UK soap, says that his two biggest dreams have now come true: "I am excited to be joining EastEnders," he says.

"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."

The 21-year-old adds: "I cannot wait to really get stuck in with filming and I look forward to seeing what is in store for my character."

The show's executive producer, Dominic Treadwell-Collins, believes EastEnders is well-known for pushing boundaries with stories including Mark Fowler contracting HIV and Colin and Barry's first gay kiss.

"It's always led the way in changing audience perceptions about 'difference'," he says, before adding that Riley was "not just a talented actor, but also an inspirational young man".

And, he says that the producers made sure they cast the right actor after being incredibly moved by the life stories of the transgender actors who auditioned.

"The people we met showed us a strength and bravery that took our breath away," he explains.

"To go through as much as they have while maintaining humour and a positive view on the world is testament to what special people we met."

It's not the first transgender character in a British soap – Hayley Cropper appeared on ITV's Coronation Street for 16 years.

EastEnders' bosses say his character, Kyle, will be "fresh and relatable" and they hope the audience will take him to their hearts quickly.

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