Fuse is celebrating Pride Month by looking at a variety of rising forces who are creating Future LGBTQ History before our eyes. Today we are honoring Elliot Fletcher, whose self-acceptance has become an inspiration to transgender people around the world.
The 20-year-old was born and raised in Los Angeles, Calif. and caught positive attention across the country when he came out as transgender to his parents (who were also actors) Julia Fletcher and John DeMita in 2013. The two were graciously supportive of their son and helped him throughout his journey that was a rollercoaster of both heartwarming and dark times. Julia expressed to PEOPLE in an interview:
“Parents talk about grieving or mourning the kid that you’re losing. That happened for a couple of weeks. I had little crying jags. But then I thought, ‘Wait a second. I’m not losing my kid. He’s the same kid that he’s been all along.’ No kid turns out like parents think they will. You might want your child to be musical, and he may be good at sports. As parents, I think we have a tendency to make it all about us: what we want, what we expect. It shouldn’t be that way.”
Despite struggling with bullying and two suicide attempts (“It was hard. But it would have been worse without my family") Fletcher grew stronger and became even more publicly comfortable with his authentic self. Last February, he made his mark by becoming the first transgender character on MTV's romantic comedy series Faking It, where he plays the charming guitar player Noah in Season 3. He later went on to guest star as Aaron in Freeform's family drama series The Fosters in a recurring role and scored a guest role as Trevor in the Emmy-nominated HBO comedy-drama Shameless.
But while Fletcher has been steadily scoring roles, it hasn't been easy to fully break into Hollywood as transgender. "I don’t like to think of myself at a disadvantage because I’m trans but there is so little representation, it’s hard to find roles," he told Affinity Magazine back in December. "I’ve been very lucky with the roles I’ve played but the trans community is still being perceived as a new concept, so casting directors are scared to cast trans people in cis AND trans roles." The actor continued, "I find it upsetting that there isn’t enough accurate trans representation in media but I’m hoping that that’s starting to change now. I really hope it is."
Even before his 21st birthday, the actor is already making strides for change in traditional Hollywood roles as well as how both the industry and individuals think about transgender people. Fletcher's journey is just beginning, and while he continues to make a difference in his career and for his community he will secure a place in the future of LGBTQ history.