• Photo: Allyson Riggs / Hulu

Patti Harrison Makes History as First Out Trans Actor in a Disney Film

By |2021-03-10T13:18:31-05:00March 9th, 2021|National, News|

Comedian and actor Patti Harrison has made LGBTQ+ history by becoming the first transgender actor to voice a character in a Disney animated film. In the new movie “Raya and the Last Dragon,” Harrison is featured in a bit part in the beginning of the film as the Chieftess of Tail.

In addition to her role in “Raya,” Harrison previously had roles in the Hulu series “Shrill” and the HBO Max dark comedy “Search Party.” She also recently became the first trans actor to star in a film as a cisgender character. Harrison plays the pregnant Anna in “Together, Together,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year. A wide release is scheduled for April 23.

As for “Raya and the Last Dragon,” Harrison’s role isn’t the only queer thing about the movie. The film’s star, Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Raya, told Vanity Fair that she played the role with a queer sensibility and believes her character has a thing for Namaari, Raya’s female nemesis in the film, voiced by Gemma Chan.

“I think if you’re a person watching this movie and you see representation in a way that feels really real and authentic to you, then it is real and authentic,” Tran told Vanity Fair. “I think it might get me in trouble for saying that, but whatever.”

“Raya and the Last Dragon,” starring Tran, Awkwafina and Gemma Chan, is available on Disney+ with premiere access for $29.99. 

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.