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Grey’s Anatomy remains committed to telling stories involving the transgender community in season 14.
E! News has confirmed that the long-running ABC medical drama has cast Candis Cayne in a multiple-episode arc to air later this season. The actress and former I Am Cait star will play a transgender patient who arrives at Grey Sloan Memorial seeking what is being described as a “groundbreaking” vaginoplasty surgery.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, who first broke news of Cayne’s casting, the character is inspired by a story of Hayley Anthony, a transgender woman who helped Jess Ting, the director of surgery at the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai, create a groundbreaking new procedure for vaginoplasty surgeries.
“[The surgery] revolutionizes the making of a vagina and we thought that was a really cool story and Candis is playing a character inspired by something we read,” showrunner Krista Vernoff told THR.
The storyline comes on the heels of the show’s midseason premiere, which saw intern Dr. Casey Parker, played by out trans actor Alex Blue Davis, disclose to Bailey (Chandra Wilson) that he was a “proud trans man” after he helped save the hospital from the hackers holding it—and the lives of several patients—hostage. By emphasizing that his trans identity wasn’t the most important part of his identity, the show presented a decided shift in the way transgender stories are usually told.
In 2007, Cayne made history when she became the first trans actress to play a recurring trans character in ABC’s short-lived Dirty Sexy Money. Aside from her two seasons in the cast of I Am Cait, she’s also appeared in Transparent, The Magicians, Heartbeat, Elementary and Nip/Tuck.
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.