Daytime soaps have a long history of using the medium to tackle important real-life topics and GENERAL HOSPITAL did just that again by introducing its first transgender character with the casting of Cassandra James as Elizabeth’s old friend, Dr. Terry Randolph! “Thank you everyone for all the love and support,” the actress tweeted following the Friday cliffhanger that marked her first appearance. “I’m so excited to go on this GH journey with all of you!”
James also added the hashtag “#TransVisibility” and later tweeted further about how important it is for transgender actors to have the opportunity to play trans characters in film and television. “I’ve never spoken about this before,” she posted, “but since it’s back in the news, I’ll say this: While I feel cis actors have a certain social responsibility in this amazing time of #TransVisibility in the industry, my real issue is with the decision makers behind the scenes. It’s the directors, casting agents, writers, and producers who have to do better when it comes to allowing cis actors to play trans roles. We are talented, we are here, and we are ready to tell our own stories.
“But as a trans actress, I can tell you positive change is happening,” she concluded. I’m so thankful to [GH executive producer] Frank Valentini and everyone at GH who were committed to having a trans woman portray Terry.” (The term “cis” refers to “cisgender,” meaning a person whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. An example of this would be the cisgender actor Jared Leto playing the transgender character of Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club.)
Terry was introduced to GH as an old friend of Elizabeth Webber's and the boy with whom she had her first kiss. Franco Baldwin admitted he was a little nervous to meet one of his fiancée’s old flames, but kind of relieved to find out she was no longer competition for him. Terry opened up to them, explaining how difficult it was to understand what she was going through when she was younger and how relieved she was to finally become the person she was always meant to be. Although she admitted to being rejected by a lot of people in her life, including her family, Terry was happy when Liz assured her she still loved her. In fact, she insisted that Terry come to her and Franco’s upcoming wedding.
Working at General Hospital as a pediatric oncologist, Terry was heavily involved in the storyline surrounding Oscar's cancer. Dr. Randolph administered the experimental treatment that everyone hoped would save Oscar's life, but in the end, she had to report that the treatment did not work and all she could do was make sure the young man was as comfortable as possible until he passed away.
Terry was in attendance at Liz and Franco's belated wedding reception and when Franco was implanted with Drew's memories, tried to help her friend, Kim Nero, understand that Franco wasn't really Drew and she was just clinging to the past. She also warned Franco that Kim was heading for a breakdown and urged him to let her go.
Stay tuned to see what happens next, and for more GH news, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
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