The actor was commended by Labour MP Luke Pollard as the House of Commons debated the government’s conversion “therapy” ban

BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY NETFLIX

Ever since the release of Netflix’s adaptation of Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper, LGBTQI audiences have spoken about the importance of the show and shared how it has impacted their lives, many even finding the courage to come out to their own families. It has been praised for its authentic casting and the way in which it tackles issues that many face in our teens. Netflix recently announced that the show has been renewed for two more seasons, and so there is more in store for positive LGBTQI representation. 

In the first season, Elle Argent, portrayed by Yasmin Finney, resonated with many viewers. She’s a young trans girl navigating moving to an all-girls school. Though she has her challenges, trans joy was rooted in her arc – an onscreen rarity for sure. 

Not only was Elle Yasmin’s onscreen debut, but at just 18-years-old she’s been cast as the next Rose in Doctor Who and fans can’t wait to see what she brings to that universe in 2023.

At the recent House Of Commons debate on the government’s conversion “therapy” ban, Labour MP Luke Pollard – who is Plymouth’s first openly gay MP – praised Yasmin as he addressed the room. 

“I am so pleased with all my heart that young people in school now not only have LGBT young people in the public eye, but they can see them onscreen as well.”

“Some of you will know that I’m an unapologetic fan of Netflix’s Heartstopper and I remember being both Nick and Charlie at school.”

“But, for me, it’s Yasmin Finney who plays Elle in the show who is not only epic in her acting, but the class and visibility of her as as trans actor, and her transfer over to the Doctor Who universe, has not only inspired me, it’s inspired young trans people across the world and it has saved lives. That visibility, that legitimacy, has saved lives.”

Pollard continued to commend Alice Oseman for creating a universe where “our diversity is celebrated, not excluded” and “where people are drawn together by a broad hug, not a broad stick.” 

He asserted that we should aim for this diversity and inclusion in politics: “It is precisely because of that that I think I would like every single member in this place to know that the messages that go out to young LGBT people that, regardless of who you are, and who you love, you have the right to be loved, you have the right to be safe, and you have the right to be valued, not just by society but in the law, and that is at the heart of what we’re debating today.” 

“Let’s make sure that we say to young LGBT people, to trans and non-binary people, that they are enough, that we will listen to them, and that we value them.”

Yasmin’s castmate Joe Locke shared his support on Twitter: “You’re changing the world @Yazdemand and I am so proud of you.”

The “ban” that was being debated, does not currently include transgender, non-binary or intersex people. All people deserve to be protected against the harm of conversion “therapy” practices. I hope that Heartstopper can continue to not only save lives, but change minds as well. 

I got the chance to speak to Yasmin for DIVA’s May issue and she shared that what she loved most about getting to play Elle was that she “is such a sacred character and it’s about time we have this role. I wish I had Elle growing up.” She also commented on her hopes for the rest of the year with both activism and acting. “Me getting this role is already activism in itself. It’s a statement. I want to hold onto that and just milk it as much as I can. This is the beginning. The future is endless.”

@niccrosara

DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 
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