Nickelodeon actor comes out as transgender: ‘I can’t stay silent’

Actor Michael D. Cohen, who plays the lovable genius Schwoz Schwartz in the hit Nickelodeon series “Henry Danger” said he transitioned from female to male nearly twenty years ago.

The 43-year-old actor spoke to Time about his decision to open up about his gender identity.

“I was misgendered at birth,” the Cohensaid. “I identify as male, and I am proud that I have had a transgender experience — a transgender journey.”

He had already shared the revelation with his colleagues on the set, and now he felt the need to come out publicly, worried about the current political climate in the nation.

“This crazy backlash and oppression of rights is happening right in front of me. I can’t stay silent,” Cohen says. “The level of — let’s be polite — misunderstanding around trans issues is so profound and so destructive. When you disempower one population, you disempower everybody.”

The Canadian-born actor grew up watching “The Carol Burnett Show,” and loved how television could unite people who enjoyed watching it, “regardless of whatever else is happening in that family unit.” His love turned into his life-long career, but he got his start in the business doing voice-overs and behind-the-scenes work.

“I think I loved acting so much,” he says, “that I didn’t want to do it as a woman.” He did, however, and played female roles until he transitioned in 2000.

Related: A transgender teen’s journey to transition 

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 17, hangs out with some trans friends at a park in Madrid, Spain, August 3, 2016. “My friends, both cisgender (people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth) and trans are really important to me. They helped me overcome my fears of coming out to my parents,” Diaz de Tudanca said. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 17, rides on a public bus to attend his school graduation in Madrid, Spain, June 20, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 17, shaves his face to grow more hair two months after he started taking testosterone in Madrid, Spain, February 15, 2016. “I took hormone blockers for three months and was soon started on testosterone. My period stopped right away and that made me very happy, I really disliked it,” Diaz de Tudanca said.

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

The civil registry official papers of transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 18, reflect the legal change in gender and name in Madrid, Spain, November 25, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 18, and his girlfriend Ruth relax by a pool in Madrid, Spain, July 2, 2017. “It has taken me a while to find someone I felt saw me as the person I really am. That’s how I feel with Ruth. She didn’t know much about transgender issues, but everything has felt very natural from the very beginning and we have the support of both our families,” Diaz de Tudanca said. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 18, gets kissed by his mother Mariely after getting the civil registry official papers that reflect the legal change in his gender and name in Madrid, Spain, November 25, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 17, hugs his mother Mariely as the Madrid regional Parliament approves a law to make the transition easier for trans minors in Madrid, Spain, March 17, 2016. “My mother has had a hard time with my transition, but she’s behind me a hundred percent. Things would have been so much harder if I didn’t have my parents’ support,” Diaz de Tudanca said. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Current pictures of transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 18, lie next to his former identity card as he waits to be issued with a new identity card in Madrid, Spain, January 26, 2017.

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender man Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 20, gets ready before going out at his parents’ home, where he lives, in Madrid, Spain, August 6, 2018. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 18, waits to be taken to the operating room to have his female to male chest reconstruction surgery in Madrid, Spain, October 26, 2016. “We have to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria in order to get medical treatment. My breasts always made me feel very uncomfortable, I couldn’t wait to get them removed, but I’ve always disliked the term gender dysphoria because I don’t feel like I have a mental disorder,” Diaz de Tudanca said. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender man Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 19, wakes up from a nap at his parents’ home, where he lives, in Madrid, Spain, June 29, 2018. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 18, and his girlfriend Ruth walk in a park in Madrid, Spain, May 15, 2017. “It has taken me a while to find someone I felt saw me as the person I really am. That’s how I feel with Ruth. She didn’t know much about transgender issues, but everything has felt very natural from the very beginning and we have the support of both our families,” Diaz de Tudanca said.

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

A school graduation picture of transgender man Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 20, is displayed at his parents’ home, where he lives, in Madrid, Spain, August 6, 2018. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender man Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 20, gets a tattoo of a testosterone molecule and the words ‘Self-Made Man’ at a tattoo parlour in Madrid, Spain, September 18, 2018. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 17, holds an LGBT flag during Pride Week in Madrid, Spain, July 1, 2016. “We, the young trans people, are the ones who have to continue the work to make transgender lives visible and help society understand that we are not about prostitution, neglect or abandonment. We are people with a future,” Diaz de Tudanca said. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender man Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 20, smokes as he heads to a hospital check-up in Madrid, Spain, August 6, 2018. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 18, undergoes a female to male chest reconstruction surgery in Madrid, Spain, October 26, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 16, is examined by plastic surgeon Jorge Planas as he searches for a surgeon to carry out his female to male chest reconstruction surgery in Madrid, Spain, November 23, 2015. “Once I came out as a trans boy both socially and with my family, my main objective was to get started with the hormones and go through the chest reconstruction surgery. I really disliked that part of my body,” Diaz de Tudanca said.

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 17, shows a friend a picture of himself with the sentence “I’m trans” as part of a public campaign to fight hate crimes at a metro station in Madrid, Spain, July 1, 2016. “After I did the LGBT phobia campaign some guys started writing hate comments on my Instagram account. Things like, after we finish with you, you won’t need a sex change. I reported it and we are waiting for trial,” Diaz de Tudanca said. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender young man Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 20, and his girlfriend Ruth take part in a protest to stop transgender pathologization in Madrid, Spain, October 20, 2018. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 18, sings karaoke with friends in Madrid, Spain, October 22, 2016. The lyrics on the screen say: ‘I want to be a man like you and have pleasure in the city.’ 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 18, undergoes a female to male chest reconstruction surgery in Madrid, Spain, October 26, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 18, reacts next to his mother Mariely and surgeon Jesus Lago upon seeing his chest for the first time after undergoing his female to male chest reconstruction surgery in Madrid, Spain November 2, 2016. “My life changed completely after the chest removal operation. No more binders, no more neoprene suits, no more hiding. For the first time I felt free,” Diaz de Tudanca said. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 16, displays writing on his arm at the end of a school day in Madrid, Spain, May 28, 2015. “All the barriers that we face come from the lack of information there is about what it means to be transgender. Things have improved since I came out, we have become more visible, but we still have to keep working on educating society,” Diaz de Tudanca said. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

A Spanish Civil Guard looks at transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 17, after attending the official presentation of the public campaign to fight hate crimes in which he was featured, in Madrid, Spain, May 17, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

A nurse prepares a hormone blocker for transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 16, at a health-care centre in Madrid, Spain, December 16, 2015. Diaz de Tudanca was three years old when he returned one day from school and told his mother he was a boy and he wanted to be called Oscar. No one made anything out of it until years later he came out as a transgender man, first to his inner circle of friends and then to his parents, who have been very supportive of his transition and have helped him face all the social, legal and medical challenges that have have come with his decision to be true to himself. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 16, laughs while his mother Mariely shows pictures of him as a girl at their home in Madrid, Spain, May 27, 2015. “My mother caught me binding my chest one morning and I told her I did not feel comfortable with the gender I was assigned at birth. She did not understand what I said, but she later told me that if I decided to wear a flower vase on my head, she would not understand it either, but she would accept it and join me doing the same,” Diaz de Tudanca said. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 17, waits to get in the water with members of the LGBT swimming club Halegatos in Madrid, Spain, February 8, 2016. “I couldn’t wait to go through chest surgery. I was so tired of having to use a neoprene suit every single time I went to the pool or the beach. I was so uncomfortable with my breasts, they did not feel like a part of my body,” Diaz de Tudanca said. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 16, is nervous as he lays down before getting his first testosterone shot in Madrid, Spain, December 16, 2015. “I was very excited to get started on the testosterone. I was eager for all the changes that were going to come with it, like growing more hair, the deepening of my voice, the redistribution of my body fat. But I didn’t want to make much of a mental picture of the way I could look so as not to feel disappointed afterwards,” Diaz de Tudanca said. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 16, talks to another transgender friend as they both provide information on transgender issues during Pride Week in Madrid, Spain, June 25, 2015. Diaz de Tudanca was three years old when he returned one day from school and told his mother he was a boy and he wanted to be called Oscar. No one made anything out of it until years later he came out as a transgender man, first to his inner circle of friends and then to his parents, who have been very supportive of his transition and have helped him face all the social, legal and medical challenges that have have come with his decision to be true to himself.

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 17, walks out of the men’s room at a club that segregates by gender naming the womenÕs room ‘Gatas’ (Female cats) and the men’s room ‘Gatos’ (Male cats) in Madrid, Spain, February 5, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 16, hugs his mother Mariely as they both attend a tribute for a transgender boy who committed suicide in Madrid, Spain, December 27, 2015. “I feel lucky I’ve had the support of my parents and my friends to endure all the pressure. We bottle up so many emotions for so long that sometimes we just give up,” Diaz de Tudanca said. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Transgender teenager Gabriel Diaz de Tudanca, 16, and his schoolmate Alina hang out after school in Madrid, Spain, May 20, 2015. Diaz de Tudanca was three years old when he returned one day from school and told his mother he was a boy and he wanted to be called Oscar. No one made anything out of it until years later he came out as a transgender man, first to his inner circle of friends and then to his parents, who have been very supportive of his transition and have helped him face all the social, legal and medical challenges that have have come with his decision to be true to himself. 

(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

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“In my experience, I was born male. What my body said about it was irrelevant,” Cohen says. “No matter how hard I tried, it was not up for negotiation. Believe me, it would have been so convenient if I was actually a woman.”

Chris Nowak, the showrunner for Henry Danger, told Time that nothing has changed in the set. People still see him as “Just a guy who’s real good at his job,” he told Time.

Jace Norman, who gets top billing in the show, said that the news “didn’t change anything about the high level of respect and admiration I have for the guy.” He added, “it’s in the best interest of the entire world to have every type of person represented on TV.”

Before the Canadian-born actor got his part as a regular in Nickelodeon’s most watched show, he had smaller parts in shows such as “Modern Family,” “The Mindy Project,” and “My Name is Earl.”

Article source: https://www.aol.com/article/entertainment/2019/05/25/nickelodeon-actor-comes-out-as-transgender/23734788/

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