“I just didn’t want to let down the girls who are straight and tomboys that my character represented the last four seasons,’ ” Jones tells PEOPLE of her character transitioning from female to male on the FOX show’s sixth – and final – season. “But I got the script and I was, like, ‘Oh my God. This is amazing.’ ”
Coach Beiste will reveal his new look on the Feb. 13 episode of the musical dramedy (Friday at 9 p.m. ET), and PEOPLE has the exclusive first look.
At a time when members of the transgender community – including Orange Is the New Black‘s Laverne Cox, Transparent‘s Alexandra Billings, and Olympian Bruce Jenner – are more prevalent than ever Jones says she is “honored” to be trusted with portraying the first series-regular character to come out as transgender and transition on a broadcast television network.
“I had thousands of Tweets from people. I was crying,” Jones says of the reaction after her character announced his transition on the Jan. 16 episode of Glee. “Members of the transgender community were saying, ‘I never thought I d see myself on TV. You have no idea what this means to me. Now, maybe people will get it.’ ”
Jones relished the opportunity to portray a transgender person and she credits her hair and makeup team for helping her fully immerse herself into the role.
“People walk by me and I forget that I’m in [the hair and makeup to make me look like a man],” she says. “I’ll say, ‘Hey.’ And they’ll say, ‘Hi.’ And then a few second later, they’ll run back, ‘Oh my God! Dot!’ It’s awesome.”
For more on Dot-Marie Jones’s new look on Glee, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.