"Society as a whole has viewed transgendered people as not normal for so long," Clayton tells PEOPLE, adding, There's definitely a shift that's happening"
Now more than ever, entertainment’s spotlight is on the transgender community.
Milestones are reached regularly, whether via a history-making Emmy nomination for Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox, a new reality series for trans teen Jazz Jennings or Bruce Jenner‘s groundbreaking April 24 20/20 interview, in which the former Olympian told the world he is transitioning from male to female.
From transgender actress Jamie Clayton’s perspective, all of this is very good news.
“Society as a whole has viewed transgendered people as not-normal for so long,” Clayton said during a roundtable conversation at Netflix’s “Stream into Summer” press day in Los Angeles on Thursday.
More recently, though, “The shift is going towards people understanding, ‘Oh my God, we are all human beings, and there is no normal.’ “
She continued, “Whether it’s a trend, whether people think it’s cool … if it gets trans people a little bit more attention in a positive way, then I’m all for it.”
Next set to star in Netflix’s new series Sense8 this June, Clayton previously traveled the country with Cox and Nina Poon in 2010 on VH1’s GLAAD Media Award-nominated makeover series TRANSform Me.
And with the premiere of her new series – created by transgender filmmaker Lana Wachowski and her brother Andy – just months away, Clayton said she feels “incredibly blessed that I’m on a show playing a trans character that has been written by a trans woman.”
“My hope is the audience, as they’re watching with all the characters, that they just sort of forget the color of their skin and who they’re going to bed with and all of those things and just say, ‘Wow, these people, they’re helping each other, and they have these struggles that I’ve been through,’ or, ‘I know someone that has been through that,’ and that they can relate to that in a certain way.”
Sense8 premieres June 5 on Netflix.
• Reporting by MARIAH HAAS