Tommy Dorfman Credits Her Family for 'Accepting' Her and Inspiring Her to Be 'Gender Creative'

The 13 Reasons Why alum reintroduced herself as a trans woman in July 2021

Tommy Dorfman attends the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Hilton Midtown on May 06, 2022 in New York City.
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Tommy Dorfman family has been a huge source of support and inspiration.

Speaking to PEOPLE exclusively at the 32nd annual GLAAD Media Awards on Friday, the 13 Reasons Why alum reflected on her upbringing, crediting her loved ones for helping her to live as her most authentic self.

"I mean, my family in so many ways," Dorfman, 29, said when asked about who has inspired her. "Just accepting me and fostering a space for me to be gender creative and fluid as a kid."

Dorfman, who is a trans woman, also examined pop culture during her youth in the late 1990s and early 2000s. While doing so, she pointed to a lack of representation onscreen.

"There really weren't very many, if any, trans women on television in the '90s, in the early 2000s — at least positive representation of that," she continued. "So I didn't have something to point towards and I felt really grateful to be working in a field that gives me a wide range of things to do and people to talk to people to speak to."

Added Dorfman, "I can hopefully be that for a small percentage of people or large."

On Mother's Day Sunday, Dorfman celebrated her mom, Cathy, on Instagram. "I love you mom," she wrote alongside a series of them in matching outfits. "Can't imagine this life without you. Thank you for showing me what it means to be a woman, independent and self-assured, righteous and forgiving, loving, kind, and resilient."

"You're my hero every day," she concluded.

The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" - Arrivals
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Dorfman reintroduced herself as a trans woman in July 2021. At the time, she told Time she had been living privately as a trans woman for years before publicly announcing her transition. Now, almost a year later, the actress is comfortable in her authenticity.

"How do I feel as my authentic self? I feel really grounded and really comfortable," she said. "I have been doing a lot of work since this version of myself and so I'm grateful to be here."

After her transition, Dorfman continued referring to herself as Tommy. She has said the name comes from her late uncle.

"I feel very connected to that name, to an uncle who held me as he was dying," she told Time. "This is an evolution of Tommy. I'm becoming more Tommy."

Dorfman added, "I love my name, I want to keep my name and give new life to my name. I'm really proud of the person that I was, too. I think that's important to acknowledge. I'm proud of who I've been for the last however many years."

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