Viewers of BBC’s thriller drama Baptiste were left stunned on Sunday evening when they discovered that the lead female character, Kim Vogel, was once a man.
And the actress that plays her, Talisa Garcia, has revealed that she too is transgender.
Speaking to The Sun, the 45-year-old actress explained that she went under gender reassignment surgery 28 years ago at aged 18.
She told the paper that one of the main reasons she got the role is because her gender is undetectable on screen, and hopes that the character will help improve societal acceptance of transgender people.
“I think guys’ reaction will be, ‘I’d still give her one.’ I’d hope blokes would look at me and say, ‘It wouldn’t bother me’.
“I’d just want them to go, ‘Here’s a woman, what’s the problem?’” she said.
She added that she’d lost out in past roles for not looking ‘transgender enough’:
“With a lot of the auditions for roles I’ve had in the past, they’ve always said to me I ‘wasn’t trans- gender enough’.
“But in Baptiste you’re not meant to know that she is. She’s not the obvious transgender person.
“With transgender characters it has always been the same — the 6ft tall builder with a wig tilted to the side. Thankfully we’ve moved on.”
She also talked to The Telegraph that she hopes her next role will be that of a mother, and believes this is the next step in normalising transgender people on screen:
“When you cast a transgender woman who happens to be a mother, people will start looking at it for what it is: normal.”
Baptiste is a spin-off of BBC hit The Missing, in which Tchéky Karyo reprises his role of detective Julien Baptiste and discovers that Vogel (Garcia) holds the key to a missing girl in Amsterdam.
Baptiste continues on BBC One Sundays at 9pm.