Jordan Gonzalez reveals the 'heartbreaking' inspiration behind Ash's transgender speech on 'PLL'

Jordan Gonzalez Pretty Little Liars Summer School Pride
Jordan Gonzalez Pretty Little Liars Summer School Pride

It may be fiction, but the Pretty Little Liars are addressing issues that are all too real.

The second season of the popular reboot, titled Summer School, has everything PLL stans know and love from the hit franchise.

Drama, murder, lying of course... but episode six really hits home for those in the LGBTQ+ community as the story features an emotional coming out, a Pride pool party, and a powerful speech on transgender rights.

The moving episode features Jordan Gonzalez's character Ash, who identifies as a transgender man, as he takes a stand against the homophobic and transphobic religious group Hell House.

"You fight so hard to have our stories told in an authentic way. [The] speech that Ash gives, in a climate that we're living in now where anti-trans legislation is at an all-time high, was super meaningful to me as a person," Gonzalez tells PRIDE.

As a transmasculine person, Gonzalez found immense comfort with Ash's story and even found it quite therapeutic to bring trans representation to such a large platform.

"It's healing for me in my own journey, which is an interesting thing that I never thought would happen in my career. There was no transmasculine representation. I think we make up five percent of the media. To play this character comes with a lot of responsibility that I'm aware of."

During his pivotal moment of standing up for the LGBTQ+ community, Ash delivers a very commanding speech that addresses many of the issues transgender people face today.

While preparing for filming, Gonzalez did plenty of research on the hateful rhetoric being spread all around the world.

"When he finally gets his moment to stand up and fight for what's right, I went through a whole dive of real-life anti-trans speeches. I did truly immerse myself in everything that's going on. It was heartbreaking and it was hard, but it's going to help a lot of people."

The actor is paving the way for more queer people to feel seen on television, which is so vital with everything that's at stake for the LGBTQ+ community this year.

"I don't really know how I got here, but it's truly an honor. I hope that more trans people are in the writers' room [with] more stories being told by us for us. We are swinging in the right direction and I just hope that keeps moving forward."

Although this season of PLL includes plenty of heart-wrenching moments, the Pride episode showcases an epic pool party that's filled with queer joy and reminds everyone that loves always wins.

"It was incredible. Once we were finished, we literally danced in celebration and it was earned! This show is filled with trauma and I'm really happy this episode is a celebration at the end. We're all just trying to live and be happy like everyone else."

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School is streaming now on Max.

Jordan Gonzalez Opens Up on Ash's Powerful Speech on 'Pretty Little Liars: Summer School'