Yasmin Finney: ‘Young, black and queer’ representation on screen so important

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Yasmin Finney has said she feels it is “so important” that the younger generation will have representation of “young, black and queer” characters on screen which she did not have growing up.

The 18-year-old transgender activist and actress recently starred in the hit LGBTQ+ drama series Heartstopper and is also joining the Doctor Who cast to play a character called Rose.

Finney was among one of the winners of the pride icon prize at the Attitude Pride Awards which were held at the Langham Hotel in London on Thursday.

Attitude Pride Awards 2022 – London
Yasmin Finney was among one of the pride icon winners at the Attitude Pride Awards (Matt Crossick/PA)

Speaking on the red carpet for the award show, she reflected on the importance of having greater diversity on screen.

She said: “I think it’s so important to me because we’ve never really had it, especially someone who’s young, black and queer.

“It’s a really exciting time for television and I never had it growing up so I’m just really happy that the younger generation has it.”

The actress added that it had “felt really good” to portray the character of Elle Argent in Netflix’s Heartstopper who transfers to an all girls school after coming out as transgender.

She said: “I grew up never having this representation so I just feel really honoured to be able to portray Elle in such a beautiful, lovely way.”

Her upcoming Doctor Who character Rose will also be transgender and she will make her debut in scenes that are due to air in 2023 to coincide with the show’s 60th anniversary alongside Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa who is taking over the role as the Time Lord.

Queer As Folk and It’s A Sin writer Russell T Davies is also returning as the programme’s showrunner after departing from the programme in 2009.

Taking on the role, Finney said: “I feel really honoured and I’m just so happy that Russell has opened his arms to me and really he saw something in me and I’m just really proud and happy to be part of it.”

She teased that her character is “very sweet, humble and confident” and that through the show she will be “finding herself through aliens”.

The actress admitted she also has other big projects in the pipeline but that she could not reveal much more. However, she said she would love to play the first transgender superhero in the future.

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