Ann Arbor, MI

Ann Arbor native helps raise visibility for trans community

Author Ed Anderson

Paul Rudd may have been named the "sexiest man alive" by People magazine, but another actor is making headlines and history for the magazine. Brian Michael Smith is the first trans man that has been named one of the sexy men to watch. They captioned his picture with, "And we will definitely not have a hard time keeping an eye on him."

The 9-1-1: Lone Star actor is thrilled to be the first trans man to be honored with the title. He said he was delighted with the title and breaking new ground for the trans community in an Instagram post.

"I've been called many things, this is a first...Incredibly honored to be included in this list with so many actors I admire. Big love to [People] for the historic shout-out."

Finding Himself

It's been a long road for the actor. He grew up in a very traditional house with strict parents. Whenever he saw anything concerning the LGBTQIA+ community, the message was negative and

"I grew up in a very Southern Baptist traditional household and a very heteronormative space, so when I did start to hear even just the word 'gay' it was in the negative connotation that kids use in middle school,"

Smith revealed that there was some worry that trans men did not exist because they were not represented in the media at all. And even the trans women he saw were always shown in the most negative light possible.

Then one day, he saw an interview with writer and trans activist Jamison Green. Smith says that was a life-changing event for him. For the first time, he saw himself reflected in the media.

"When I saw that transmen existed, I knew exactly who I was. It was this very beautiful, eye-opening, tears-with-joy moment when I realized that there's a future for me."

Smith has since become the person whom others look up to now. After coming out as trans in 2017, many fans rallied to him. They spoke about how important visibility is and how he is now the lifeline for people struggling to come out as trans.

Being named as one of People's sexiest men will only help with that.

Costar Speaks

Smith's 9-1-1: Lonestar costar and fellow sexiest man, Ronen Rubinstein, continued the praise. He was thrilled for his friend and said that this would be good for the show's fans and the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole.

"We sort of made history the other day! Brian Michael Smith was added to the Top 25 Sexiest Men on Television. I was there as well, but it's just really, really amazing that Brian is on that list. First trans man ever to be recognized for that honor. And it's because of shows like Lone Star that he gets that kind of recognition."

Rubinstein, who is an out bi man, was also named as one of the sexiest men. He is also part of one of the most visible queer couples on broadcast TV, something that he is exceptionally proud of and believes it is the work of the fans.

Lil Nas X joins Rubinstein and Smith on People's list of sexy men. The rapper and provocateur has had a very prolific year. His first album, Montero, debuted at the top of the Billboard charts. Along with that accomplishment, 11 of the songs from the album charted on Billboard Hot 100 chart.

For his part, Smith wants this to be a turning point for trans actors and representation as a whole. "People assume that trans people will only be accepted as trans characters, or that there aren't enough trans writers, or that there aren't any trans producers or directors, there's that attitude."

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Ed Anderson is a true crime and gossip writer from Detroit, Michigan. Ed is the author of several true crime books, most recently Cold Cases From Around The World.

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