UPDATE (9/27/16, 6:23 p.m. ET): Director Ryan Case has made her Instagram photo with Jackson Millarker private.
After the first presidential debate Monday night (September 27), we could probably all do with some much-needed happiness. So here’s some good news: In the name of progress, the first-ever openly transgender child actor — 8-year-old Jackson Millarker — will appear on an upcoming Modern Family episode as Lily’s new friend, Tom, per NewNowNext.
This is a groundbreaking moment for TV because while kid actors have played transgender characters before — such as Bridger Zadina’s role as Hailey on that heartbreaking Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode — none of them have actually been transgender.
In the episode set to air this Wednesday (September 28), Lily’s parents, Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet), learn Lily insulted Tom during a play-date and have to teach her about accepting everyone for who they are.
Episode director Ryan Case shared a pic of herself with Millarker on Instagram (which has since been made private), introducing the young actor with a sweet message: “This is Jackson Millarker. He’s 8 years old, from Atlanta, and just happens to be transgender. He plays Lily’s friend Tom in this week’s Modern Family and he’s wonderful. One of the many reasons I love being a part of this show. ❤️🎬💯”
Ferguson also shared an adorable pic with Millarker and Stonestreet. "LOVED working with this kid! Jackson is a super awesome transgender kid who is so excited to make his TV debut," he captioned.