Tommy Dorfman, best known for her role as Ryan Shaver in 13 Reasons Why, admitted that landing the role in the hit show put her transition on hold.

30-year-old Dorfman, who came out as non-binary in 2017 before transitioning into a woman in July 2021, explained that her life was essentially put on hold after she landed her role on the hit Netflix drama.

“I got stuck in time for a minute,” she explained on the podcast Broad Ideas with Rachel Bilson.


“I had to put a lot of stuff that I thought I was gonna work on or gonna do, personal development things. I had to compartmentalise and put them away.”

“So when it came to anything around dysphoria or gender and stuff that had already been present, I was like: ‘Nope, that’s not for now,’” She added.

Tommy Dorfman as Ryan Shaver
Tommy Dorfman as Ryan Shaver in 13 Reasons Why

Dorfman then went on to explain how playing such a high-profile role as a 24-year-old impacted her life and is still something that leaves her grappling with her own identity.

“In those early years of working, I was just trying to understand. I think if I hadn’t booked that job, I would have started transitioning a lot sooner.” 

“I think because my work was so tied to my body and face and identity or whatever I had been identified as, it delayed some of my growth and maturation in my mid-20s.” 

“And I think I also made decisions that were just not aligned with who I really was and who I really wanted but out of fear. I probably got married for the first time for safety because it felt like a safe, secure space.”

Dorfman, who identifies as a lesbian, also discussed her recent divorce from her husband of five years, Peter Zurkuhlen, before discussing how it was growing up trans.

“I love him so much, but we’ve been learning that as a trans woman, what I’m interested in is not necessarily reflected in a gay man,” Dorfman said to Vanity Fair.    

“I always felt like I was never the right age. I always felt like I wasn’t at the right place, right time. I always felt like I wasn’t really meant for the world I’m living in.” 

“When I started transitioning, I was like: ‘Oh no, I’m totally meant for this body, meant for this time, meant for this world.’ “I was just wearing a sweater that was three sizes too small for 28 years.”
Dorfman chose to retain her birth name of Tommy, saying she feels “very connected” to it, adding that it also honours her mother’s brother, who died when Dorfman was a month old.