Heartstopper star Yasmin Finney has called out transphobic comments after strangers made ignorant, unsolicited remarks towards her at a restaurant.
Netflix fans have taken the actress to their hearts over recent weeks after her portrayal of Elle Argent in the new coming-of-age series.
Heartstopper tells the story of Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) and Nick Nelson (Kit Connor) who start off as form buddies in an all-boys grammar school, but quickly fall for one another and embark on a secret relationship.
The series has been highly praised for its revolutionary LGBTQ+ storytelling, with countless fans even feeling inspired to come out to their own families as a result of the show’s hopeful queer representation.
Elle plays one of Charlie’s best friends in the series, based on the graphic novels by Alice Oseman.
She is trans and, at the start of the eight episodes, we see she’s moved from Truham Grammar School to Higgs School for Girls.
Actress Yasmin has spoken openly about the importance of trans representation on-screen, expressing her disbelief at the streaming giant wanting to cast a Black trans girl to play the 17-year-old student in the first place.
However, like much of the trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming communities, Yasmin has experienced transphobic comments while simply going about her life.
Taking to Twitter to share a recent incident, she posted a stunning mirror selfie in which she wears a black cut-out dress, with her hair styled in a sleek bob and make-up looking extra glam.
She wrote alongside the pic that a woman shouted at her ‘in front of peers’ while Yasmin was leaving a restaurant: ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’
‘Erm Idk what do I look like to you?’, Yasmin wrote, referencing the beautiful selfie.
Yasmin added: ‘I was clearly in shock when she said this and she then said, “I’m not transphobic I have trans friends”.’
‘At this point I’ve given up hope lol,’ she said.
Fans were quick to rally around the Netflix star, reminding ‘Yaz’ that she is ‘incredible’ and they are ‘sorry’ for the hurtful experience she had.
‘I’m so so sorry you went through that, love. you’re wonderful and stunning and we’re here to remind you of that every day if you need to,’ one person told her.
‘Wish I could wrap her up in cotton wool and protect her from everyone and everything :(‘, replied another.
One added: ‘This angers me so bad and the fact that the transphobe used the “I have trans friends!” card makes it even worse. I absolutely hate people. All the love to queen Yaz.’
Yasmin, 18, has already amassed a gigantic legion of devoted fans, hitting the one million follower mark on Instagram this week following Heartstopper’s success.
Her character in the series has resonated with many viewers, since she represents the joy of being trans, rather than the trauma.
Illustrator Alice, who worked closely on bringing the YA books to life, told Metro.co.uk that: ‘Her journey is about finding friendships and fitting into a new school and developing feelings for one of her best friends, and those are just normal teenage things.
‘It’s important to show trans kids are also going through these common teen situations and stories.’
Producer Patrick Walters added that Elle needed to be played authentically by a Black trans actress, saying that the show nearly didn’t happen until they met Yaz.
‘It was really scary,’ said Alice.
Patrick elaborated: ‘Before we met Yasmin we were worried we wouldn’t find the right person to play that part.
‘There was a lot of pressure and we felt we couldn’t make the show without finding the right person who can transport you into this storyline.’
Devoted fans are eagerly awaiting confirmation of a second season of Heartstopper (yes, that includes us), especially as they hope to see romance blossom between Elle and longtime bestie Tao Xu.
Netflix are yet to confirm whether S2 is actually happening but since it was announced recently that the series was watched for 23,940,000 hours this week alone (most of those views came from us), we’d be horrified if a second instalment wasn’t already on the cards.
Heartstopper is available to stream now on Netflix.
Mermaids is able to help trans people up to their 19th birthday.
Their helpline is open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 9pm: 0808 801 0400.
You can also text ‘Mermaids’ to 85258 for free 24/7 crisis support all across the UK or make use of their web chat, which is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 9pm.