Michael D. Cohen was introduced to the world as a man through his television and film roles on hits such as Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger, but as he revealed in a new interview, he was actually assigned female when he was born.
“I was misgendered at birth,” the actor, 43, told Time magazine in a piece published on Thursday, May 23. “I identify as male, and I am proud that I have had a transgender experience — a transgender journey.”
He added of his gender identity, “It is not random, it is not arbitrary, it is not chosen. It’s like trying to negotiate with gravity.”
Cohen, who transitioned from female to male nearly 20 years earlier through medical procedures and social adjustments, clarified that he does not identify as transgender, however. “I have worked so hard to get to the truth and I’ve taken on labels in the past that didn’t feel true for the sake of convenience at that moment,” he said.
The Nickelodeon actor currently stars on the network’s long-running Henry Danger series. He told Time it was important for him to reveal his true identity to help kids who are also struggling with identity issues to be more accepting of themselves.
“What it does is send a message to kids that whoever they are, however they identify, that’s celebrated and valued and OK,” he said. “If I tell my truth, that gives other people permission to tell theirs too.”
He added: “This crazy backlash and oppression of rights is happening right in front of me. I can’t stay silent,” he explained. “The level of — let’s be polite — misunderstanding around trans issues is so profound and so destructive. When you disempower one population, you disempower everybody.”
The Song of Slomon star also shared the piece on his Instagram page on Thursday. “I’m so grateful to be able to share my story,” he wrote. “I hope that by sharing this part of my life’s journey it will help people of trans experience of ALL ages feel seen and less alone. I’m right here with you.” He concluding by thanking Henry Danger and his Nickelodeon “family.”
Cohen also gave his fans a shout-out for their acceptance and love in Instagram Stories: “Thank you all so much for the outpouring of support.”