Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Transgender character for Hollyoaks

Victoria Atkin in character as Jasmine Costello

Hollyoaks is to break new ground with the arrival of a teenage transgender character - a boy trapped in a girl's body.

Actress Victoria Atkin, 23, will play the role of 15-year-old Jasmine Costello, who desperately wants to be a boy and has a male alter ego, Jason.

Viewers will see Jasmine arrive in the show after spending time at a summer camp in the US, but it soon emerges she is leading a double life and dresses as the opposite sex in secret.

The story will follow her journey of self-discovery and explore the effects her condition has on those around her, including her ex-model mother Heidi (Kim Tiddy) and ex-footballer father Carl (Paul Opacic).

Hollyoaks series producer Paul Marquess said: "I am proud that Hollyoaks is able to tackle the issue of gender identity disorder (GID) and the effect the condition has on the families.

"Around one in 4,000 people in Britain are receiving medical help for gender dysphoria and if we can bring the issue to the forefront to help more young people identify and talk about the condition, then I believe that can only be a positive thing".

The soap has worked with relevant organisations and charities to ensure their portrayal is accurate, and several young transgender men and women have shared their experiences to help shape the story and character.

Victoria will hit screens as Jasmine on August 2, and appears for the first time four days later as Jason.

At present, ITV1 soap Coronation Street is thought to be the only drama serial featuring a permanent transsexual character, with Hayley Cropper (birth name "Harold" - played by Julie Hesmondhalgh) a fixture on the street since 1998.

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