Raven’s Home has been a staple on Disney Channel for years. The show is not afraid to tackle pertinent social issues that are hot topics in today’s society. Recently, Raven’s Home made Disney Channel history with the introduction of the show’s first out trans character.
In the latest new episode, “The Fierce Awakens,” Raven interviews candidates for an open assistant position as returns to the fashion game. Enter new character, Nikki, portrayed by actress Juliana Joel.
Joel recently shared on Instagram about her excitement portraying Nikki on the hit Disney television show.
“Growing up as a kid in Florida (like many other kids) I dreamt of being on the Disney Channel, specifically on That’s So Raven. It was my favorite show & Raven Baxter was my best friend in my mind. It was my escape from what I was going through internally. Coming from a typical Puerto Rican family, I didn’t think being an actor was possible esp for someone like me, I thought you had to be born into that world.”
She continued in the lengthy post, relating to her character on the show, celebrating this Disney Channel moment.
Fast forward to becoming an actor I then told myself I wasn’t young enough to be on Disney anymore & even if that wasn’t the case I’m TRANS! I’d never seen an out trans actor or character on the Disney Channel. EVER. Needless to say I cried in my dressing room after walking onto that set the first time. It was a moment where it hit me that I not only get to live out my childhood dream on a version of my favorite show…I get to do it as my authentic self and with a character that is openly trans.
But it was really more than just being on the show. With all of the anti-trans hate and narratives in media and society, it was a win. I claimed a dream and space for myself while so much of the world is trying to erase me & my community. And now I get to be that person I wish I had to watch on TV growing up. So never tell yourself it can’t happen because it can, in ways you never dreamt possible.
As a result of pressure from some conservative groups and censorship in other countries, Disney Channel has had a hard time with inclusion of LGBTQ+ representation.
New episodes of Season 5 of Raven’s Home air on Friday’s at 8pm on Disney Channel.