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The lead actor for the Saved By The Bell reboot has been announced, and it’s a big win for transgender representation

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Aiden Wynn
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Josie Totah at the Teen Vogue Summit 2018

Josie Totah will play the most popular girl in school, which marks a big shift from the transgender representation we usually get.

As if NBC’s upcoming reboot of Saved By The Bell wasn’t exciting enough, the recent announcement of the show’s lead character has got us positively buzzing. Transgender actor Josie Totah will be playing the role of Lexi, the queen bee of Bayside High. As a “beautiful, sharp-tongued cheerleader and the most popular girl at Bayside High”, Totah’s character is set to be a landmark character for transgender representation

The original cast of saved by the bell
The cast of Saved By The Bell in the 90s

Totah was known for playing the role of Michael Patel in Champions alongside Mandy Kaling, and acted in a number of Disney shows including Spider-Man: Homecoming and Magic Camp prior to coming out. On coming out as transgender in August 2018, she spoke about how grateful she felt for the roles she had played in the past, but that she felt that she let herself “be shoved into a box”. She then went on to say that she could “only imagine” how fun it would be to play parts that truly reflect who she is.

Now she gets to head up an iconic show as a character who is loved and feared by her peers, and most importantly is respected for who she is. This marks a huge moment in the movement towards equal representation for transgender people.

Trans representation in TV and film has massively improved in recent years, with Pose, Orange Is The New Black and Eastenders all featuring transgender actors playing complex lead roles. But positive, affirmative stories about trans people are still very thin on the ground in popular media. Stories where transgender characters’ storylines are explored beyond their gender identity are rarer still. 

Laverne Cox in Orange Is The New Black
Transgender actor Laverne Cox in Orange Is The New Black

Some of the original cast members are also set to be involved in the reboot. In an Instagram post that made our nostalgic hearts sing, Elizabeth Berkley announced that she and Mario Lopez will be returning to Bayside High to reprise their roles as Jessie Spano and A.C. Slater. 

The character of Zack Morris will also feature as a California governor who “gets into hot water for closing too many low-income schools and proposes the affected students be sent to the highest-performing schools in the state”. It’s unclear at the moment whether Mark-Paul Gosselaar will be returning to take up this role.

No official release date has been announced for the Save By The Bell reboot, but keep your eyes peeled – it’s due to hit screens sometime in summer 2020.

Images: Pink News 

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