Oh, no big deal, just Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney getting a shoutout in the actual House of Commons!
The 18-year-old actress made her screen debut in the LGBTQ+ coming of age series earlier this year, playing Elle Argent, a schoolgirl who is transgender and moves from an all-boys grammar school to a girls school.
Since its release, Heartstopper has inspired countless fans across the world, with thousands finding courage in the show to come out to their own families.
One particular aspect of the series – based on the graphic novels by Alice Oseman – that has been praised is its authentic representation, with Yasmin being at the forefront of those celebrations for how she portrays Elle.
Yasmin was mentioned by Labour MP Luke Pollard recently as the House of Commons debated the government’s conversion therapy ban, which currently does not include trans people.
Pollard – who is Plymouth’s first ‘out’ MP – has continuously expressed his love for Heartstopper, reflecting today on how it reminds him of his younger days.
‘I am so pleased with all my heart that young people in school now not only have LGBT young people in the public eye, but they can see them onscreen as well,’ he began in the debate.
‘Some of you will know that I’m an unapologetic fan of Netflix’s Heartstopper and I remember being both Nick and Charlie at school.
‘But, for me, it’s Yasmin Finney who plays Elle in the show who is not only epic in her acting, but the class and visibility of her as as trans actor, and her transfer over to the Doctor Who universe, has not only inspired me, it’s inspired young trans people across the world and it has saved lives. That visibility, that legitimatecy, has saved lives.’
The politician went on to sing the praises of illustrator Alice, for creating a universe where ‘our diversity is celebrated, not excluded’ and ‘where people are drawn together by a broad hug, not a big stick’.
He added that we should be aiming for that type of diversity and inclusion in politics, continuing: ‘It is precisely because of that that I think I would like every single member in this place to know that the messages that go out to young LGBT people that, regardless of who you are, and who you love, you have the right to be loved, you have the right to be safe, and you have the right to be valued, not just by society but in the law, and that is at the heart of what we’re debating today.
‘Let’s make sure that we say to young LGBT people, to trans and non-binary people, that they are enough, that we will listen to them, and that we value them.’
Following the debate, the MP took to Twitter to echo how ‘fab’ he thinks Heartstopper is since, ‘being LGBT at school in the 90s was not always easy’.
‘I’m so happy that young LGBT people now have role models and the visibility they deserve. #Heartstopper with its 90s vibe is uplifting and powerful. I genuinely believe it’s saving lives as well as being fab television,’ he penned.
With the Heartstopper cast being the ultimate hype crew that they are, Joe Locke – who plays Charlie Spring in the adorable TV show – couldn’t wait to share his pride for his friend, sharing the video of the debate and tweeting: ‘You’re changing the world @Yazdemand and I am so proud of you.’
Yasmin herself has previously spoken about her joy of securing the role of Elle, saying she was initially in disbelief that there was a casting call specifically for a young Black trans actress.
The actress also told Teen Vogue that she was ‘shocked’ by how Heartstopper ‘doesn’t even mention that she’s trans in the series’, explaining that this gave her ‘so much hope in the industry, because it goes to show that we don’t really have to focus on the sad stuff and the bad stuff of being a trans person.’
Yaz’s career is only going in one direction after her breakout debut role, as she has since been cast in the upcoming 60th anniversary special of Doctor Who playing the character Rose, with scenes set to air in 2023.
Heartstopper has also been renewed for two more seasons and we are positively buzzing for it to return.
Season 1 of Heartstopper is available to stream now on Netflix.