Entertainment news

Heartstoppers season two to feature disabled trans character

two pictures of ash self including one on his graduation day

Ahead of the second season of Netflix’s LGBTQ+ drama Heartstoppers Ash Self has reminded people disabled is not a “dirty word”.

The actor plays Felix in the popular TV show’s new series, where he is introduced as a new mate of Elle Argent (Yasmin Finney) and a second new face, Naomi, played by TikTok star Bei Preistley.

Self, a trans man who lives with complex illnesses including asthma, respiratory problems, a neurological condition and a gastrointestinal condition, has released a “gentle reminder” on how disabled people wish to be addressed.

He took to social media on Sunday (23 July) tweeting he wants to be described as disabled - nothing else, not “euphemisms” for disabled such as “handicapped” or “differently abled” - just disabled - Got the message?

In the thread Self confirmed his character will be disabled using mobility and medical devices, which belong to the actor.

“Heartstopper comes out in less than 2 weeks and I’m so excited to be bringing some disabled rep to the show, but gentle reminder that I am disabled and I do not wish to be referred to as handicapped, differently abled or any other euphemism for disabled”, wrote Self. “It is not a dirty word”.

He continued: “I know that other disabled people may prefer these terms but I don’t. Felix’s mobility devices (sic) and medical devices are also mine, I did not change or switch them to play the role and Felix is also disabled”.

Self received a reply from someone saying it “hurts sometimes” when they are referred to as being “disabled”.

In response the actor and stand-up comedian said: “I’d actually always rather be called disabled, I am disabled and whilst it has its (many) challenges and not so fun times, I’m proud of it and I wouldn’t change it for the world”.

In the past Self has shared the challenges he has been exposed to being disabled and in the public eye.

He started using a wheelchair in 2018 when he needed it. At first he saw the chair as an “object of tragedy”, but now understands it has “gave [him his] life back”.

In a previous post Self revealed that their voice was changing after taking a year of testosterone.

Another posting showed a photo of Self with his shirt open after undergoing top surgery with the caption: “My chest is still pretty swollen but already I feel so much more connected to that area of my body and so much less self conscious.

“Being trans and disabled I’ve spent the last ten years feeling mostly frustrated and betrayed by my body and obviously recovery has been tricky in itself (and continues to be) but the difference in how I feel about my body now is wild.”

In July 2023 Self shared a picture on Instagram from his graduation day where he was presented with his degree by comedian Dawn French.

The new season of Heartstoppers will also feature actor Bradley Riches, who has autism, playing the role of Truman student James McEwan.

[ Heartstoppers season 2 arrives on Netflix from Thursday, 3rd August ]

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