To celebrate Trans Awareness Week we’ve made this feature from our October issue available online 🏳️‍⚧️


It’s not an exaggeration to say that Yasmin Finney is the moment. So much so, that it’s hard to remember a time when she wasn’t living her best life in the limelight – all while advocating for a better future for the trans community. Having only just turned 19 this August, she’s already achieved so much and touched so many lives. As we near the end of 2022, who knows how else she’s going to continue to make queerstory in the years to come.

Back in April, Yasmin burst onto our TVs in Netflix’s beloved adaptation of the Heartstopper comics. She instantly became a fan favourite for her portrayal of Elle Argent, a young trans girl navigating transferring to an all-girls school. Watching Heartstopper, I often found myself contemplating how different my life would’ve been if I had been a teen when Elle existed onscreen. I believe I would’ve grown up with less fear, less shame and more hope and joy. While the future can seem bleak, knowing that there is a generation of young people who have grown up with Yasmin on their screens fills me with optimism – that those who share lived experiences with her will feel seen, and those who do not, will understand that trans is beautiful.

While Heartstopper was many people’s introduction to Yasmin Finney, she had previously grown a following on TikTok, where she documented her life in Manchester as a trans woman and used the platform for trans activism. Earlier this year, I got the chance to speak to Yasmin for DIVA and asked about what her hopes for the rest of 2022 were when it came to both acting and activism: “Me getting this role is already activism in itself. It’s a statement. I want to hold onto that and just milk it as much as I can. This is the beginning; the future is endless.”

“This is the beginning; the future is endless”

Just one month after the premiere of Heartstopper, Yasmin’s next big role was confirmed. She was joining the cast of Doctor Who in 2023. This is just the beginning indeed. The upcoming next chapter of Doctor Who is set to be queering up the status quo. With Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa cast as the first gay Time Lord, and Neil Patrick Harris joining the cast as well, there is plenty of visibility to be had. Blackness, transness and queerness are all underrepresented in science fiction, so it’s truly gamechanging to have Yasmin taking on this role.

In June, at a House of Commons debate on the government’s conversion “therapy” ban, Labour MP Luke Pollard praised Yasmin for her work as Elle and her visibility as a trans actor in both Heartstopper and soon Doctor Who, saying it “has not only inspired me, it’s inspired young trans people across the world and it has saved lives. That visibility, that legitimacy, has saved lives.”

Other upcoming projects include a part in Mercury Studios’ Mars, a groundbreaking short film from Yungblud, premiering at the London Film Festival this October. In addition to her acting career, Yasmin has continued to use her platform and voice to change the world. From delivering powerful speeches at award ceremonies to attending Pride events. This year, she marched at Manchester Pride, in her home city, and attended the history-making UK Black Pride, where the event officially became the largest celebration for LGBTQIA people of colour in the world.

But her most iconic Pride moment, for me, was when she attended this year’s London Trans+ Pride. Alongside over 20,000 other people, Yasmin proudly confirmed that her character on Doctor Who will be trans, and then, in a speech addressed the then prime minister: “My character is trans so, Boris, I hope you see Heartstopper, I hope you see Doctor Who, because I exist, and I know you know I exist.” Another video of her on the day, posted by non-binary model Radam Ridwan, went viral, and it was filled with unapologetic trans joy. In it, Yasmin is on the tube looking *flawless* and chanting “What time is it? It’s trans time!” and those around her cheer along. Watching this video, not only did I have serious FOMO (fear of missing out), but also, it gave me hope that it truly is trans time. Even if the bigots are doing their best to stop this being true.

In a society where anti-trans laws are on the rise, where the trans community are constantly used as scapegoats, where the media continues to vilify us, I am filled with gratitude that Yasmin continues to thrive, succeed and use her voice to inspire and create change. When we can see that we are not alone, when we can see that it is possible for someone like us to live a happy and full life, it’s not only life saving – it’s revolutionary.


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