Aneesh Seth, who came to the United States when she was six-years-old, is an LGBTQ activist.
A lot has been said about the South Asian transgender scene in America and how the community has often skirted the issue of LGBTQ, given their “closed” cultures. But looks like a lot is just about to change in the mainstream, as perhaps for the first time, an openly transgender Indian American actor will be seen as the star in a Netflix series.
Seth is playing Gillian, a transgender character, in Marvel’s Jessica Jones in its third and final season of the Netflix series.
What makes it particularly interesting is that Seth is a trans actress herself and thus in many ways perfectly sums up the series’ commitment to represent the LGBTQ community in the mainstream entertainment.
Seth, who is in news not just for bagging a plum role in a super popular series, a feat still not commonplace in America for women of color, but also for the fact that she may be setting the ball rolling for a new generation of Indian American actors, who are as comfortable with their queer identity as with their brown skin tones.
Born in Pune, India, Seth came to the United States when she was six-years-old. An alumnus of New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, where she studied musical theater, she also has a master’s degree in social work.
Theater lovers may recognize Seth from her role in the Broadway national tour of A.R. Rahman’s Bombay Dreams, where she played Sweetie back in 2006. Her recent appearances on TV also include roles in High Maintenance, Outsourced and Difficult People. Now with a recurring part in Jessica Jones, Seth may have just bagged her first real deal plum role.
But apart from Seth starring in a role that is so true to her own skin, there may be another noteworthy aspect about the character of Gillian.
There is no brouhaha about the gender identity of Gillian, a trans played by a trans actor. The third season of the series is based on the Marvel Comics character that goes by the same name. The season is produced by Marvel Television and ABC studios.
Seth, who has also been an LGBTQ activist, couldn’t have asked for a more apt platform to showcase the change she dreams of bringing about.