Ivory Aquino Joins 'Batgirl' as DC Films' First Transgender Star
By Miguel A. Melendez
Ivory Aquino is making history. She's been cast in the first transgender role in a DC Comics film for the upcoming HBO Max movie Batgirl.
According to multiple reports, Aquino will take on the role of Alysia Yeoh, a trans woman and roommate of Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl. Yeoh's role was first introduced in the Batgirl comics in 2011 by Batgirl comics writer Gail Simone and artist Ardian Syaf. The news comes not long after Leslie Grace, who will play Batgirl, leaked the news on social media in a not-so-subtle way.
Grace posted a picture on Instagram showing her and and Aquino's characters on the set of the film holding hands and crossing the street. She tagged Aquino in the Instagram Story and also used the hashtag "Batgirl" with four bat emojis.
Aquino established herself in Hollywood after playing the real-life transgender activist role of Cecelia Chung in the 2017 ABC miniseries When We Rise. The Philippines-born actress came out as transgender in January 2017 while doing press for the docudrama series.
While she's the first transgender appearing for the first time in a live-action feature film for DC Comics and playing an openly trans character, Aquino isn't the first actress to represent the LGBTQ+ community in the DC Extended Universe.
Nicole Maines' character, Nia Nal, was the first trans superhero on TV in the CW series Supergirl. The title superhero's sister (played by Chyler Leigh) also came out as a lesbian on season 2. On the animation side, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy fall in love in the season 2 finale of HBO Max's animated series, Harley Quinn.
Back in September, Grace talked to ET about landing the role following her breakout role in In the Heights.
"I'm just excited to prove some new things to myself, try new things and shatter any limitations that I might have in my own brain," Grace said. "I feel so blessed to be able to do the things that I do every day -- that are really my passions -- and also be able to do it with people that are just excellent."