'Grey's Anatomy' Enlists Candis Cayne for "Groundbreaking" Trans Story (Exclusive)

Candis Cayne - Publicity - P 2018
Courtesy of Kourosh Sotoodeh

Grey's Anatomy continues to put a lens on transgender stories.

The ABC medical drama has enlisted actress Candis Cayne (Transparent) for a multiple-episode arc in season 14.

Cayne will play a transgender patient who comes to Grey Sloan for what is being described as a "groundbreaking" vaginoplasty surgery. The character is inspired by a story that the writers on Grey's Anatomy read about Hayley Anthony, a trans woman who helped Jess Ting, the director of surgery at the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai, create a groundbreaking new procedure for vaginoplasty surgeries.

"[The surgery] revolutionizes the making of a vagina and we thought that was a really cool story and Candis is playing a character inspired by something we read," Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Cayne's arc comes as Grey's Anatomy wants to change the way trans characters are portrayed on the small screen. This season, out trans actor Alex Blue Davis — who plays intern Dr. Casey Parker — disclosed to Bailey (Chandra Wilson) that he was a "proud trans man" after helping to save the hospital from a hacker who threatened the lives of multiple patients. It marked an intentional change in storytelling in which being trans wasn't the most important part of Davis' character.

"What's cool about the show, the episode and Krista's vision for this character is he's about way more than being trans," Davis told THR after the episode, noting that he sees Casey's story as unexplored territory on the small screen. "I cried at the table read, it was very moving for me. I've been waiting for a moment like this on TV my whole life. I am so honored I got to say that line on TV because it's a long time coming."

Cayne, who in 2007 became the first trans actress to play a recurring trans character in primetime on ABC's Dirty Sexy Money, also counts The Magicians, Heartbeat and Nip/Tuck among her credits. She's repped by Stone Manners Salners and John Sobanski Management.

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.