'Champions' Star Josie Totah Comes Out as Transgender in Time Essay

"I know now, more than ever, that I’m finally ready to take this step toward becoming myself," the 17-year-old wrote. "I’m ready to be free."

Josie Totah, the 17-year-old star of Mindy Kaling's former NBC series, Champions, revealed she is transgender in an essay written for Time magazine.

"In the past, I’ve halfway corrected people by telling them I identify as LGBTQ," the teen, formerly known as J.J., wrote. "I wasn’t ready to be more specific. I was afraid I wouldn’t be accepted, that I would be embarrassed, that the fans who knew me from the time when I acted in a Disney show would be confused. But I realized over the past few years that hiding my true self is not healthy. I know now, more than ever, that I’m finally ready to take this step toward becoming myself. I’m ready to be free. So, listen up y’all: You can jump on or jump off. Either way this is where I’m heading."

She continued: "My pronouns are sheher and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah."

Totah, who begins college soon, said she hopes to reignite her acting career after graduation. "I plan to play roles I haven’t had the opportunity to play," she shared. "And I can only imagine how much more fun it’s going to be to play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy. I’m going to gun for those roles, be it a transgender female or a cisgender female. Because it’s a clean slate — and a new world."

Not long after Totah's Time piece was published Monday, Kaling took to Twitter to offer her support. "I love you, Josie. I'm so glad you're able to speak your truth and live as your authentic self," she tweeted. "You're so damn talented — I can't wait to write for you again!"

Read Totah's entire essay here.