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The Orville’s Chad Coleman Praises Trans Topa Storyline

Klyden star Chad Coleman pays tribute to Seth MacFarlane for Topa’s trans allegory storyline in The Orville: New Horizons.

In the grand tradition of Star Trek, in whose warp cloud the show openly sails, The Orville: New Horizons served up a conversion therapy allegory in Topa (Imani Pullum), the young Maclan, who decides to live as a woman – reversing the surgery performed on her at birth by a society that insists on presenting as male.

Speaking to Bleeding Cool, Chad Coleman – who plays one half of the ship’s same-sex Moclan couple, Klyden (who was born female, but like Topa was forced to present as male) – praised creator Seth MacFarlane, a man who it’s fair to say has, a mixed record on trans representation.

“Hats off to Seth MacFarlane for taking on issues people shy away from. The Clyden, Bortus, and Topa, the Moclan storyline is resonating with the LGBTQ+ community in a major way, and that is so exciting.
“We did not know that it was going to hit in the way that it has. I can tell you it's a front-burner topic in the ever-evolving world we live in. We have inclusion, equanimity, equal space, and truth. For us to be able to take it on and it's been received in the manner that it has, has been incredibly gratifying because we live in divisive times, polarizing times. It’s brave to take these things on, and we have gotten nothing but powerful, wonderful feedback. That's huge for me because this is my family; my cousin is trans, my sister is lesbian, and my nephew is bi. This is my family. I'm grateful that we're telling relevant stories that impact their lives and shine the light on their truth.”

The Topa storyline wasn’t universally well-received (criticisms come from Caroline Framke in Vox, and our friend Jessie Gender), so it’s reassuring if many viewers took something positive from it.

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