Zackery Torres, who starred on Lifetime's Dance Moms, revealed they are transitioning in a TikTok video Sunday. Torres, who was the first male-born contestant on Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition, previously came out as non-binary in an October 2020 interview with the University of Southern California's student newspaper. Torres also founded the Continuum Community and published a book on gender conversations last year.
"I'm transitioning!" Torres shared on TikTok while Dua Lipa's song "Levitating" played. "That means I'm transgender if you didn't know. My pronouns are they/she, which means that they or she are totally fine, and I'm just hopping on here to tell you that I'm going to be posting more on Tiktok and I'm excited about it!"
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Following their time on dance coach Abby Lee Miller's shows, Torres completed their Bachelors of Fine Arts degree at USC. They are continuing their education at the university, seeking a Masters of Arts in public relations and advertising. Torres also founded Continuum Community and published the book An Evolving Conversation on Gender: Dance Edition reports E! News. The book "breaks down the complex topic of gender and provides the information necessary to evolve your community," according to the publisher's description.
In October 2020, Torres told the Daily Trojan they are non-binary. Their journey to understanding gender identity started when he was on the Lifetime shows at 13. They faced scrutiny from viewers, and instructors emphasized a need to be masculine. Torres pointed to this as one of the ways the gender binary stays embedded in the dance world.
"I started seeing all of the expectations that teachers — well-known dance teachers, and well-known choreographers — had for me as a male dancer growing up and at the time identifying as a boy," Torres told the Daily Trojan. "Oh, you're too feminine, you need to dance like a man.' Just having teachers tell you that on national television, all this stuff, it kind of really got to me."
Torres tried to label their own identity, but considering themselves gay "didn't feel right." They also thought they might be transgender before attending USC. While studying at the university, they decided non-binary was the right label at the time. "Those conversations just weren't prominent enough in my local communities and in my circles, so I didn't really have the resources," they explained. "I just kind of shoved it down because I didn't like the feeling of the unknown."
On Monday, Torres shared E! News' headline on Instagram and thanked his followers for the outpouring of support on the eve of Pride Month. "As I sit here with my mount still open, it is important to recognize the amount of LGBTQIA+ individuals who do not receive this loving response," he wrote in part. "There is still work to be done, and I cannot wait to be a part of it. Much love, and HAPPY EARLY PRIDE MONTH!"