Daisy Eagan is breaking ground with her role as Joey Riverton on Freeform's Good Trouble. The character is one in a handful of personalities on television currently identifying as non-binary, bringing individuals who don't identify as male or female to the small screen.
The Tony Award-winner, who identifies as queer, spoke with PopCulture.com about taking on the role, and how Joey coming out as non-binary in the Season 2 premiere led her to have conversations with those around her about the right way to represent the community.
"I can't even begin to say how proud this makes me," Eagan told PopCulture.com during a phone interview Monday, July 1. "When they sent me the script for the first episode and I saw that Joey came out, I immediately called [co-creator] Bradley Bredeweg, and said, 'I just want to check in with you,' because at that point especially, I said, 'I don't really identify as non-binary and I don't want to make the community angry or uncomfortable because there are non-binary actors.'"
Since Joey was originally written as a lesbian character with the non-binary representation part of her storyline brought in Season 2, producers told Eagan they still believed her to be the best person for the role. However, Eagan didn't stop there, saying she spoke with others in her life who identify as non-binary to make sure she wasn't overstepping.
"The consensus was, if [the writers] had written a non-binary character and cast a cis-gender person, that would be an issue," Eagan said. "But since the character was evolving, the feeling was that it was okay and the representation was fine."
Discussing Joey's groundbreaking coming out story, Eagan said showing one of the first characters on network television coming out as non-binary is a big win for LGBTQ representation. Seeing those stories on screens, as well as many LGBTQ actors working and playing those roles is a huge milestone for the entertainment industry, Eagan said while reflecting on the early days of her career.
"I spent much of my life not being the way that I wanted to be and not presenting myself the way that I wanted to present myself because I was always told that it would prevent me from getting work," Eagan said. "So, for me to finally have come to terms with it in my own personal life and to be validated with a job as a result, is just breathtakingly important and makes me feel exceedingly proud and validated."
Looking back on 30 years working in the industry, Eagan recalled many instances of discrimination "on a personal and professional level" that pushed her to keep her sexuality hidden. But to now live openly and bring representation to television in 2019 feels like a privilege for the actress all these years later.0comments
"Last season, there was, I guess, the first time Alice (Sherry Cola) and Joey kissed. Our writer on the episode was a bisexual Korean-American woman, and she said, "I never saw this growing up." Yeah, even five years ago, I don't know that you would have seen an actor of color and a white actor, both female, kissing on network television," Eagan said. "I just feel so grateful to be a small part of the revolution."
Good Trouble airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.