Nickelodeon star Michael D Cohen reveals he's transgender

Michael D. Cohen
Michael D. Cohen. Photo credit: Facebook/HenryDangerShow

One of the stars of children's television network Nickelodeon has opened up about his "transgender journey".

Michael D Cohen, who plays the character Schwoz on Henry Danger, told Time magazine that he physically transitioned from a woman to a man in his 20s after identifying as male his whole life.

"I was misgendered at birth," Cohen said. "I identify as male, and I am proud that I have had a transgender experience - a transgender journey."

"In my experience, I was born male. What my body said about it was irrelevant," Cohen added. "No matter how hard I tried, it was not up for negotiation. Believe me, it would have been so convenient if I was actually a woman."

Cohen played female roles as an actor until he was 25. At that point he underwent medical treatment and began to present himself as a man in public.

He got his big break in 2014 with Nickelodeon and Henry Danger has gone on to be the longest-running live-action sitcom on the network.

Cohen says he felt compelled to open up about his journey given the current social and political climate in the United States.

The Trump administration has been ardent in its opposition to any acknowledgement of transgender people having a valid identity in society.

On Saturday, Trump announced plans to remove discrimination protections for transgender patients that were provided under the Affordable Care Act. And in April, the Pentagon's new policy for restricting the service of transgender troops took effect.

"This crazy backlash and oppression of rights is happening right in front of me. I can't stay silent," Cohen said. "The level of - let's be polite - misunderstanding around trans issues is so profound and so destructive. When you disempower one population, you disempower everybody."

He added that confusion about what it really means to be transgender still exists today.

"People don't understand. They think this has to do with sexuality and it doesn't. They think this has to do with pushing an agenda on kids and it doesn't," he said. "What it does is send a message to kids that whoever they are, however they identify, that's celebrated and valued and okay."