On the weekend, Australia’s longest running soap opera Neighbours announced that actress Georgie Stone’s character Mackenzie Hargreaves would be returning to Ramsey Street as a series regular next year.
“I am so excited to be joining Neighbours full-time,” Stone told Digital Spy,
“I love the character of Mackenzie so much and to have the opportunity to go back and continue her story is a dream come true. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for her!”
Before auditioning for the role, Stone wrote a letter to Jason Herbison, Neighbours‘ Executive Producer, and suggested bringing some gender diversity to the long running Aussie soap.
“When I was growing up as a trans young person I did not see anyone out there who I could relate to,” she told the Herald Sun.
“There was no one on Australian TV screens, on any TV screens really, that had a positive depiction of a trans person, specifically a trans young person.
“There was no one who I could connect to and I felt quite isolated because of that, so that is why I am so excited about this opportunity.”
She said: “I really hope that there will be some trans young people out there who have felt isolated before and then see this character and feel that they are not alone, or that they feel OK to be who they are, and that this story can teach other people how to treat trans young people.”
Image : Georgie Stone/Instagram
There was so much excitement when it was announced earlier this year that Stone would be playing the Network Ten series’ first transgender character, and even more as Mackenzie’s storyline developed over the past months.
Seeing her come out to people from her past as transgender—and the characters come to terms with that—then handling using the bathroom at school, when everyone found out, and sharing a kiss and forming friendships and relationships, was truly powerful television.
“I wanted this storyline to be great and I wanted everyone to like it,” Stone told the Star Observer,
“After working with the writers (who are all amazing by the way) I knew that Mackenzie was going to be a great character, and her storyline was going to be equally as great.”
In the narrative Mackenzie’s father (played by Paul Mercurio) could not accept Mackenzie for who she truly is, calling her by her dead-name and messing up how to simply be with and there for his daughter.
With this storyline unresolved, we hope the team at Neighbours will explore this further in the future, as well as all the regular shenanigans that come with being a resident of Ramsay Street.
“I think with most people who are marginalised in society, everyone just wants to be visible and treated the same as everyone else. And that’s what you will see with Mackenzie,” Neighbours Executive Producer Jason Herbison told Digital Spy,
“I look forward to the day when the fact that she is transgender doesn’t even warrant the batting of an eyelid. That day will come very soon in Erinsborough, and that alone is very powerful for anyone going through the experience in real life,” Herbison said
Stone is the second transgender actress to play a transgender character on Australian television, but we don’t need to wait until next year for Mackenzies to return, with news that Stone will join other characters in Neighbours: Erinsborough High—a spin off series this November which takes place during the Year 12 exam period exploring various issues that affect teenagers at school.