“I’ve been called many things, this is a first,” said Brian Michael Smith on  Instagram when he found out he was named by People as one of the “25  sexiest men on TV”. The nod for Smith is historic as the actor is the first  transgender man to make it into People’s annual ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ issue. 

“Incredibly honoured to be included in this list with so many actors I admire.  Big love to @people for the historic shout out,” Smith posted. 

The actor received praise from many on Instagram, including model Laith  Ashley who said, “Sexy man, OWN THAT.” 

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Smith, who stars as firefighter Paul Strickland on FOX’s 9-1-1 Lone Star,  was also included in ‘People’s One’s to Watch 2021,’ in October.  

A Trans Hero

Smith told People “I’ve never seen a trans hero in this way, shown as a hero,  not struggling with his identity. People have emailed me that it gives them  courage. One guy is going through firefighter training and didn’t think he  would ever be able to because of his trans experience.” 

Smith first burst into stardom in his role as Antoine “Toine” Wilkins, a  transgender police officer in Queen Sugar, executive produced by Ava  Duvernay and Oprah Winfrey. When he was cast on 9-1-1 Lone Star, Smith  became the first transgender man to be cast as a series regular in a network  television series. 

“That’s something I really like about Lone Star, is that they allow my  character to just be who he is, while also at other times exploring his trans  experience and giving room for that as well,” Smith said in a LGBTQ&A podcast in February. 

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“There aren’t many acting roles about trans people, let alone trans men in TV  and films. And I’ve found that often when things are written by people  outside of the trans experience, they tend to focus on these common tropes:  the painful disclosure, or the physical aspects of transition itself. The  characters tend to be pre-transition or early in transition, and the storylines  they are involved in are mainly focused on their transition and them seeking  other people’s acceptance or their non-trans love interest or family  members’ reaction,” Smith told GLAAD in an interview. 

‘There’s A Future For Me’

”But there is so much more to trans people’s experiences than those  moments. There’s so much life after transition that has gone unexplored in  TV and films, and as an artist, this is the part of my life and experience that I  had been looking to explore in my work,” Smith said.

“I also had concerns that disclosing my gender history, without establishing  myself as a strong actor first, would exclude me from being considered for  non-trans roles,” Smith told GLAAD. “I feel that because I began my career  post-transition and am not ‘visibly trans,’ I had the privilege of choosing to  disclose or not and I was able to go in for any role that fit my type.” 

“If nothing else happens for the rest of my life I’m happy because I was able  to use all of stuff that was negative…difficult all the struggles in my life to  help other people. There’s someone who can turn on the TV and see I’m not  the only one, it’s not just me and there’s a future for me,” Smith said in an  Instagram post in October. 

Several other Queer stars also made the pages of the annual thirst trap  issue, including Smith’s 9-1-1 Lone Star co-star Ronen Rubinstein, Pose star  Dyllón Burnside and Lil Nas X.

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