Shakina Nayfack Made Trans History on Network TV. That’s Just for Starters.

In NBC’s ‘Connecting,’ Shakina Nayfack was the first trans actor to be a series regular on a primetime network comedy. She tells Tim Teeman about faith, porn, and making history.

The slogans on the shirts read, “Enough,” “Silence is Complicity,” and “Resist.” But Shakina Nayfack told the NBC costume department that her character Ellis was only going to wear one that said, “Black Trans Lives Matter.”

The standoff came while filming an episode of Connecting, in which the characters—a group of friends connecting via Zoom during the pandemic, hence the title of the show—wear protest shirts in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. The costume department said they needed to give the network “options,” Nayfack laughed, retelling the story. “I said, ‘OK, here’s a shirt that says ‘Black Trans Lives Matter’ in black-and-white, and here’s one that says it in the colors of the trans flag. So, there are your options.’” In the end, they chose the one in the trans flag colors.