Sara Ramirez is a trailblazer. As the bisexual Dr Callie Torres on Grey’s Anatomy, they hold the record as the longest-running LGBTQIA+ character on US TV.
And, as the non-binary, queer stand-up comedian Che Diaz on And Just Like That.., they’ve sparked off all sorts of conversations.
But it wasn’t until 2016 that Ramirez felt ready to come out publicly, and it was a devastating tragedy that spurred them into doing it.
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Ramirez grew up feeling like they “stuck out”. They moved from Mexico to California at the age of eight, after their parents divorced. They went through a culture shock, and had the “stigma” of an accent.
“I heard my share of ‘Do you have a green card?’ jokes,” Ramirez told Glamour. “On top of all that, I was a lot taller and bigger-boned than most girls my age.”
Ramirez was also dealing with being non-binary but not having the language to name it.
"I grew up under these conditions where I had to wear my hair a certain way or dress a certain way, things that felt really rigid and not right for my body," they told People.
In high school, Ramirez’s teachers heard them sing. At that point, their life changed.
“I got cast in my first musical and was suddenly catapulted into this place where I was getting a lot of attention, admiration and praise.”
Ramirez won a spot at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. At the school, they went through some “intense explorations” of their sexual orientation, and started coming out to family and close friends from the age of 18.
Before they’d even graduated, they were offered a role on Broadway.