The actor came out as nonbinary amid the pandemic—an aspect of their identity that they tell Glamour has been with them since before they were seven, though they “didn’t have the language or the supportive environment” to understand that part of themself. “In me is the capacity to be Girlish boy, Boyish girl, Boyish boy, Girlish girl, All, Neither,” they wrote on Instagram in August 2020.
In the premiere episode of And Just Like That, which dropped on December 9, the “queer, nonbinary, Mexican-Irish diva” described their version of public masturbation as wearing a baseball cap to Yankee Stadium, sipping a beer, and “watching the bros try to figure out what I am.” It seems we’ve come a long way from SATC’s season 3 episode “Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl,” in which Carrie Bradshaw confidently describes bisexuality as “a layover on the way to gay town.” It doesn’t feel like a stretch to thank Sara Ramirez and Dr. Callie Torres for that.
Below, Glamour spoke to Ramirez about And Just Like That, taking control, and whether or not they’d consider returning to Grey’s Anatomy.
You had a large role in shaping Dr. Callie Torres’s character arc and sexuality on Grey’s Anatomy. Can you tell me more about why that was important to you?
There’s this pressure when you’re in the public eye to disclose everything about yourself, and I felt immense pressure around coming out publicly, but I wasn’t ready. For me, this was kind of the safest way for me to represent.
We enlisted GLAAD as we continued to unfold this storyline in a way that felt like it was honoring the tenderness and vulnerability around a character like Dr. Callie Torres, so a lot of her journey was not like mine. And I was okay with that. The thing I’m most proud of is that we weren’t really going for perfection, we were going for progress. Back in 2007 or 2008, that was progress. The context and the culture at that time was very, very different from how it is now. I’m just really glad that we touched on a nerve for people and inspired a lot of bisexual, pansexual, and gay people to understand their own sexual orientations through this particular person’s journey.
Look at us now! Grey’s Anatomy has introduced its first nonbinary character and you’ve joined the new chapter of Sex and the City, which has had its fair share of problematic moments in the past, as its first nonbinary character. What made you choose to be a part of this legacy?
Back in the ’90s, when I was first starting out in the industry, I watched Sex in the City as a fan and dreamt about guest-starring on it. So when the series ended, I thought, “Well, there goes that dream.” As you can imagine, when Michael Patrick King offered me this role in a Zoom meeting last January, I was elated. I was so excited.