Hollyoaks set to explore teen gender identity in trailblazing storyline for 12-year-old Rose Lomax

UK soap Hollyoaks has confirmed that young character Rose Lomax, played by Ava Webster, will open up about questioning their gender identity in a new plot.

The storyline, set to begin next week, will see the 12-year-old schoolgirl discuss their gender with new friend and out trans character Kitty Draper (Iz Hesketh).

The drama starts when Rose’s sister Dee Dee will find an identification document in Kitty’s bag with a different name on it. When she appears perplexed, Rose explains that it’s perfectly normal for people who are transitioning to experiment with alternative names.

Rose decides to ask Kitty about her journey as a trans woman, and the latter becomes teary as she explains that her father walked out on her when she was just 14, because of her decision to transition.

Sensing that the revelation has left Rose feeling uncomfortable, Kitty asks whether there is anything she would like to discuss, but the pair are interrupted by Rose’s mum Diane.

Rose Lomax (Ava Webster) will open up about about gender in Hollyoaks. (Lime Pictures)

Later scenes will have Rose deciding to open up to Kitty about the fact that they are questioning their own gender identity.

When Rose decides to speak to Diane and father Tony, Kitty offers advice to the parents on how best to support Rose.

Dee Dee will also help to affirm Rose’s gender identity and offers to cut their hair.

While non-binary and trans representation in British soaps is still low, Hollyoaks has very much led the way.

Alongside Rose and Kitty, regular character Sally St. Claire, who was introduced in 2015, became the first character to be portrayed by a trans actress (Annie Wallace) in a British soap.

Trans actress Annie Wallace led the way on Hollyoaks. (Getty/Jeff Spicer)

And last year, Hollyoaks character Phoenix Hathaway came out as a trans man, to reflect the off-screen transition of actor Tylan Grant.

Hathaway had previously come out as non-binary on the show, after Grant came out as non-binary in 2021.

Former character Ripley Lennox, who was Hathaway’s partner, was also depicted as non-binary.

Ki Griffin, who played Lennox, is non-binary and intersex, and is currently telling trans stories on the big screen in the short film, Kindred.

Hollyoaks has a track record of tackling difficult topics and issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.

Most recently, gay character John Paul McQueen began a long-running storyline in which he became entangled with a group offering so-called gay conversion therapy.

The show has also featured a number of drag stars, including Drag Race UK favourites Danny Beard and Tia Kofi.

Hollyoaks airs at 7pm Mondays to Fridays on E4 and is available to stream on Channel 4.

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