It’s only been a week since NBC’s “The Voice” returned for the season 14 premiere and the reality-competition series is already making history by featuring their first trans contestant.
Angel Bonilla landed a spot on Adam Levine’s team Monday evening with her rendition of Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down.” Although viewers weren’t treated to the full performance, they did get a glimpse of Bonilla’s journey of accepting her identity.
“Growing up in a very conservative family, it was very difficult for my father,” the contestant told host Carson Daly. “When my dad saw me as a girl for the first time, he was puzzled. He’s not sure if I am his son, but he embraced me. I wanted my father to be proud of me, and I’m doing this to honor him.”
Bonilla went into further detail on her personal journey of discovering she was trans in her artist bio, found on the reality series’ website.
“At the age of 6, Angel, who was born a male, could not ignore her feminine soul and strong sense of being a girl. Coming from a conservative Catholic family in the Philippines, transitioning was not easy,” the website reads. “During this difficult time, Angel discovered her love of music. By the time she was 16 years old, Angel had transitioned into a beautiful young woman, and her family moved to the United States a few years later. Angel currently lives in Los Angeles, where she is pursuing the often difficult dream of becoming a singer.”
Bonilla is the first trans contestant to be featured on the U.S. version of the popular singing competition, but she follows in the footsteps of past contestants on the international versions of the show. According to the HuffPost, Jordan Gray was the first trans contestant to compete on “The Voice U.K.,” back in 2016 and in 2014, trans man Tom Atias competed on “The Voice Israel,” but he didn’t come out until after his audition.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.