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Molly Kearney to Join ‘Saturday Night Live’ as First Nonbinary Cast Member

Molly Kearney performs onstage at the 2019 Clusterfest on June 21, 2019 in San Francisco, California
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Molly Kearney – who recently appeared as Fern Dannely in Abbi Jacobson’s A League of Their Own remake – is joining the Saturday Night Live cast as its first-ever nonbinary member.

The Cleveland-born actor and comedian uses gender-neutral pronouns, making them the first out nonbinary cast member in the show’s nearly 50-year-long history.

Related: Janelle Monáe comes out as nonbinary on ‘Red Table Talk.’

“Head exploding!! Thanks for all the love everyone,” Kearney shared on Instagram, according to The Washington Post.

Kearney is one of four new additions to the show. They’re set to join the cast alongside fellow newcomers  Marcello Hernandez, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker, according to NBC News. Premiering October 1, the sketch comedy show’s 48th season marks a big moment of transition for SNL, as seven members of the ensemble will not be returning.

Kearney has previously appeared in Disney+’s The Mighty Ducks. They also made waves at Comedy Central’s “Up Next,” which is an annual showcase of comedians selected from a nationwide search.

Kate McKinnon attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California
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Saturday Night Live’s history with LGBTQ2S+ cast members

Saturday Night Live has had a rocky history with LGBTQ2S+ cast members. Terry Sweeney and Danitra Vance made history in 1985, with Sweeney becoming the first out gay cast member on SNL and Vance becoming the show’s first lesbian cast member. Vance, however, was not out at the time, according to Advocate. Both of them left after just one season and another LGBTQ2S+ person did not join the cast for another 27 years.

When Kate McKinnon joined in 2012, she became the show’s first out queer female cast member, but her last episode aired in May during the 47th season’s finale. McKinnon has made her exit alongside Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Melissa Villaseñor, Alex Moffat and Aristotle Athari.

See also: LGBTQ2S+ celebs leading the way for positive representation.


More recently, SNL faced backlash from LGBTQ2S+ viewers for some alleged homophobic and transphobic jokes that aired in an episode hosted by John Krasinski. In the episode, Krasinski and Davidson shared a kiss as a punchline and viewers questioned why two cis men kissing should be funny. The criticism also escalated when Michael Che made transgender and gender non-conforming individuals the brunt of a joke about President Biden repealing Trump’s trans military ban during the “Weekend Update” segment.

Executive producer Lorne Michaels spoke with reporters backstage at the 74th annual Emmy Awards, according to PeopleIn the interview, Michaels said that the upcoming season will be an “exciting” time for the show as they welcome a “different generation.”

“There are new people, and things are changing, and a different generation comes to the show,” Lorne said.

You may also like: True Name feature enables transgender and nonbinary individuals to use their preferred name on credit cards.

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