Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



Quantum Leap reboot springs into LGBTQ+ representation
by Jerry Nunn

This article shared 9358 times since Fri Feb 9, 2024
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Through the magic of television, Quantum Leap is once again jumping into the past to bounce back into the future—and in a recent episode, "The Family Trasure," non-binary artist and performer Wilder Yuri and writer Shakina Nayfack are along for the very wild ride.

The episode, which aired on NBC Feb. 6 and is now available on the streamer Peacock, focuses on a treasure hunt in Mexico in 1953, and introduces a character named Dean portrayed by Yari.

Yari was born in Brooklyn and moved to Los Angeles a few years ago to pursue acting and directing. They have appeared on The CW's 4400 in the past and are currently on ABC's Grownish; Yari will also be on Netflix's The Lincoln Lawyer for the third season.

Nayfack, executive story editor for season two of Quantum Leap, uses she and they pronouns and was born in southern California. She recently moved back to Los Angeles after living in New York for 12 years, where she worked as a playwright and developed musical theater.

Nayfack was also a series regular for two seasons of Hulu's Difficult People and was the first trans person to star in a major network comedy show with NBC's Connecting. She previously wrote, directed and starred in episode 12 of the new Quantum Leap's first season, "Let Them Play," which also had a trans-focused storyline.

She admitted that the Quantum Leap production team approached "Let Them Play" with a good deal of intention.

"The first episode we were so precious and careful about because it was the first time we were telling a trans-centered storyline on Quantum Leap," she explained. "It went well and we received a lot of input from the community."

As such, by the time "The Family Treasure" came around, "We knew what we were doing and that was very freeing," Nayfack added. "I wasn't directing this episode, which I love to do, but Jude Weng was an incredible director for my writing. What we learned from round one is that everyone wants this to work and everyone was onboard to tell a trans story."

"The Family Treasure" follows a character on a family treasure hunt who cannot yet explain their true self to their family.

"They eventually learn how to come out and it's so empowering," Nayfack said. "It is full of trans joy, and I think that is what resonated with people for ["Let Them Play"]. It's a trans story that is not coded in trauma and dripping with pain, like some stories in the past. It was a fun way to use tropes of my favorite stories and have the trans person be everyone's hero."

"The Family Treasure" was launched when the producers tasked Nayfack with preparing a story and script with an accelerated production schedule following the end of the WGA strike.

Nayfack recalled, "They wanted something like the movie Romancing the Stone with a non-binary character. Indiana Jones and Goonies were reference points for me and also Adventures in Babysitting with the sibling dynamic. I just made the story trans and bam, there it was!"

Yari said the episode "was a dream come true and that is not a coached answer. This was one of the best sets I have ever been on. Right away everyone was incredibly lovely and warm."

Yari loved the dynamic that play out with their character. They explained, "If someone chooses to come out to family and loved ones, it should be a joyous moment, as opposed to asking for permission or acceptance. My character of Dean did not need approval and we can all learn from that."

Yari met Nayfack at their first costume fitting. They recalled, "when I walked into the room there was a stunning, six-foot-tall Amazon. I felt safe right away. Everyone took care of me, but especially Shakina, who was on the set, and made sure my lighting was adjusted properly. This allowed me to give a good performance and reminded me of why trans representation in front and behind the camera is so important."

Nayfack praised series regular Mason Alexander Pack and noted that "the crew is used to working with a non-binary actor," adding, "We created a culture where people could be forgiving when someone messes up a pronoun. I encouraged them to apologize for the mistake and then move on, which is more comfortable than an over-policed environment. It was a graceful place to work in for trans and cis people, but sometimes new territory for everyone."

Yari advises non-binary performers to search for their tribe in the entertainment industry.

"I am very lucky that there is a strong network of queer performers out in Los Angeles who support me," they explained. "There are not a huge amount of roles written for us, so it creates a competition where there doesn't need to be. I have lost roles to friends of mine, but I am happy for them instead of thinking there is something wrong with me or being jealous."

Nayfack added, "If you are a trans or non-binary performer, think about creating work and opportunity everywhere you go, not just for yourself, but for others. It is within our power to stop this scarcity of roles and set a new bar for inclusion."

There are many more LGBQT+ stories to be told within the Quantum Leap universe, she added. "I am bursting with ideas for myself as an actor, writer and director. I can't wait for more opportunities in the future!"

This article shared 9358 times since Fri Feb 9, 2024
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Oklahoma non-binary student dies after being assaulted
Officials acknowledged there are unresolved questions about a 16-year-old non-binary Oklahoma student who died one day after a fight in a high school bathroom, NBC News noted. Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, ...

Gay News

Center on Halsted to host trans youth & family summit
Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., has announced that its Trans Youth & Family Summit 2024 will take place March 16. This year marks the sixth annual event, which partners between Youth Services' Pride Youth ...

Gay News

WORLD South Africa murder, lesbian couple, Brianna Ghey, Eurovision
In South Africa, LGBTQ+-rights groups condemned the brutal murder of Diego Jacobs, a queer man in Cape Town, The Washington Blade reported. Reports indicate Jacobs, 21, was brutally murdered (reportedly by a former neighbor) on Feb. ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Utah board member, Baths founder dies, Fla. protests, DoJ equity plan
Utah's Republican governor and lieutenant governor urged the State Board of Education to take action against a conservative board member whose social-media post questioning the gender of a high school basketball player incited threats against the ...

Gay News

Human Rights Campaign report releases new data on experiences of Black queer youth
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released a report in ...

Gay News

Col. Jennifer Pritzker comments on military museum move
Local transgender philanthropist Col. Jennifer Pritzker commented to Windy City Times about the impending move of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library (PMML), which she founded in 2003, to Wisconsin. "At the end of the day, ...

Gay News

THEATER Dot-Marie Jones talks Goodman production, 'Glee,' 'Bros'
Running through Feb. 18 at the the Goodman Theatre, the production Highway Patrol works with a script conceived entirely from Emmy-winning actor Dana Delany's (TV's China Beach) digital archive of hundreds of tweets and direct messages ...

Gay News

Coalition of LGBTQ+ advocates, health care providers release Project RAINBOW report
--From a press release - SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A coalition of more than two dozen LGBTQ+ advocate organizations and health care providers are releasing a new report aimed at addressing the challenges and discrimination that ...

Gay News

Republicans file bill to ban trans women from U.S. Olympic teams
Republicans in both houses of Congress have launched another effort to ban transgender women and girls from female sports teams—and this time, they are attempting to ban trans women from competing on U.S. Olympic teams ahead ...

Gay News

GLAAD finds missed chances for LGBTQ+ inclusion in Super Bowl ads
--From a press release - Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024 — GLAAD is reacting to a lack of LGBTQ storytelling in ads that aired duringSuper Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11 and is reminding brands, corporations and advertising agencies why including the LGBTQ ...

Gay News

New US Trans Survey highlights importance of gender-affirming care and societal acceptance
After surveying 92,329 people in 2022, the early insights gleaned from the 2022 U.S. Trans Survey (USTS) have been released—and they highlight just how much impact gender-affirming care can have. The USTS, which was last completed ...

Gay News

SAVOR 'The Bear,' new pizza lounge, Chicago Black Restaurant Week
"Bear" necessities: The third season of the Chicago-set series The Bear will debut in June, per Variety. FX chairman John Landgraf made the announcement during the network's presentation at the Television Critics Association's winter 2024 press ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Texas court, police chief, Gentili memorial, Philly controversy
The Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments challenging Senate Bill 14, the ban on gender-affirming care that went into effect last September, KERA reported. SB 14 blocks trans minors from accessing gender-affirming medical care, such as ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Raven-Symone, women's sports, Wayne Brady, Jinkx Monsoon, British Vogue
In celebration of Black History Month, the LA LGBT Center announced that lesbian entertainer Raven-Symone will be presented with the Center's Bayard Rustin Award at its new event, Highly Favored, per a press release. She joins ...

Gay News

GLAAD remembers Cecilia Gentili, transgender Latina, actress, activist, health care activist, journalist
--From a press release - (New York, NY - February 6, 2024) GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, is responding to the death of transgender actress and advocate Cecilia Gentili and elevating voices of transgender and political leaders honoring ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.