EastEnders’ Riley Carter Millington reveals he suffered from panic attacks coming out as transgender


‘I was scared of dying as not the person I wanted to be’: EastEnders’ Riley Carter Millington reveals he suffered from panic attacks before coming out as transgender at 16

Riley Carter Millington has spoken about his journey towards coming out as transgender, revealing he suffered panic attacks.

The EastEnders actor, 28, who played Kyle on the show, became the first transgender man to play a transgender character in a UK soap.

Speaking on Loose Women, Riley became emotional as he recalled: ‘I was about 3 or 4, I used to wear my grandads suits.

Difficult: Riley Carter Millington has spoken about his journey towards coming out as transgender, revealing he suffered panic attacks

Difficult: Riley Carter Millington has spoken about his journey towards coming out as transgender, revealing he suffered panic attacks

‘I was always encouraged, I wasn’t forced to be one role or another, I was just a kid.”

He added: ‘Children play, it doesn’t mean anything. Just let kids be who they are. We all explore and that’s what I was allowed to do.’

He went on to reveal that he had first realised something was going on when he came out about his sexuality at 14 to his best friend, but didn’t feel the expected ‘relief’ because he ‘knew there was something else’.

Groundbreaking: The EastEnders actor, 28, who played Kyle on the show, became the first transgender man to play a transgender character in a UK soap

Groundbreaking: The EastEnders actor, 28, who played Kyle on the show, became the first transgender man to play a transgender character in a UK soap

Riley explained: ‘Yeah, it was just a case of “I can’t not live my life forever,” and I had panic attacks because I was scared of dying as not the person I wanted to be.

‘I wanted to be an old man with a wife, not a woman with a husband.’Riley discussed how he came out to his family, describing them as ‘amazing’ but admitting ‘it was still scary as hell’.

He joked: ‘I used to play If I Were A Boy again and again, to hope my mum would pick it up from that. I told her in the middle of Peacocks because I was scared of a reaction.’

Realisation: He went on to reveal that he had first realised something was going on when he came out about his sexuality at 14 to his best friend, but didn't feel the expected 'relief' because he 'knew there was something else'

Realisation: He went on to reveal that he had first realised something was going on when he came out about his sexuality at 14 to his best friend, but didn’t feel the expected ‘relief’ because he ‘knew there was something else’

He explained: ‘I was petrified because you think oh my god my family are going to disown me, fortunately that wasn’t the case for me, but unfortunately or some that does happen.’

Riley said he was glad for his EastEnders character, to normalize transgender roles and added: ‘Now we need to blend into normal life, doesn’t always have to be a big character with a tragic story.’

He was on the soap for just over a year, but has admitted in the past that he wanted a different path for his character. 

Speaking to The Sun, he said: ‘I was disappointed it was not shown that Kyle had a normal life. He had the big coming-out story and it was dramatic and emotional, but we didn’t get to see a happy ending, like a relationship of any sort other than the reunion with his half-sister, Stacey. It was frustrating.’ 

‘I felt I let myself and the fans down as I could have pushed for something. It’s a shame to have gay characters and then you have to say goodbye.’ 

Wanted more: He was on the soap for just over a year, but has admitted in the past that he wanted a different path for his character

Wanted more: He was on the soap for just over a year, but has admitted in the past that he wanted a different path for his character

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