Isaiah Stannard is an American actor who rose to fame for his role as Ben Marks on on NBC’s runaway sensation Good Girls.
Stannard got a start to his career as a voice actor, lending his voice to cartoons. From there he would go on to dub translations for foreign films and TV shows such as the role of Young Carl Sagan in the film Star Stuff. He also landed several small parts in films including Party Dress and Brad’s Status. Brad’s status saw him starring alongside big Jenna Fisher, Michael Sheen, Luke Wilson and Ben Stiller.
Gender Identity and Good Girls
It was his breakout role as Ben Marks that would really see the actor’s personal life intertwine with the character he plays. Stannard is a transgender actor, and uses the pronouns he/him. His gender identity has not been a barrier for this young star, and in his role as Ben Marks, it would become a crucial part of the character’s own gender identity
When Izzy was originally cast for the role, nobody knew they were transgender. Nobody realised that the young actor would transition or that his physical appearance would alter so drastically.
Telling a Compassionate Story
Bans saw an opportunity to gently and compassionately tell the story of a transgender child, without it being the central focus of the series. The creators consulted extensively with GLAAD to ensure that the portrayal of Ben’s story was told accurately and compassionately.
Ben’s coming out remains one of the most heartfelt moments of the show. During the birth of his younger sibling, Annie shouts “Yay! It’s a boy!”. There is a moment’s pause from Mark before he quietly says:
“So am I. Still going by Sadie at the moment”
Annie then gives the boy a hug in a showing of immediate and unshakeable support for her child. However, this is not the case for Ben’s father. He dismisses the boy’s gender identity and advises his ex-wife Annie to get the boy into “treatment”.
This tension would build between the two as Annie would struggle to fund Ben’s transition related care, even though his father could quite easily afford to help.
A Supportive Family
In Stannard’s own personal life, coming out was less tumultuous. His mother Kristin Johansen and partner Warren Marsh helped the young star and fully supported his decision. When asked about coming to terms with her son’s transition Kristin stated:
“I think some people were saying, maybe he is going to be trans. Maybe he was going to be this or that, because we live in such a liberal climate. I was simply saying ‘Hey, let’s let Isaiah tell us’”
That unwavering support from his family has certainly given the young star a solid support network to fall back on in what can be a scary time for LGBTQ+ people. Stannard himself confirms this:
“I always felt that my family was there for me, and just by being more open with them about who I am, it has only improved our relationship”