Jessica Jones season 3 introduces the MCU's first transgender character, played by a trans actress. Marvel Comics has always prided itself on being set in "the world outside your window," albeit with the addition of superheroes; that naturally means diversity is pretty much baked into the Marvel formula. As such, it's hardly a surprise that the future of the comic-inspired Marvel Cinematic Universe involves diversity, both on the big and small screen.
This is one area where Marvel Television is ahead of the game. American-Asian actress Chloe Bennet, for example, has pretty much become the star of Marvel's flagship TV series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; both Cloak & Dagger and Luke Cage have explored themes of racial inequality and social justice; and Jessica Jones features the MCU's first explicitly lesbian character, Jeri Hogarth. What's more, Marvel TV series have frequently hired transgender actresses such as Shakina Nayfack and MJ Rodriguez. Jessica Jones season 3 marks another milestone for diversity in the wider MCU.
Jessica Jones season 3 introduces Gillian, Jessica's new assistant, a trans woman played by trans actress Aneesh Sheth. The relationship between Jessica and Gillian is an entertaining one; Gillian is snarky and sassy, using her quick wit to keep others at arm's length, which makes her a perfect companion for Jessica. Although she affects not to care one iota about Jessica, even packing her things up at one point with the intention of walking away, the truth is that Gillian is someone who cares too much. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Gillian's backstory is the fact that it's never discussed; as Sheth explained in an interview with iNews, "There’s no mention of her being trans within the show, nor a narrative around her identity. Which I think is wonderful because trans people exist in the world and it’s not always about their [trans] narrative."
Shesh is originally from Prune, India, but she moved to America as a child; she's a piano player and classical singer, complete with experience on Broadway. Shesh has a Master's degree in social work, and she divides her time between her acting career and working as a youth counselor helping LGBT people at the suicide-prevention charity The Trevor Project. To her delight, showrunner Melissa Rosenberg consulted closely with her while crafting the character of Gillian and her backstory. "Marginalized actors are getting the power to create narratives within shows like this," Shesh observed.
Hopefully the movies will soon begin to catch up in terms of diversity as well. In truth, Marvel Studios has come in for heavy criticism for the relative lack of diversity in its first decade; until Black Panther, black superheroes were relegated to sidekicks, and it took 11 years for the MCU to release its first female-led superhero film, Captain Marvel. Both films grossed over $1 billion at the global box office, proving that there's a significant demand for diversity in Hollywood.