'Roseanne' star Ames McNamara on his gender non-conforming character: 'I believe that everyone should express themselves'

Ames McNamara plays Mark, who likes wearing girl's clothes.

April 3, 2018, 9:30 AM

The "Roseanne" actor who plays Darlene's gender non-conforming son on the show is speaking out about his character.

"Mark's just a normal kid," Ames McNamara said today on "Good Morning America." "He likes to do art, he likes playing basketball and wearing girls' clothes is just a small part of Mark."

Ames said he knew a little about gender identity before taking on the role.

"I was aware that certain people liked to wear clothes from the opposite gender," he explained. "I knew a kid who was like that in a play that I did, but I wasn't aware of the term."

Ames McNamara, who plays Darlene's son, Mark on the reboot of "Roseanne," stopped by ABC's "Good Morning America" April 3, 2018.

Since its premiere, the show has ignited important conversations such as how to talk to young children about gender identity.

While Mark's preferences create mixed feelings in the Conner household, show producers like his TV mom Sara Gilbert says he's just a little boy who likes to wear "traditionally feminine clothing."

"He's too young to be gay and he doesn't identify as transgender," Gilbert told Entertainment Weekly."

Ames said he is having "so much fun" since joining the "Roseanne" family.

"Roseanne is a great actress, but what I love about her the most is that she treats me like a fellow actor, not just a kid. For example, if a joke was funny and they took it out she would be like, 'Ames that joke was funny. Let's get that back in.'"

Roseanne Barr, Ames McNamara and Laurie Metcalf in a scene from the reboot of "Roseanne."
Greg Gayne via Getty Images

An estimated 18.2 million viewers watched the show's premiere last week -- 10 percent more than the 1997 finale, according to Nielsen. ABC has already renewed the series for a second season.

Ames said he has finished taping the show and is back at school.

"I'm still Ames to [my friends], it hasn't really changed," he said. "I personally don't wear girls' clothes, but I respect anyone who does. I believe that everyone should express themselves however that may be."

He added, "I'm so excited to go back for a second season."

The new episode of "Roseanne" airs on ABC tonight at 8 p.m. ET.

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