QUEER VOICES
06/20/2017 03:04 pm ET

New Video Breaks Down Why Hollywood Needs Transgender Actors

“When cis people play trans parts, they’re focused on playing trans. When we play a trans role, we play a character.”

The cultural debate over whether cisgender actors should be cast in transgender roles was reignited last week after audiences got a first look at “Anything,” which stars Matt Bomer as a trans woman. 

The film, which debuted at the Los Angeles Film Festival Saturday, has been mired in controversy ever since news of Bomer’s casting made headlines last year. It’s especially troubling given that talented transgender actors like Alexandra Grey, Elliott Fletcher and Ian Harvie have been able to make a splash in the film industry on their own. 

In the compelling video above, Grey, Fletcher and Harvie join a mélange of stars in breaking down the reasons that Hollywood should be more open to giving trans people their long-overdue moment in the spotlight. “For many young or closeted trans people, film and television is the first or only time that they see themselves,” Harvie, whose credits include “Transparent” and “Roadtrip Nation,” explains in the clip, which was produced by GLAAD and ScreenCrush.

“I have lost parts written for trans women to men,” Jen Richards (“Nashville”) explains, “because I don’t look ‘trans enough.’” Allowing those trans actors a crack at playing trans characters could be beneficially artistically, too. “When cis people play trans parts, they’re focused on playing trans,” Alexandra Billings (“Transparent”) says. “When we play a trans role, we play a character.”

Such an emphasis on trans representation could work wonders for the film industry as a whole, too: GLAAD’s 2017 Studio Responsibility Index found that only one out of 125 major movies released last year contained a transgender character. 

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