In film and television, representation counts. When members of the trans community engage with cinematic narratives about their experiences, watching cisgender actors bring their stories to life often feels false, wrong, and damaging to them.
Most LGBTQ + people and their allies agree that there is no reason for cis performers to play trans characters, especially at a time when more trans and gender non-conforming actors are being cast than ever before. Hollywood still has a long way to go when it comes to queer representation. Fortunately, there are quite a few series and movies that break this barrier by providing opportunities for trans or non-binary actors.
10 Hunter Schafer In Euphoria (2019 – Present)
Hunter Schafer plays high school student Jules in Sam Levison’s award-winning but controversial HBO teen drama Euphoria. Jules becomes close friends with Zendaya’s main character, Rue, and their dynamic eventually turns into a romance.
Schafer, who is only 22 years old, made his acting debut with Euphoria. She plays an important role in the development of Jules, Jules even co-wrote. Euphoria special episode that debuted in early 2021.
9 Leyna Bloom at the Port Authority (2019)
Port Authority is Danielle Lessovitz’s independent coming-of-age drama, which has received some criticism for telling its story from the perspective of a cis man named Paul, played by Fionn Whitehead of Dunkirk fame. Paul is a resident of the Midwest who travels to the big city and falls in love with a woman named Wye, who reveals to Paul that she is trans.
Wye is played by Leyna Bloom, who ultimately steals the film from under Whitehead’s feet with her performance. Port Authority marks Bloom’s film debut, and indicates that more greatness will come from this newcomer.
8 Laverne Cox in orange is the new black (2013-2019)
Laverne Cox became the first openly trans performer to receive an Emmy nomination for her groundbreaking performance in Orange is the new black. Cox plays Sophia Burset in the long-running joint drama about life in a correctional facility for women.
Sophia, who ended up in jail for credit card fraud, is finally released and opens her own beauty salon. Cox’s career has taken off since he appeared on the series, and he has used his platform to advocate for the rights and visibility of trans people.
7 Daniela Vega in A Fantastic Woman (2017)
A fantastic woman won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film at the 90th Academy Awards. This heartbreaking story about a Chilean trans woman named Marina, who finds her life in trouble when her older partner, Orlando, dies.
Local authorities and Orlando’s family try to implicate Marina in Orlando’s death, and she is forced to endure a tortuous and unfair questioning. Daniela Vega, who is also a mezzo-soprano singer, offers the performance of her life in A fantastic woman.
6 Alex Blue Davis in Grey’s Anatomy (2005 – Present)
Trans man Alex Blue Davis plays a trans intern in Grey’s Anatomy. Davis’s recurring role as Dr. Casey Parker marks an important moment in television history, especially when Dr. Parker reveals it to his colleagues on the show.
Showrunner Krista Vernoff wrote the introduction scene with input from Davis. Davis returned as Dr. Parker in the main cast of the short-lived. Grey’s Anatomy: Team B.
5 Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in Tangerine (2015)
Kitana Kiki Rodríguez Gives Outstanding Performance as Sin-Dee Rella in Sean Baker’s Indie Drama Tangerine. Before he became famous for The Florida Project, Baker made this brave movie about a trans sex worker trying to survive on Christmas Eve.
Rodríguez is not the only trans actor to play a trans role in the film. Mya Taylor co-stars in the film as Alexandra, a sex worker partner.
4 Almost all cast members in pose (2018-present)
Pose has opened more doors for trans representation on television than any other series to date. The FX period drama about New York’s drag ballroom dance culture in the late 1980s and early 1990s features the largest cast of trans actors in history.
The show revolves around the character of Mj Rodríguez, Bianca, who lives with HIV and runs her own dance house: The House of Evangelista. Other trans actors featured on the show include Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Angelica Ross, and Hailie Sahar.
3 Hari Nef in Assassination Nation (2018)
Hari Nef had a prominent role on Amazon Transparent before being cast in Sam Levison’s feature film debut Murder nation. Nef plays Bex Warren, part of a tight-knit group of high school-age friends who reside in Salem, Massachusetts.
When a hacker begins to publish secrets about all the inhabitants of the city, the locals begin to confront each other. Bex and her team must defend themselves from the jocks, the police, and anyone else who wants to catch them.
two Alexandra Gray in Chicago Med (2015 – Present)
Alexandra Gray has appeared in quite a few television series over the years, from Empire to Transparent to Drunk story. One of his pioneering efforts to increase trans representations on television is in the popular NBC Medical Procedure. Chicago Med.
On the series, Gray has a recurring role as Denise Lockwood, the trans sister of charge nurse Maggie Campbell. In season two, Denise is admitted to Maggie’s hospital after being involved in a car accident.
1 Jen Richards in Mrs. Fletcher (2019)
Jen Richards is a more recent television actress who started on Caitlin Jenner’s reality television show. I am cait. From there, he starred in shows like better things Y Tales of the city.
Richards’ most recent role is playing trans creative writing instructor Margo Fairchild in Mrs. Fletcher, an HBO comedy miniseries based on Tom Perotta’s novel of the same name. The show stars Kathryn Hahn as a divorcee going through a midlife crisis.
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