Casting Society Of America Announces First-Ever Open Call For Transgender Actors

"Trans people have worked hard to hone their craft, but rarely get the chance to be seen."

Trans visibility in Hollywood just got a big boost: The Casting Society of America has launched an open casting call for transgender and nonbinary actors.

On October 22, casting directors in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, London, and other major cities will open their studios to audition union and nonunion performers.

“Trans people have worked hard to hone their craft, but rarely get the chance to be seen since so few are represented,” Ann Thomas, founder of Transgender Talent, a listing service for trans and gender-nonbinary artists and actors, told the L.A. Times.

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The landmark open call comes after years of criticism that trans actors were being denied the chance to play trans (and cisgender) parts. While Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent) and Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) earn awards for playing transgender women, actual trans actresses are told

“The reasoning that a non-diverse ’star’ gets to play a diverse role is because there weren’t enough talented, diverse options is an industry myth,” says Casting Society Vice President Russell Boast. “We’re going to do something about that.”

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Earlier this year, a number of trans actors—including Alexandra Billings, Elliot Fletcher, Alexandra Grey and Ian Harvie—filmed a PSA asking Hollywood to give them an opportunity.

“We often don’t get cast for trans roles, and we almost never get cast to play cis roles,” Grey (Transparent, Drunk History) told NewNowNext. “This sets us back further as a community. There are so many talented trans women and men capable of doing these roles justice. If we can’t play cis roles at least allow us to portray our own stories.”

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