Ryan Murphy Assembles Largest Transgender Cast On Television For FX’s “Pose”

The series will examine different social classes in 1980s New York.

Ryan Murphy has yet another series coming to television, and this one will make television history: Set in the 1980s, Pose will feature five transgender leads, the largest ever for a scripted series.

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Deadline reports casting director Alexa Fogel led a six-month nationwide search for the show’s trans stars: MJ Rodriguez (Blanca) has appeared on Nurse Jackie, The Carrie Diaries, Luke Cage and the film Saturday Church alongside Inaya Moore (Angel). Dominique Jackson (Elektra) is a ball performer and fashion model. Hailie Sahar, below, will play Lulu and has appeared on Mr. Robot and Transparent, where Angelica Ross (Candy) has also had a role.


Also appearing in the series are Tatiana Maslany, Evan Peters, Kate Mara, James Van Der Beek, Billy Porter, Ryan Jamaal Swain and Dyllon Burnside.

Pose juxtaposes several strata of society during the Reagan years—from the downtown arts scene to the wolves of Wall Street. Murphy co-created the show with Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, and American Crime Story collaborators Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson are co-producing.

Murphy is also apparently mindful of the current debate on who can tell trans people’s stories: Transgender writer-director Silas Howard (By Hook or By Crook) has been tapped to co-executive produce, and ball stars Michael Roberson and Twiggy Pucci Garçon will help develop authentic stories and bring performers from within the ball community. (Vogue legends Hector Xtravaganza, Skylar King, and Sol Williams have also been tapped as consultants.)

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“We are thrilled that Pose pushes the narrative forward by centering on the unique and under-told experiences of trans women and gay people of color,” says Canals, above. “Ryan has assembled a strong team of storytellers and innovators to collaborate on telling this important narrative. As a Bronx-bred queer writer of color, I’m honored to aid in ushering this groundbreaking show into homes.”

The series will also be directed by emerging transgender directors through Murphy’s mentorship program and feature choreography from vogue star Leiomy Maldonado and Danielle Polanco.

The pilot for Pose, coming to FX, will go into production next month.

Earlier this month, the Casting Society of America announced its first ever open-casting call for transgender actors and actresses.

“We often don’t get cast for trans roles, and we almost never get cast to play cis roles,” trans actress Alexandra Grey 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.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.