Transgender Community Stands Against Underrepresentation in Hollywood and Film Industry

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Gianna Schiavo, Staff Writer

The transgender community, especially transgender men, have been underrepresented in Hollywood for years. Transgender actors are constantly told that directors will never cast them and, on the rare occasion that they are chosen for a role, they are given a charcter with no depth; a character that has been in a thousand other movies. Transgender people have flown under the radar for years. Always there, but never seen. However, they are now coming out to educate the film industry in Hollywood on how to accurately depict the trans community, the lives they live, and the people that they are.  Hollywood has predominantly casted cisgender actors to play cisgender charcters, and that has been the extent of the people represented in television and films. Now, transgender actors have come out to call out Hollywood for the lack of representation and the misrepresentation of transgender people in the film industry.  In 2014, Laverne Cox was on The New York Times magazine with the headline, “The Transgender Tipping Point.”  Since then, the number of transgender women working in Hollywood has increased tremendously, but the same cannot be said for trans men. Since most trans men are not recognized, there has been little representation of them in Hollywood, and their “tipping point” has just come.  

As trans men have brought attention to their lack of representation, the idea of a leading man has changed drastically to fit into the 21st century.  Hollywood has made it a habit to show the same type of male figure over and over again. The one dimensional character who is a “manly man,” rough around the edges, a bit rude, and infinitely tough.  This idea of what a man should be has come to be over the years and, although slowly, Hollywood has begun to show male characters with layers, and casted trans actors to portray these characters. Trans males have taught Hollywood that masculinity means something different to everyone, and they need to start showcasing all of the different meanings that masculinity has.  

As Hollywood continues to evolve and catch up with the modern world, the number of trans actors and characters has been on a steady rise.  Social media has played a significant role in the newfound representation of transgender people in Hollywood.  People and celebrities alike have used their voices to bring awareness to the underrepresentation of trans people, and continue to push Hollywood to represent all.  Leo Sheng, a transgender actor, has used his platform to educate people on the representational issues that transgender people face in the film industry. Using his platform to reinforce positive messages, Sheng has reminded us all that people come in all different shapes, sizes and colors, and in this case genders, but you are not to judge someone based on these attributes. 


Disclaimer: Article pulls upon coverage from the New York Times and the Associated Press.