Transmasculine people have been working in Hollywood for a long time. Silas Howard and Harry Dodge‘s film By Hook or By Crook played at Sundance back in 2002, and there were most certainly transmasculine people involved in film and TV production before that. However, representation of trans men and transmasculine people on screen has been minimal.
(In this post, the word transmasculine will mean anyone assigned female at birth who is trans, and that includes trans men, non-binary people, and people who don’t use either of those labels but have this lived experience.)
In some ways it’s been a privilege for transmasculine people to be invisible in Hollywood. Director Sam Feder’s documentary Disclosure (which you can watch on Netflix) shows how inauthentic, defamatory Hollywood portrayals of trans women and transfeminine people created toxic stereotypes that disproportionately harm them today. We clearly need more authentic stories about trans women and transfeminine people in order to undo and counter the harm caused by 100 years of misrepresentation in film and TV.
But, as Disclosure also makes clear, invisibility can also negatively affect transmasculine people who want to see our stories reflected on screen. Lack of visibility makes it difficult for transmasculine people to find ourselves and our community, and it also creates a world in which people don’t even believe we exist.
GLAAD and Outfest were happy to partner with Sundance to create a panel of transmasculine creatives as part of this year’s FREE virtual Queer House at Sundance, which is open to the public. Moderated by Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Representation, this panel features eight transmasculine people working both in front of and behind the camera in Hollywood. The discussion focuses on the price of invisibility, but also on the opportunity to tap a well of transmasculine talent and stories that haven’t yet been told.
Our panelists are Sydney Baloue, Elliot Feliciano, Alex Schmider, Yance Ford, Scott Turner Schofield, D’Lo, Leo Sheng, and Bobbi Salvör Menuez. This diverse panel of experienced creators only scratches the surface of the talented trans men and transmasculine people working in Hollywood today.
Check out the panel on the Sundance site now — and we’ll post it here when it becomes more widely available.
Then get to know more transmasculine creators whose stories you can enjoy right now, and who you can include in your crew, cast, project, or studio! GLAAD can connect you with dozens of transmasculine writers, directors, editors, crew, and actors for your projects.
Additionally, we’ve asked transmasculine creators to drop their info in this Twitter thread so we can expand our list of talent even further.
We're proud to partner with @outfest to present this #Sundance panel focusing on trans men & non-binary people who are still underrepresented on TV & film. These diverse storytellers share how their work provides a perspective culture makers are missing. https://t.co/Lfwhx1cveU pic.twitter.com/zNiUE3E9q3
— GLAAD (@glaad) January 30, 2021
Thank you to all the panelists for continuing this important conversation, and to panel producer Bowie Starr, and Kliff Svatos who edited the panel. (Trans talent behind the scenes here too!)