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Why Hollywood Needs To Do Better By Trans Actors

"Throwing a trans prostitute role into your project is not helping tell stories of what are struggle is really like," says "Transparent" actress Alexandra Grey.

We know trans actors are out there, and we know they're talented. But is Hollywood getting the message?

In a powerful new video written by actress and NewNowNext contributor Jen Richards, the stars of shows like Transparent, The Fosters, Young & Hungry, and Nashville call on the entertainment business to do better by the trans community, both in front of and behind the camera.

Part of "Our Hollywood," ScreenCrush's month-long series about transgender visibility in film and TV, the clip features Alexandra Billings, Trace Lysette, Elliot Fletcher, Alexandra Grey, Ian Harvie and other trans performers making their mark in Hollywood.

"For many young or closeted trans American, film and television the first or only time they see themselves," says Harvie. And when many of those representations are punchlines or plot twists, the results can be devastating.

"We often don't get cast for trans roles, and we almost never get cast to play cis roles," Grey, who's getting Emmy buzz for her guest turn on Transparent and Comedy Central's Drunk History, tells 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."

It's not just about casting trans actors, though. It's about giving them a chance to play a wide variety of roles.

"We are more than just the stereotypes—we're doctors, lawyers, businesspeople. Our stories are full and rich and we deserve to have those stories told. Throwing a trans prostitute role into your project is not helping tell stories of what are struggle is really like. We have to do better."

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