Laverne Cox, Chaz Bono and Alexandra Billings Grace Variety's Transgender Issue's Cover
Variety
Celebrity

The magazine exposes transgender discrimination in film and TV industry, and publishes an open letter to Hollywood.

AceShowbiz - Variety just published its latest issue which is dedicated to transgender community on Tuesday, August 7. Transgender celebrities Laverne Cox, Chaz Bono and Alexandra Billings were chosen to grace the magazine's special issue's cover and participate in a roundtable discussion. The latest issue of the magazine exposes transgender discrimination in film and television industry. It also discusses transgender representation in media in an open letter to Hollywood.

Laverne is positioned in between Chaz and Alexandra on the magazine's cover. She looks stunning in her purple shimmery dress. Chaz is seen standing on Laverne's left side and wearing a light blue blazer and a purple T-shirt, while Alexandra stands on the right side in her gray blazer and a white T-shirt. On top of them, the magazine's title reads, "Trans Hollywood".

In Variety's roundtable discussion, Laverne talked about how cis people get more opportunities to play transgender role in films than the real trans people. "If all things were equal, then everyone should be able to play character, but all things are not equal," the "Orange Is the New Black" actress said. "Yes we have freedom of speech, freedom of expression, but that freedom has consequences."

"When we see representations of cis people playing us over and over again, that reinforces the idea that trans women are not really women and trans men are not really men and non-binary people don't exist," Laverne explained. "And that is the basis of the discrimination that trans people experience."

She continued to explain how trans people had been treated differently by society, mentioning how the unemployment rate for trans people is three times higher than the national average. The actress also talked about President Donald Trump who tried to ban trans people from military.

"Right now in this country, in the first days of this year, 10 states introduced 21 pieces of legislation targeting trans people, mostly trying to limit our ability to go to the bathroom," the TV star revealed. "The current president is trying to ban us from the military, our unemployment rate is three times the national average."

The open letter, which was signed by 48 signatories including production companies, talent agencies, film studios and advocacy organizations, discussed transgender representation in media. People who signed the letter believed that films and television shows could improve society's mindset about trans people.

"Hollywood tells the stories that help people understand how to feel about themselves and how to feel about people around them who are different," the letter read. "As Roger Ebert said, film is an empathy machine. We know projects like 'Ellen', 'Will & Grace' 'Brokeback Mountain', 'Milk' and 'Moonlight' helped to break down stereotypes about gay and lesbian people. And the timeline for marriage equality would have been remarkably different without them."

"We believe that when trans people are empowered to help culture makers tell our authentic stories, it will improve how we are treated in the real world," the letter stated. "Those negative statistics above will become a part of our history, not our present."

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