Hunter Schafer wants to make art that’s not about being trans

Hunter Schafer may have earned household fame through her complex portrayal of the trans character Jules in Euphoria, but in a recent profile with GQ, she touches on the all-too familiar frustrations of being professionally labeled with her trans identity.

Before she was famous, Schafer was an activist — the youngest plaintiff named in a 2016 lawsuit against North Carolina over the state’s anti-trans bathroom bill. Long after that bill (HB2) was repealed, the memory of it continued to shadow Schafer’s blossoming acting career.

“I felt like I had to make my art a response to everything that was happening in North Carolina when that’s not really what I wanted to be making art about, necessarily,” she said. “I think I felt like, ‘Oh, I’m trans. I should be making art about this.’”

But after transiting, Schafer became impatient to move on toward a future where being trans is considered mundane. To get there, she has treated her career as though that future has already come to pass. “It has not just happened naturally by any means,” she said. “If I let it happen, it would still be giving ‘Transsexual Actress’ before every article ever.” 

She has even reached the point of using the word ‘trans’ as little as possible. “As soon as I say it, it gets blast-off,” she explained. “It took a while to learn that and it also took a while to learn that I don’t want to be [reduced to] that, and I find it ultimately demeaning to me and what I want to do. Especially after high school, I was sick of talking about it. I worked so hard to get to where I am, past these really hard points in my transition, and now I just want to be a girl and finally move on.

“It’s a privilege, but it’s been very intentional,” she added. “I’ve gotten offered tons of trans roles, and I just don’t want to do it. I don’t want to talk about it.”

While Schafer’s desire to be seen as more than trans is perfectly relatable, she’s by no means ignorant of the fact that she has a responsibility as a person with a platform in a time when trans rights are under assault. “I know for a fact that I’m one of the most famous trans people in media right now, and I do feel a sense of responsibility, and maybe a little bit of guilt, for not being more of a spokesperson,” Schafer said.

“But ultimately, I really do believe that not making it the centerpiece to what I’m doing will allow me to get further. And I think getting further and doing awesome sh*t, in the interest of ‘the movement,’ will be way more helpful than talking about it all the time.”

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