Trans actress Laverne Cox spoke on a roundtable for Variety and discussed the glaring absence of LGBTQ representation in superhero movies. Luckily for queer fans, she’s trying to change that.
On the panel, which included other transgender people in the industry, Cox was asked why there hasn’t been a trans character in a superhero movie yet. The actress and activist responded, “I’m working on it.” She added, “We’re all ready to be the next superhero, so call our representatives.”
Trace Lysette, of Transparent fame, quipped, “Maybe it’s a squad.”
Later, the panelists were asked about the Rub & Tug controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson, and if cisgender people should be allowed to play trans roles. In an eloquent response, Cox said, “I think if all things were equal, then everyone should be able to play every character.” She added, “But all things are not equal. As an artist, I don’t ever want someone telling me that I shouldn’t play something.”
Jen Richards, best known for playing Allyson Del Lago in Nashville, piggybacked on Cox’s comments. She said, “Every time a casting director chooses a cis person to play a trans part, they’re reinforcing one of two notions. If they cast a cis woman, they’re ultimately saying a trans man is a kind of woman. If they cast a cis man, they are saying a trans woman is a kind of man.”
Richards elaborated, “And those are dangerous consequences that we’re talking about. It reinforces the notion that we’re duplicitous, that we’re a threat. That trans women are really men in good hair and makeup, that trans men either don’t exist or are just butch women in a suit.”