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Superproducer Ryan Murphy's is making history once again. Pose, one of the many new series Murphy has in development, just announced that it will feature the largest cast of transgender actors ever to appear on a scripted cable television show.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the pilot of the show will feature "five transgender actors in series regular roles," all of whom will be playing transgender characters on-screen. Pose is set in New York City in 1986, and according to THR, follows its characters through the city's various different social scenes, including the luxury Trump-era universe, the downtown social and literary scene, and the ball culture world.
The American Horror Story producer and his team set out on a six-month nationwide search to find his cast, and the selected actors Indya Moore as Angel, model Dominique Jackson as Elektra, and Transparent-alums Hallie Sahar as Lulu and Angelica Ross as Candy. The Carrie Diaries' MJ Rodriguez will also star as Blanca, and you might have previous seen Rodriguez co-star in a W video we made with Mykki Blanco about HIV/AIDS stigma.
"We are thrilled that Pose pushes the narrative forward by centering on the unique and under-told experiences of trans women and gay people of color," says the show's writer, Steven Canals. “Ryan has assembled a strong team of storytellers and innovators to collaborate on telling this important narrative. As a Bronx-bred queer writer of color, I'm honored to aid in ushering this groundbreaking show into homes."
In addition to featuring transgender actors on-screen, Pose has plenty of trans voices behind the scenes, too. Canals is reportedly writing scripts in conjunction with Transparent's Our Lady J, as well as working with transgender rights activist and New York Times best-selling author Janet Mock. Murphy also plans to bring on emerging transgender directors through his "Directing Mentorship Program," a diversity initiative that pairs budding talent with mentors from the industry.
Considering transgender roles have historically been given to cisgender actors, this is a potential watershed moment for mainstream entertainment. As the video short #Proud2Be points out, this tradition not only denies trans actors opportunities and advancement, but it also reinforces harmful stereotypes and contributes to real-world violence against the trans community. Murphy famously cast two cis actors to play trans characters on Glee (and was met with some pretty harsh criticism), so his decision to keep things authentic seems to be a step in the right direction.
Though, FX has only committed to a pilot. Here's hoping a full series makes it to our screens.
"Hideaway" Is Mykki Blanco's Artful Exploration of HIV Stigma: