Tuesday, over 45 different agencies associated with the entertainment industry signed an open letter that outlined a plan to advance trans representation in Hollywood. Per Variety, which printed the letter in full, the organizations GLAAD and 5050by2020, a company that hopes to get gender representation to 50/50 by the year 2020, wrote the letter. The letter was signed by agencies ICM, WME, UTA, and CAA as well as a number of production companies. SAG-AFTRA, the actor's union, also signed, as did the Casting Society of America.
"Women, people of color, people with disabilities, and diverse faith groups have made it clear they want more authentic stories about their lives in films and on TV. Trans people feel the same way," the letter reads.
Regarding the letter, Transparent creator Jill Soloway told Variety that they hope the letter will lay out an official code — with this letter in place, filmmakers can look to something to guide them in their inclusive casting.
"We’re creating a moment where a producer or a studio might think to cast a cis person in a role as a trans person and say, ‘I read that letter and it’s actually not okay anymore … the moral code has changed around this,'" they explained.
Speaking with Variety for their Transgender Actors Roundtable, Nashville actress Jen Richards illustrated why every casting choice has implications and consequences: "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. And those are dangerous consequences that we’re talking about. It reinforces the notion that we’re duplicitous, that we’re a threat."