#TransWeek: Trans stories and creators to watch in 2019

By |
November 11, 2019

2019 has been one of the biggest years for transgender representation in media. Check out GLAAD's Where We Are on TV Report to see that there are 26 regular and recurring transgender characters across cable, broadcast, and streaming platforms. However, there is still a long way to go as trans characters only represent 6% of the 433 regular and recurring LGBQ scripted ones. Helping move the needle of trans representation, though, are trans creators telling diverse stories across mediums. To highlight some of the shows, series, movies, books, and projects of all genres released this year from and featuring trans creators on and off cable, broadcast, and streaming, GLAAD compiled a list of some media you may have missed and creators to watch.

Don't see some of your favorites? Let us know by using the hashtag #TransLoveStories on social media to bring more awareness to support the creators and share the stories you love to see.

ICYMI: Trans Told Stories in 2019

Across, Beyond, and Over A hybrid documentary about two trans men who used to date in middle school reconnecting over a long weekend as they develop a film about their past. (Short)
Directed by Brit Fryer and Nona Schamus.

Adam A coming-of-age feature film comedy about encountering love, friendship, and hard truths. Outfest: Outstanding Directing in a U.S. Feature; Grand Jury Special Mention for Directing.
Directed by Rhys Ernst; trans cast includes Leo Sheng, Bobbi Salvor Menuez, Jari Jones, MJ Rodriguez, Dana Aliya Levinson

America in Transition A documentary series exploring relationships, community, and social issues with trans people of color.
All trans cast and crew.

Changing the Game A feature documentary that takes us into the lives of three high school athletes—all at different stages of their athletic seasons, personal lives, and their unique paths as transgender teens. Among Grand Jury Award Prizes nationwide, Outfest and Frameline Audience Awards for Best Documentary Feature.
Produced by Alex Schmider; all trans cast.

Denim On a regular day at school, Micayla is outed by a former friend turned rival. (Short)
Directed by Daryen Ru; starring Jazz Jennings

Eat Rich A comedy / horror film following a latinx trans woman, Rose, on her first day as a zombie when she must decide who to eat. (Short)
Including: Ash Barker, Bea Cordelia, Evie Riojas, Rae Hamilton-Vargo

Femenina A dedicated boxer begins training with and falling for a transgender woman. (Short)
Written & directed by Ilana Mittleman; starring Nava Mau

Flamingo Rampant! 2019 Childrens Book Set Celebratory, positive books about LGBTQ communities. The playful stories, beautiful illustrations and equity-focused messages make these books nutritious and delicious for kids 4-8.
Publisher S. Bear Bergman; trans authors and illustrators.

Framing Agnes Trans artists gained access to a 1950s archive of never-before-seen life histories of transgender people. Through reenactment and documentary, they revive the past to redefine the future. (Short) Premiered at Tribeca. 2019 Audience Awards: Best Experimental Short - Outfest Los Angeles; Best Documentary Short - Seattle Transgender Film Festival.
Directed by Chase Joynt; starring Zackary Drucker, Angelica Ross, Silas Howard, Max Wolf Valerio

Gender Spectrum Collection A stock photo library featuring images of trans and non-binary models that go beyond the clichés.
Created by Zackary Drucker

Here With You A sweet t4t film that offers a positive portrayal of trans romance. (Short)
Directed by Nona Schamus; written, produced, and starring Morgan Sullivan (Writer/Producer/Lead Actor); DP Easton Carter Angle; starring Zenobia Teague; entirely trans cast and crew.

Histories of the Transgender Child by Julian Gill-Peterson 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Non-Fiction.

HOLY WILD by Gwen Benaway. 2019 Lambda Literary Award finalist for Transgender Poetry.

How to Make A Rainbow Short film about a mother's transition and connection with her daughter. Outfest Audience Award for Best Documentary Short Film.
Produced by and starring Jade Phoenix

I-57 A mother tries to support her son and his gender identity by inviting a stranger to dinner. (Short)
Written by Brit Fryer.

King Ester Short form scripted series about Ester, a trans woman struggling to find her path in New Orleans during the week before Hurricane Katrina.
Introducing Rowin Amone as Ester. Also starring Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi. Produced by and starring Angelica Ross. The series premiered on Issa Rae’s YouTube Channel.

Lit Girl Tackles the subject of how dating can look between cis men and transgender women.
Directed by Sarah Parlow.

Little Fish by Casey Plett. 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction.

Lo terciario / The Tertiary by Raquel Salas Rivera. 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry.

Man Made A feature-length documentary tracing the varied lives of four transgender men, as they prepare to step on stage at the only all-trans bodybuilding competition in the world. Winner of 14 film festival awards. Available for download worldwide now.
Directed by T Cooper. All trans cast.

Manifest Pussy A rock concert/standup special/ritual sacrifice that follows her pilgrimage to Thailand for gender confirmation.
Written and performed by Shakina Nayfack.

Mirrors Set in the sleepy Mississippi town of Etheridge in the summer of 1960, this full-length play depicts the lives of three African-American women bound by love and loss and family, and the secrets of their shared past.
Written by Azure D. Osborne-Lee.

OP: ORIGINAL PLUMBING The trans male culture print mag curated by Amos Mac and Rocco Kayiatos, published into a best-of book by Feminist Press. Independently published from 2009 to 2019, Original Plumbing grew from a Bay Area zine to a nationally acclaimed print quarterly dedicated to trans men. In celebration of the magazine’s ten-year run, this essential collection compiles the best of all twenty issues.

Orchid Receipt Service The play follows the relationship of Monte and Davey--two transmasculine people in their late twenties--as they drift into and beyond a breakup.
Directed by Rad Pereira: written by Corinne Donly; produced Asia Kate Dillon; with  a cast of predominately TGNC performers. 

Pride On Screens | Trans Visibility Podcast episode featuring Tre’vell Anderson, Nick Adams, Shar Jossell, and Zackary Drucker going deep into the impact of movies like BOYS DON’T CRY and shows from TRANSPARENT to POSE.

Razor Tongue Short form scripted series that explores the complexities of finding a voice of self-love in a world filled with misogyny and discrimination.
Created by Rain Valdez; executive produced by Carmen Scott and Jessie Mcgrath; directed by Puppett; music by Kellen Joseph & Isley Ruest; starring Rain Valdez, Alexandra Grey, Shaan Dasani, Carmen Scott.

Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States by Samantha Allen. A transgender reporter's "powerful, profoundly moving" (New York Times Book Review) narrative tour through the surprisingly vibrant queer communities sprouting up in red states, offering a vision of a stronger, more humane America.

RITUAL In a world that tells us we shouldn’t love ourselves, the rituals we create to become are an act of radical self love. #OutfestFusion One-Minute Movie Contest: 'Macro Queer' Jury Award
Directed by Kieran Medina

Skin A queer teenager struggling with the onset of puberty discovers a living cave that presents them with a new skin and a chance to explore their identity. (Short) Outfest U.S. Narrative Short Special Mention
Directed by Audrey Rosenberg; starring Rhys Fehrenbacher

Soft Butter: a trans fantasia on edible themes Music that queers the musical form and recalls the experience of growing up in a body (or identity) before having the language to express it.
Created by Éamon Boylan

The Garden Left Behind A young Mexican trans woman and her grandmother navigate life as undocumented immigrants in New York City in this film which premiered at SXSW in 2019. Starring Carlie Guevara, the film also included trans advocates Kristen Parker Lovell, Devin Lowe, and other trans folks both in front of and behind the camera

The Sympathy Card When Emma's cancer takes a turn for the worse, she presents her new wife Josie a deathbed order: find someone new while Emma is still around to approve of her choice.
Starring Petey Gibson.

The True Adventures of Wolfboy Paul is the wolfboy of the title (he has hair all over his face) and he is struggling with his fear that his condition means the world will only ever see him as a freak. As Paul stumbles toward self-acceptance, he meets Aristiana (Sophie Giannamore) who has already made that journey herself as a young trans girl.
Written by Olivia Dufault; starring Sophie Giannamore.

Tell By Date Ryan wants to tell his son that he’s transgender and not his biological father, but fears it will change their relationship. (Short) The Cutting Room International Short Film Festival: Best LGBT doc or drama
Starring Brian Michael Smith and Emmett Jack Lundberg.

THESE THEMS is a seven episode narrative digital series following the lives of four queer friends living in NYC.
Directed by Jett Garrison; starring Shaan Dasani and Vico Ortiz.

To Be With You Alex is in LA for 24hrs due to a family death and finds solace with an old crush during one night together in the city. (Short)
Directed by Elliott Feliciano; Starring Avi Roque.

Trans 128 Filmed at The Stud and El Rio, this documentary portrait of musician Frida Ibarra explores the importance of sanctuaries for queer, trans, and gender non-conforming people. (Short).

Transfinite is a collection of seven locally-shot science-fiction/fantasy short films. Rich with symbolism, the seven stories in this anthology film feature supernatural trans and queer people, from many different cultures, who use magic and supernatural powers to love, teach, fight, and thrive. Directed by Neelu Bhuman; Written by Lida Vala, Cody Makil, Neelu Bhuman, Stefano Gonzalez, D'Lo, Davia Spain, Ryka Aoki; Cinematographer Aja Pop; Producers Stefano Gonzalez; starring D'Lo, Davia Spain, Harmony Rose Santana, S Angelo Acevedo, Blossom Brown, Bridger Fox, Cilantro Flores, Kit Tapata, Lea Robinson, Ryka Aoki, Skyler Cooper, Erica Nevarez.

TransLash A four-episode program and media platform that focuses on what it's like to transition and be Trans–particularly a Trans person of color–at a time of social backlash.
Produced by Imara Jones.

Twilight Zone Music video about dating as a trans woman.
Starring Mila Jam.

Waking Hour A sensational kiss solidifies Sofia’s decision to leave a party with Isaac, and as their chemistry intensifies, so do the stakes for Sofia. After she discloses that she's trans, the night takes several unexpected turns.
Written and produced by, and starring Nava Mau.

The Whistle A feature documentary film about the secret codes shared among young queers and lesbians in 1970s and 80s Albuquerque, New Mexico as a means of self-identification and finding community. Gilbert Baker Film Festival: Best Documentary, Best in Festival.
Directed by StormMiguel Flores

Trans Creators to Watch in 2019

D’Lo is a transmasculine Tamil Sri Lankan actor, writer & comic. His latest solo play "To T, or not To T?" had 3 extensions at the LA LGBT Center. In 2019, he was granted the Anthony Meindl Acting Workshop fellowship for trans and non binary actors

Peppermint starred in HEAD OVER HEELS on Broadway and appeared on GOD FRIENDED ME as “Pastor Olivia” (CBS All Access). 

Ian Alexander plays “Buck” on Netflix's THE OA.

Ser Anzoategui is a non-binary Latinx/Chicanx actor/playwright/artivist who plays "Eddy" in the Starz network drama series VIDA. In 2019, they acted on BETTER THINGS and SARGASSO, and hosted RED CARPET REPORT. 

Sydney Baloue made history as the first transgender man to win a performance category (Old Way) at the 2019 Latex Ball;  and published an artical about Ballroom in the New York Times.

Zach Barack became the first trans character in the Marvel Universe, in Spiderman: FAR FROM HOME; he also played a role in the TRANSPARENT "Musicale Finale."

Leyna Bloom starred as "Wye" in PORT AUTHORITY which premiered at Cannes Film Festival this year and was the first out transgender actress of color to star in a film at Cannes. 

Chaz Bono guest starred on CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM and won Best Supporting Actor in the 2019 FANtastic Horror Film Festival.

Kayleb Rae Candrilli is a recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award for their collection of poetry, What Runs Over.

Michael D. Cohen publicly disclosed his transition while working as a series regular on a Nickelodeon sitcom HENRY DANGER working professionally as an actor for 25 years.

T Cooper is currently a writer and consulting producer on THE BLACKLIST (NBC); his feature-length documentary MAN MADE has been released worldwide.

Cary Cronenwett is an artist and storyteller who directs and produces both documentary and narrative films. The series ACLU: TRANS IN AMERICA, of which he directed an episode, won an Emmy in 2019. 

Shaan Dasani acted in RAZOR TONGUE and THESE THEMS; part of the highly selective ABC Discovers South Asian Actor Workshop this year, awarded to only 11 Los Angeles based South Asian actors.

Alex Blue Davis plays "Casey Parker" on ABC's GREY'S ANATOMY.

Zackary Drucker was listed as one of LA Weekly’s BEST OF LA ARTS in 2019. She starred in FRAMING AGNES, and created the Gender Spectrum Collection, while photographing for Bloomberg, and exhibiting at Aperture Gallery. 

Olivia Dufault wrote and co-executive produced several episodes of LEGION on FX; the feature film she wrote,The True Adventures of Wolfboy,  premiered.

Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi co-starred as "Patra" in the Issa Rae series KING ESTER, and made her Joe's Pub debut (produced by Laverne Cox and Woolly Mammoth Theatre) with “For Black Trans Girls Who Gotta Cuss A Mother Fucker Out When Snatching An Edge Ain’t Enough.”

Rhys Ernst’s first feature film, ADAM, premiered at the Sundance 2019 Film Festival and had nationwide release in July.

Sam Feder is a director and producer whose films explore the intersection of visibility and politics along the lines of race, class, and gender in trans lives. The full-length documentary DISCLOSURE, is about the history of trans representation and the paradox of visibility and is currently in production. Laverne Cox is executive producer on this project and the majority of cast and crew are trans.

Fox Fisher is director of My Genderation, which is co-run with their partner Owl. In 2019 they created Watch Me ExistGet Off My Turf! starring Lewis Hancox, Ven Paldano, Shonalika Tilak, Persia WestPoppy Vs JosieMax & Their Theyby RiverI Am They,  TransAND, a documentary mini-series, and Growing Older As Me, a mini-series. My Genderation also collaborated with the NHS on trans educational content  and created campaign films for Stonewall  and PrEP.

Teddy Geiger is a songwriter, one of three trans women to receive Grammy nominations this year. 

Theo Germaine plays “James” on Netflix's THE POLITICIAN and will recur as “Chris” on WORK IN PROGRESS this fall on Showtime.

Alexandra Grey plays “Ariel” in RAZOR TONGUE; “Melody Barnes” on FOX’s EMPIRE; “Brandi Greene” on HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER (ABC); “Eliza Edwards” on TRANSPARENT (Amazon); and Denise Lockwood on CHICAGO MED (NBC).

Shea Diamond was nominated for the 2019 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Artist; her song "American Pie" was endorsed by 2020 United States presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg; she was a headliner for the Washington, DC Capital Pride Concert; and she released her single "Don't Shoot."

Daniel Foerste is a director and writer working primarily in the horror genre. His current project in development, MOONSHADOW, co-written with Ernesto Foronda, is being developed by Gunpowder & Sky, YOMYOMF, and Nonetheless Productions and is to be directed by Silas Howard.

GarcÍa plays "Jake Rodriguez" in Netflix's TALES OF THE CITY and will recur on Freeform's PARTY OF FIVE reboot.

Alexia Garcia plays "Aphrodite" on FX's POSE.

Jett Garrison story produced Hyundai’s OUT FOR GREATNESS queer storyteller series, and sold a half-hour pilot to UCP (Universal Content Productions). Directing credits in 2019 include NBC’s THIS IS US Aftershow for Seasons 3; NBC’s Digital Series for NEW AMSTERDAM; and the THESE THEMS web series. He mentors young filmmakers through Outfest’s OutSet young filmmaker program.

Beverly Glenn-Copeland was a writer on SESAME STREET (PBS) and spent twenty-five years entertaining children as a regular actor on Canadian children's television show MR. DRESSUP. He’s also a musician who contributed to the soundtrack of the trans-created 2019 feature ADAM.

Jake Graf is a London-based actor, writer and director In 2019 Jake appeared in COLETTE with Keira Knightley, his latest film LISTEN storm the international festival circuit, and is currently working on a documentary with his wife Hannah Graf MBE.

Carlie Guevara made her acting debut in THE GARDEN LEFT BEHIND, which premiered at SXSW in 2019. She also starred in the short film THE QUESTION.

Patti Harrison had a breakout as “Ruthie” in SHRILL (Hulu); also appearing in and I THINK YOU SHOULD LEAVE (Netflix) and HIGH MAINTENANCE (HBO). Variety named her a “Comic to Watch in 2019.

JJ Hawkings is a transmasculine actor who played “Riley Hooper” on CBS’s THE REDLINE, and “Jax Hopkins” on ALL RISE (CBS)

Silas Howard directed episodes of HBO’s HIGH MAINTENANCE, Netflix’s TALES OF THE CITY, Apple TV's DICKINSON, and Showtime's THE AFFAIR. 

Dominique Jackson plays “Elektra” on FX's POSE and will appear as “Ms. World” in AMERICAN GODS (STARZ).

Jari Jones has had roles in ADAM as "Schuyler," TALES OF THE CITY as "Ronda," TRANSPARENT as "Skylar," and PORT AUTHORITY as "Naima." Jones also was an associate producer and script consultant on PORT AUTHORITY.

Shar Jossell is a media personality and entertainment journalist. Aside from cohosting her Kiss & Tell Radio podcast, Shar has been featured on Roxane Gay & Tressie McMillan Cottom’s “Hear To Slay,” and Crooked Media’s “Keep It” podcasts this year.

MJ Kaufman's episode of THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA, on which they are a staff writer, was released on Netflix in April. Their plays “How To Live On Earth,” “Association Of Controlled Dreamers,” “Sensitive Guys,” “Whisper’s Gone,” “Sagittarius Ponderosa,” and “Wolves Eat Elk” were all produced in the US and Australia. They were nominated for a Barrymore Award, and were in residence at the MacDowell Colony. 

Isis King played Korey Wise's transgender sister, "Marci Wise," in the Netflix series WHEN THEY SEE US.

Bex Taylor-Klaus is an actor who starred in 13 REASONS WHY on Netflix as “Casey,” starred in the film BLACKBIRD and will be on the TV series DEPUTY coming to Fox this fall.

Jennifer Leitham is a Jazz musician known for playing with many music world masters, including Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, Take 6 and k.d. lang, along with countless others. Her 2019 album “Remnants Of Humanity” rose to the top of the CD Baby Crossover Jazz top seller list.

Emmett Jack Lundberg is the creator and star of BROTHERS, one of Indiewire’s 10 Best Indie TV Series. In 2019, he acted in two films: THE GARDEN LEFT BEHIND and TELL-BY DATE.  

Trace Lysette placed "Tracey" in HUSTLERS; "Femi" on OWN's DAVID MAKES MAN; "Tess" on FX's POSE; "Elizabeth Eden" on Comedy Central's DRUNK HISTORY.

Amos Mac was the founding co-editor of ORIGINAL PLUMBING, the trans male culture print mag, which was published into a best-of book by Feminist Press in 2019. He is now staffed on the reboot of GOSSIP GIRL (HBO Max, 2020). 

Thomas Page McBee wrote for TALES OF THE CITY (Netflix) and THE L WORD: GENERATION Q (Showtime).

Bobbi Salvör Menuez acted in the trans-created 2019 feature ADAM, and the HBO series EUPHORIA.

Valentín Mera’s records got distributed by Sony Music in 2019; he has released more than 12 singles this year. He released a music video for “Última Noche en París”, featuring women on their 60's.

Shakina Nayfack starred as "Ava" in the TRANSPARENT: MUSICALE FINALE on Amazon Prime Video and embarked on the Revival Tour of her One-Woman Show: MANIFEST PUSSY.

Azure D. Osborne-Lee is a black queer theater maker whose play "Mirrors" was selected for inclusion in the 2019/2020 Next Door at New York Theatre Workshop lineup. 

Sylvan Oswald was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Drama and Performance Art.

Kase Peña is the recipient of some of the most prestigious fellowships in the industry, including one granted by the Sundance Institute--she is a Launch Grant Fellow; she is also the first out trans Latinx female to join the Writer's Guild of America. Sony Pictures Entertainment named Kase their 2019 Diverse Fellow. Her short film FULL BEAT can be seen on HBO.

Shadi Petosky won an Emmy for her show DANGER & EGGS on Amazon and in 2019 Executive Produced Netflix's very queer TWELVE FOREVER and the gender bending live-action FOREVER ALONE coming from Adaptive Studios. 

Marval A Rex curated the first ever queer-centric performance show at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts in Minneapolis in 2019. Rex also performed for a week straight at Cerritos Art Gallery in Cerritos, CA as an artist for the Window Dressing Series. They were featured in Los Angeles Magazine in the "Art Star" June Pride Issue.

Jen Richards played “Anna Madrigal” in TALES OF THE CITY (Netflix) and “Margo Fairchild” on MRS. FLETCHER (HBO).

Ashley Lauren Rogers runs the “Is It Transphobic” podcast, and is a playwright whose plays, "Generation (laz)Y" and "Chasing The Ghost" received their first productions this year.

Logan Rozos plays “Star Child” on OWN's DAVID MAKES MAN.

Angelica Ross played "Candy" on FX's POSE, and "Donna Chambers" on AHS: 1984 (FX). She also produced King Ester, a short form scripted series about Ester, a trans woman struggling to find her path in New Orleans during the week before Hurricane Katrina, which premiered on Issa Rae’s YouTube Channel.

Hailie Sahar plays “Lulu” on FX's POSE and “Marta” on EASTSIDERS which is coming to Netflix.

Scott Turner Schofield was the Trans Consultant for EUPHORIA (HBO) and THE CRAFT Reboot (Blumhouse). He initiated the organization of the 5050by2020 Transmasculine Cohort, where trans and non-binary entertainment professionals collaborate on development and advocacy. The feature film he starred in, THE CONDUCTOR, had its North American premiere. 

Leo Sheng starred in the trans-created 2019 feature ADAM, and plays “Micah” on Showtime's THE L WORD.

Ava Benjamin Shorr is a director of photography whose projects this year have included the feature film GOSSAMER FOLDS and documentary DISCLOSURE: TRANS LIVES ON SCREEN. She was included on a list of “Mind Blowing Women Cinematographers” by Emmy Rossum, awarded an ASC Vision Mentorship with Rachel Morrison, ASC, and is an active member of the International Collective of Female Cinematographers.

Cody Sloan is an actor currently pursuing his MFA in Acting at UC San Diego, where he is out as the program's only transgender actor. The film SELAH AND THE SPADES (in which he plays “Cooper”) moved from the Sundance Film Festival to Amazon Studios in 2019.

Brian Michael Smith became the first out Black trans actor to have a series regular role which will be on FOX's 911: LONESTAR; he also plays “Pierce Williams” on Showtime's THE L WORD: GENERATION Q.

Quintessa Swindell played "Tabitha Foster" on TRINKETS (Netflix) and "Anna" on EUPHORIA (HBO).

Jacob Tobia published their debut memoir, Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story, (a National Bestseller), appeared on THE DAILY SHOW, and made TV herstory as “Double Trouble” on Netflix's SHE-RA AND THE PRINCESSES OF POWER.

Rain Valdez created, produced, and starred in RAZOR TONGUE, and also played “Francesca Newmar” in SNEAKY PETE (Amazon), “Cherry” in TRADE, “Chiffon” in WHY WOMEN KILL (CBS All Access). She also wrote, directed, and produced on LIT GIRL. Her trans-focused acting class and new works reading collective, Now>Ever Artists, continues to be a haven for artistic development. 

Savannah Ward is a young black queer nonbinary writer who was in this year's Outfest Outset Fellow 2019 Class. They produced a short that premiered at Outfest, then wrote and produced META in the fall. They currently work as a Writer's Assistant on NBC’s COUNCIL OF DADS.

MW Cartozian Wilson was a staff writer on NBC's MANIFEST.

Kit Yan became a Lincoln Center writer in residence, a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, a Playwright's Center Fellow, and a Musical Theater Factory Maker in residence, along with getting commissions from 5th Avenue Theater, Keen Company, and Company One--all in 2019.

For Transgender Awareness Week, we are highlighting the stories we love in 2019. This could be a story from each of our personal lives and relationships with others, community, and/or ourselves. This could also be the stories in the media that we have loved to see told by and featuring trans creators. Share on social media using #TransLoveStories to see the sea of love and creativity in our community--showing that not only do the stories of our lives exist but they do in all kinds and forms, and can shine through as models for how people can live and also show people how to support the community if they are not a part.