GLAAD and 5050by2020 Lead Open Letter with Unprecedented Show of Support to Advance Transgender Inclusion in Hollywood

August 7, 2018
Rich Ferraro
Chief Communications Officer, GLAAD
646-871-8011, rferraro@glaad.org
 
Kelly Bush Novak
Founder and CEO, ID
323-822-4888, kbushnovak@id-pr.com
 
Over 45 Organizations, Agencies, and Production Companies including TIME’S UP, Ryan Murphy Productions, SAG AFTRA, ACLU, Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Alliance, Shondaland, Apatow Productions, Berlanti Productions, Endeavor Content, Casting Society of America, Bad Robot, Topple, CAA, ICM, UTA, WME, Color Of Change, Sundance Institute, Muslim Public Affairs Council, and More Sign Open Letter: “When trans people are empowered to help Hollywood tell our authentic stories, it will improve how trans people are treated in the real world.”
 
Open Letter and TRANSform Hollywood Resource Guide Debuts in Variety's Special Report On Transgender Hollywood, Both In Print and Online
Los Angeles, CA, August 7, 2018 – An open letter signed by more than 45 advocacy organizations, talent agencies, and production companies, today urged Hollywood to prioritize telling stories of transgender people and to involve transgender talent within the creative process. The letter was led by 5050by2020, a strategic initiative within TIME’S UP that advocates for increased inclusion of women, people of color, and LGBTQ people, and GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization. 
 
 
The letter introduces TRANSform Hollywood, a resource guide featuring best practices created by 5050by2020 and GLAAD. To access the guide: http://5050by2020.com/transformhollywood and https://www.glaad.org/transformhollywood
GLAAD and 5050by2020 will next invite networks and studios to sign the open letter and employ the resource guide. 
 
The letter debuted in a special issue of Variety on transgender Hollywood featuring actors Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), Alexandra Billings (Transparent), and Chaz Bono (American Horror Story: Cult) on the cover. GLAAD and Variety also released video of a roundtable discussion about telling transgender stories and casting trans roles with Cox, Bono, Billings, joined by actors Trace Lysette, Jen Richards, and Brian Michael Smith. Video of the roundtable can be seen here: https://variety.com/2018/film/features/transgender-roundtable-hollywood-trump-laverne-cox-trace-lysette-1202896142/ 
 
GLAAD worked closely with Variety on producing the issue, which also includes a feature on 20 transgender and nonbinary actors to watch. 
Organizations and production companies signing on to 5050by2020 and GLAAD’s open letter include:
·5050by2020
·GLAAD
·3 Arts Entertainment
·Abrams Artists Agency
·ACLU
·ACLU SoCal
·Act III Productions
·Apatow Productions
·ARRAY Alliance
·Bad Robot
·Berlanti Productions
·The Blcklst
·CAA
·Casting Society of America
·Chingona Productions
·Color Of Change
·CultureStrike
·Endeavor Content
·Frameline
·The Geena Davis Media Institute
·GloNation
·Half Initiative
·Harness
·ICM
·Los Angeles LGBT Center
·Made Up Stories
·Muckle Man Productions
·Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Hollywood Bureau
·National Center for Transgender Equality
·Outfest
·Participant Media
·RespectAbility
·Ryan Murphy Productions
·SAG AFTRA
·SAG AFTRA Foundation
·Sea Change Media
·Shondaland
·Sony Pictures Classics
·Sundance Institute
·TIME’S UP
·Topple
·Trans Wellness Center
·Transgender Law Center
·UTA
·WME
·Women In Film
·Working Title
 
"This historic display of intersectional support for more authentic and inclusive transgender media images sends a loud message of allyship to transgender people," said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "Hollywood changed the game for gay and lesbian acceptance by telling compelling stories and involving community members in front and behind the camera. At a time when the industry is at a tipping point for empowering diverse voices and audiences are demanding more inclusion, Hollywood needs to prioritize transgender talent and stories."
 
The letter (https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/0807_051-logos-nu.pdf) shines a light on statistics and facts about being transgender in America today and calls on Hollywood to prioritize telling transgender stories authentically:
In the US, 80% of people say they don't know a trans person in their family, workplace, or school. That’s where Hollywood comes in. Hollywood tells the stories that help people understand how to feel about themselves and how to feel about people around them who are different. As Roger Ebert said, film is an empathy machine. We know projects like Ellen, Will & Grace, Brokeback Mountain, Milk, and Moonlight helped break down stereotypes about gay and lesbian people, and the timeline for marriage equality would have been remarkably different without them. 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.
 
… 
 
We believe that we are at an unprecedented cultural moment -- a moment when we can ask Hollywood to use its power to improve the lives of trans people by changing America’s understanding about who trans people are. We want to help you tell our rich and diverse stories - and we need your help to do it.
 
“The TRANSform Hollywood resource guide doesn’t just advance our ability to tell authentic transgender stories and to involve transgender and nonbinary talent in the creative process,” said Jill Soloway, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning creator of Transparent and I Love Dick, Founder of Topple, and Co-founder of 5050by2020. “It also advances our mission as an industry to create inclusive, fully representative content that enriches our understanding of each other through the empathetic lens of art. We can at once improve the lives of trans people and capture the importance and breadth of our diverse culture.”
 
The TRANSform Hollywood resource guide (http://5050by2020.com/transformhollywood) created by 5050by2020 and GLAAD, includes best practices for telling transgender stories including: 
·Finding and working with trained trans storytellers and creators.
·Information on how to find trans actors and cast trans roles authentically, acknowledging that each project is unique and will need to be discussed in context.
·Suggestions on how to empower and enable the trans people you hire. 
·Including trans people in every area of your project, from directing, to costumes, to lighting, to craft services, to accounting.
·Advice on how to create a safe working environment for trans people by providing trainings for cast and crew
·How to build infrastructure to support trans people through internships, mentorships, guidance, and access to job networks.
 
 
"Recently we've seen audiences and critics alike embrace authentic transgender stories starring trans actors, and with the TRANSform Hollywood guide, creators now have the resources they need to create new projects that will raise the bar for trans storytelling, said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Media & Representation. "The cross-industry support behind this message of trans inclusion in the creative process is the gratifying result of trans people and our allies speaking up about the need to see our true, authentic experiences reflected in film and TV."
 
GLAAD’s most recent research finds 16 lead or recurring transgender and non-binary characters on television across broadcast, cable and streaming. GLAAD’s most recent Studio Responsibility Index found zero transgender characters in films released by the seven largest studios last year. 
 
About 5050BY2020: 5050by2020 is a movement of women, people of color and LGBTQ members of the entertainment industry, advocating for leadership and hiring practices that reflect the reality of its audiences to inspire authentic content creation and safer workplaces by the end of this decade.