Magazine article Variety

Transgender Crew, 'T Ransparent' Cred

Magazine article Variety

Transgender Crew, 'T Ransparent' Cred

Article excerpt

Amazon's "Transparent" is getting rave reviews for its honest depiction of a middle-aged father coming out as transgender to his adult children, with Variety's Brian Lowry, among others, praising the strong writing and performances.

That authenticity was critical to executive producer Jill Soloway. Not only did she seek out transgender people for the cast and writers' room, but for the belowthe-line crew as well - at least one person in each department. Her goal was not just to make sure she got the details of her story right, but to create a "trans-positive" environment on set. "It became clear to me that the only way to do a show like this would be to make it a safe place for trans people everywhere," she says.

The result: A trans cast and crew of 25 that helped inform the shoot. "You can easily say that this is the most trans-inclusive production in Hollywood history," says producer Rhys Ernst, "which is a sentence I never expected to say out loud."

It also played out in practical terms with gender-neutral bathrooms on set. "We wanted to have a ground-zero of action, so everyone understood the real struggles that transgender people faced," Soloway says. It was well worth the fight with the legal department at Paramount, she says.

"Besides the goal of making trans people comfortable, I wanted to make Cis people (non-trans people) feel uncomfortable with any kind of whispering or behind-the-back questioning," Soloway adds.

Camera assistant Zoe Van Brunt, who's worked on "House," "Wilfred" and "The Crazy Ones," says all the attention at first made her feel uncomfortable. …

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