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Trans Entertainers to Watch in 2022

20 Trans Entertainers to Watch in 2022

Trans Entertainers to Watch in 2022

Trans people have always existed, but they are just beginning to get their due in entertainment. Alexandra Billings became the first out transgender person to portray a trans character on screen when she appeared in the made-for-TV movie "Romy and Michele: In the Beginning" in 2005. Candis Cayne became the first out trans actor with a recurring role on a primetime series in 2007 with her role on "Dirty Sexy Money," and Laverne Cox became the first out transgender person to play a transgender major character on a network TV show with her role on "Doubt" in 2017.

All this is not to say that trans people haven't been creatively successful and innovative before: the truth is the opposite. In the music world, there was jazz musician Billy Tipton, who transitioned in the 1930s and hid his identity as a trans man until after his death, and Wendy Carlos, who helped shape electronic music and developed the modern synthesizer in the 1960s. In Hollywood, there was Christine Jorgensen, who in the 1950s became the first person known to undergo sex-reassignment surgery, later becoming a TV presenter and actor.

Not to mention the fact that trans and nonbinary people appear across ancient history and cultures. Scholars have discovered evidence of ancient Sumerian priests who blurred gender norms and changed gender identities as far back as 5000 BC, and evidence of gender transitions and gender fluidity exist in ancient Lakota, Mexican, Greek, and Indian civilizations, among many others.

Over the past decade, stars like Elliot Page and Lana and Lilly Wachowski have made waves and broken boundaries with their art and advocacy, and shows like "Pose" have marked the beginning of real progress on television. But this is all just the beginning of a long-needed shift, and there's a long way to go in terms of transgender representation today. Hollywood continue to cast cisgender actors in trans people's roles, for example, and poor attempts at representation can have negative consequences on LGBTQ+ viewers' mental health.

Many of the stars on this list have also expressed frustrations at being cast in only trans roles, and overall — amidst waves of antitrans legislation and systemic, interlocking forces of oppression — there's a lot of change that needs to be made. Fortunately, undeniable talents like Leiomy Maldonado, Hunter Schafer, Angelica Ross, and many more stars exist. They mark only a fraction of trans people shaping their own narratives, carving out new dimensions, and inspiring the masses with their work.

Ahead, check out 20 trans entertainers who you should be watching in 2022.

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