Ryan Murphy, the brains behind shows like Glee, American Horror Story, American Crime Story, and Feud, is working on a new, groundbreaking pilot that aims to bring an unprecedented number of transgender actors to television. The show is called Pose. It will focus on 1980s New York and, as Hollywood Reporter describes, “the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe, the downtown social and literary scene and the ball culture world.”
Pose has cast MJ Roriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar, and Angelica Ross, all of whom are trans, as series regulars. That’s the most amount of trans actors cast as regulars in a scripted show to date.
But Murphy is also promoting trans talent behind the camera. Transparent writer Our Lady J and Janet Mock have been collaborating on the script with show cocreator Steven Canals, and they have brought on a number of ball culture personalities and experts to consult on recreating the scene authentically.
The show plans to bring on trans directors to partake in a director mentorship program—part of Murphy’s Half Initiative, which works to provide equal opportunities for women and people of color behind the camera.
Pose may just be at the pilot stage still, but it has the potential to be a real game changer in terms of how the talent of people of color and trans people are recognized. Awards shows like the Emmys may feel like they’re slowly becoming more diverse, but Hollywood has a staggeringly long way to go—and the first and hardest step for marginalized people in Hollywood is just getting hired.
Hopefully projects like Pose and the practice of actually hiring trans people of color (instead of merely taking their stories and culture) can become less novel and more normal.