TransTainment, May 31, 2021

| May 31, 2021
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Welcome to TransTainment for May 31, 2021! What’s been going on with transgender people in the arts and entertainment? We can answer that.

Meet Leyna Bloom

Leyna Bloom

Port Authority is a new film in which a love story happens between Paul (Fionn Whitehead), a young man recently tossed out of his home with nowhere to go, and Wye (Leyna Bloom), a transgender woman of color who “exhibits striking confidence.” Who is Leyna Bloom? Leyna Bloom was born in Chicago in 1990 to a Filipino mother and an African American father. Like many in the transgender community she knew she was a girl from an early age. Sadly her mother was deported while Leyna was still a child and her father, who was supportive of her gender identity, raised her.

As a teen she immersed herself in the arts and trained as a dancer in many different genres. After leaving the Chicago Academy for the Arts when they refused to let her use her scholarship to dance as a woman she moved to New York City where she faced homelessness and struggled to survive. She worked as a waitress during the day and participated in the underground ball scene for prize money at night. Eventually her modeling career took off and she was the first openly transgender model to be featured on the cover of Vogue India. She landed the role of Wye in Port Authority in 2019 and became the first trans woman of color to be a lead in a feature film. The film premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. She also stars in Pose as Pretentia Khan. Leyna uses her real life voguing experience to bolster her characters in both Pose and Port Authority.

The character Paul in Port Authority sees her voguing on the sidewalk near the Port Authority bus station when he arrives from the midwest. He pursues her and they fall in love but he has to deal with his own identity when he learns she is trans. For more on Leyna Bloom and her career visit Essence magazine’s website.

U.K. Theaters Make Trans Casting Statement

Several of the biggest theaters in the U.K. have pledged to only cast trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming actors in roles for characters with those identities. Last year a cisgender actor was cast as a trans woman character in a stage production of Breakfast on Pluto, which triggered a controversy leading to the creation of the trans casting policy statement which has been signed by many theaters in the U.K. You can read the statement online.

Patti Harrison Gets it Together Together

Patti Harrison

Patti Harrison is a 30-year-old actor and comedian with a knack for finding the humor in the uncomfortable. But her brand of stand up comedy is not utilized in the film Together Together in which she stars as Anna, a young cisgender woman hired as the gestational surrogate for Matt, played by Ed Helms. The film became available on demand in early May.

Patti made the move from comedy club stages to television work in 2016 appearing in The Special Without Brett Davis. She was an Anthropologie employee in Broad City and had roles in Search Party, High Maintenance and Bob’s Burgers. She can be seen in many other roles before she was cast as Anna in Together Together this year.

Jin Xing is the Face of Dior

Jin Xing, China’s most famous transgender star, recently became the new face of Dior in China. Jin is the new ambassador of Dior’s signature fragrance Dior J’adore. Learn more from the Global Times.

Jasmine Davis on The Chi

Jasmine Davis

The Chi, which debuted in 2018, is known as a “bold series which is best and accurately described as a coming-of-age drama that is centered on a group of residents on Chicago’s South Side who bond, deeply, after connecting by coincidence.” Jasmine Davis stars on the Showtime series as Imani, the loyal girlfriend of Trig (Luke James). Imani is the first transgender character to ever appear on the show (to date). She was introduced in the third season when she and Trig return to Chicago to become involved with the show’s other characters. They go to a gay bar because Imani wants to be “around her people.” Trig is hit on by a gay patron and gets into a fight. Outside afterward he tells her that he doesn’t want people to think he’s gay and tells her, “You’re a woman. That’s all I see when I look at you.” The show doesn’t make a big deal over Imani’s gender identity, preferring to have the character follow their own path through the storyline. Jasmine was born and raised in the South Side of Chicago so she is able to use that experience in her role.

TikTok Star Gets Lead Role in Major Motion Picture

Yasmin Finney

Alyssa Washington let us know about Yasmin Finney, a 17-year-old Black trans woman from Manchester, England, who has landed a lead role in Orion PicturesWhat If?, which will be directed by Pose star Billy Porter. This will be Porter’s first directorial experience. The story follows two teens who become romantically involved during their senior year in high school. Yasmin’s character is a trans girl and that adds complications to the normally turbulent teen years. Yasmin was cast after a world wide search. In 2019 she started doing TikToks dedicated to presenting her perspective of growing up trans in Manchester, England. Learn more about her and the film from them.

That’s TransTainment for now. Join us next month for more transgender entertainment news.

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Category: Transgender Fun & Entertainment


About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Assoc., Inc., former editor of its newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She was the Diva of Dish for TGF in the late 1990s and Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows.

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