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Laverne Cox Says Cisgender Actors Can Play Transgender Characters If All Things Are Equal

Laverne Cox, Alexandra Billings, and Chaz Bono pose together on the cover of Variety‘s latest issue, which explores being trans in Hollywood.

Among the issues that were discussed, was whether cisgender actors should never play transgender roles and vice versa. Scarlett Johansson just dropped out of a movie after she was criticized for taking the role of a transgender character.

“I think if all things were equal, then everyone should be able to play every character. But all things are not equal,” Laverne said. “As an artist, I don’t ever want someone telling me that I shouldn’t play something. But the reality is, 84% of Americans do not personally know someone who is transgender. So most Americans learn what they learn about trans people through the media.”

“Right now in this country, in the first days of this year, 10 states introduced 21 pieces of legislation targeting trans people, mostly trying to limit our ability to go to the bathroom. The current president is trying to ban us from the military. Our unemployment rate is three times the national average,” Laverne added. “So in this cultural environment, when we see representations of cis people playing us over and over again, that reinforces the idea that trans women are not really women and trans men are not really men and nonbinary people don’t exist. That is the basis of the discrimination that trans people experience.”

“We just want more opportunities. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met over the years who said, ‘I didn’t think it was possible for me to be an actor, and then I saw you on TV.’ Now there’s a generation of trans kids coming up who think that it’s possible for them to be openly trans and actually have a career as an actor. It’s really exciting,” she concluded.

For more from the roundtable discussion, visit Variety.com.

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Daniel Newman, Cynthia Erivo, & Trevante Rhodes Attend the GLAAD Media Awards

Daniel Newman suits up for the GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday night (April 1) at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The 35-year-old The Walking Dead star – who came out publicly as gay the day before – was joined at the event by Broadway star Cynthia Erivo, Trevante Rhodes, Patricia Arquette, Kiersey Clemons, Luke Perry, and Candis Cayne.

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Cynthia Erivo

Also spotted at the event were Transparent stars Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Emily Robinson, Trace Lysette, and Alexandra Billings.

FYI: Emily is wearing a Yossi Harari ring and earrings as well as a Sylva & Cie bracelet.

10+ pictures inside of stars arriving at the event…

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Kim Kardashian Wears Lip Ring to Family Equality Council's Impact Awards

Kim Kardashian stuns in a white gown and lip ring as she speaks on stage during the Family Equality Council’s Impact Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Saturday night (March 11) in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The 36-year-old tv personality attended the awards event to presented the award to TV producers Jonathan Murray and Harvey Reese for their outstanding support for LGBTQ families.

Other stars spotted arriving at the event were Sarah Paulson, Ross Matthews, Julie Bowen, Cheyenne Jackson and husband Jason Landau, Becca Tobin and husband Zach Martin, and Alexandra Billings.

FYI: Kim is wearing a Rick Owens dress.

15+ pictures inside of stars at the Impact Awards

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Jeffrey Tambor & His 'Transparent' Family Attend SAG Awards 2017

Jeffrey Tambor and his wife Kasia Ostlun pose for pictures as they arrive at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday (January 29) in Los Angeles.

The 72-year-old actor was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Comedy for his role on Transparent.

Jeffrey was joined at the awards show by his co-stars Judith Light, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, Kathryn Hahn, and Alexandra Billings.

FYI: Kathryn is wearing an Adeam dress, Brian Atwood shoes, a Lee Savage clutch, and Jen Fischer jewelry. Amy is wearing a St. John suit, Jerome C. Rousseau shoes, and Effy jewelry.

10+ pictures inside of the Transparent cast arriving at the awards show…

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Jeffrey Tambor & Wife Kasia Arrive on Emmys 2016 Red Carpet

Jeffrey Tambor arrives with wife Kasia as they make their way onto the red carpet at the 2016 Emmy Awards held at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday (September 18) in Los Angeles.

The 72-year-old actor was joined by his Transparent co-stars Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker, and Alexandra Billings.

Jeffrey is up for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

Last year when he won, his wife was in the bathroom!

“If luck comes my way, we’ll try not to do what we did last year,” Jeffrey told People. “My wife was in the bathroom, and when I thanked her from the podium, [the cameras] cut to a seat-filler.”

FYI: Amy is wearing a Shoshanna dress, YSL shoes, Anita Ko rings, Shaftel diamond earrings, and a vintage bag. Jeffrey is wearing a Montblanc timepiece.

10+ pictures inside of Jeffrey Tambor and more Transparent stars at the 2016 EmmysMore Here! »

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