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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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'American Horror Story: Cult' Cast Attends Cher's Vegas Show!

The cast of American Horror Story: Cult enjoyed a weekend off from work in Vegas!

The cast – including Colton Haynes, Billie Lourd, Sarah Paulson, Billy Eichner, Adina Porter, Alison Pill, Leslie Grossman, and Cheyenne Jackson – headed out to Vegas on Saturday (August 19) to attend Cher‘s show at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino’s Park Theater.

Joining the AHS castmates at the show included Colton‘s fiance Jeff Leatham, Cheyenne‘s husband Jason Landau, and Cher‘s son Chaz Bono.

After the show, the cast went VIP to meet Cher herself before partying it up in Sin City until morning.

American Horror Story: Cult premieres on September 5 on FX.

See some of the cast’s Instagram posts from last night in the gallery below!

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Chaz Bono Photo Gallery

Chaz Bono Shows Off a Slimmed Down Appearance!

  • Check out Chaz Bono‘s new slimmed down look – Radar
  • Mel B rushed her husband to the hospital – Gossip Cop
  • Check out this exclusive interview with Cristine Prosperi about her new show Open HeartJust Jared Jr
  • Justin Timberlake shares the cutest throwback photo – Huffington Post
  • Jennifer Lopez says she’s not a cougar – DListed
  • Jamie Chung is gorgeous! – Hollywood Tuna
  • Tons of amazing new music from artists this week! – Towleroad

Chaz Bono on Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan: 'We Can't Go Backward'

Chaz Bono squints his eyes to shield from the harsh sunny rays as he exits Pavilions Market on Friday (August 17) in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The 43-year-old former Dancing With the Stars contestant stocked up on a variety of items including fruity beverages and some cat food.

Chaz recently tweeted his opinion on Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his VP pick Paul Ryan.

Romney‘s VP pick voted against equal pay for women and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We can’t go backward” he tweeted, along with a link to President Obama‘s website.

15+ pictures inside of Chaz Bono stocking up on groceries… More Here! »

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Cher Surprises Chaz Bono at the GLAAD Awards!

Cher gives her son Chaz Bono a huge hug while hitting the red carpet at the 2012 GLAAD Awards on Saturday (April 21) in Los Angeles.

“So much fun at Glaad awards!” the 65-year-old entertainer tweeted. “I really surprised Chaz! He was adorable, said, ‘wow mom I was so surprised I forgot what I was going 2say!’”

Chaz was honored for his OWN documentary, Becoming Chaz, with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which is awarded to a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender entertainer for promoting equality.

“It was an amazing night to have my mother and stepmother present me with the award,” Chaz told press.

15+ pictures of Cher and Chaz at the GLAAD awards….More Here! »

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