FX’s most recent hit series, Pose, has officially made it’s mark as the series with the largest cast of transgender actors in TV history. The series, created by Ryan Murphy, is based on the era of the New York City ballroom scene in the 80s.  In order to make the series as accurate as possible, Murphy brought on those that would diversify the creative process.  One of the many creatives that Murphy brought on board was Janet Mock. As an actress, writer, and transgender activist, Mock was able to hone in on the stories and experiences focusing on the transgender and ballroom community through writing, directing, and producing different episodes of the series.

As the first trans woman of color to ever be hired as a writer on a television series, Mock, penned what it meant to her to be working on Pose in an essay for Variety.  “When girls like us flitted onto my screen, we were seen through the narrowest lens — either as points of trauma, treated as freaks, or mere punchlines. Rarely were we given a chance to be the center of the story, to be the protagonists, the antagonists, and the damn villains. And I knew with Pose, I would hold the pen, writing narratives that would show the totality of what it meant to be brown and black, to be trans and poor and femme in an era in New York City dictated by a series of ills, from HIV and gentrification to crack and greed,” she wrote.

Mock shared how she didn’t want to write about these characters as plot devices but wanted to tell their stories as heroines, especially following a year where 26 trans people were killed in the U.S, and nearly all of them were women of color.  She shared, “It’s an indescribable feeling to be on set sitting in a chair with my name on it, directing a script that I also wrote, watching these actresses, some of whom have never been on a set before, be given a chance to truly shine. I witness them with their own stand-ins, lighting fine-tuned to their melanin, with dressers fretting over every detail of their apparel, and textured hairstyles representing the fullness of our community. Finally, they are centered, and to see them readying for their close-up, delivering dialogue that I’ve written, is a full circle moment, especially for that frizzy-haired little trans girl I once was yearning for reflection.”

Check out Mock’s entire essay HERE.

The series airs Sundays at 9 pm EST on FX, so be sure to tune in!



About The Author

The HBR Media Team is a collective group of black women filmmakers, writers, and studio/network executives who are passionate about bringing visibility to women of African descent working in film and television.

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