Beyond Social Media: Seeking Black Trans and Non-Binary Actors on Screen

Dani Bethea
6 min readFeb 8, 2022

Representation amidst scarcity.

The Non-Binary Actor Dua Saleh, for British Vogue 2022.
Dua Saleh (They/Xe), actor. Photo courtesy of British Vogue (2022).

CW/TW: Brief allusions to anti-trans violence, homophobia, transphobia, and transmisogynoir

Note: I may be a pop culture repository of information (at times), but I’m not a computer so finding every single Black non-binary actor from the past decade+ has been difficult. Thus, please forgive me if any actors have slipped past my radar. Also, I’m aware that there are many previous and current cast members of Ru Paul’s Drag Race that identify, or identified, as Transgender and/or Non-binary…so please be aware that all of these amazing people will not be named herein, only referenced as larger presences in the media proper. Lastly, the issue of Black Trans and Non-binary representation exists beyond the spectrum of (social) media, so let’s always be on the lookout for ways we can help our brothers, sisters, and enbys gain further safety and visibility in every facet of life.🖤

In the past decade, the largest amount of Black trans representation gradually found its footing on television, through shows such as Ru Paul’s Drag Race (including the international variants), the American Horror Story franchise, FX’s (recently concluded) POSE, and many more…but the landscape for those that specifically identify as Non-binary is close to nil, and we’ll explore a few examples that I could find. Seeing non-binary people in films or television is already an ‘Easter egg hunt’ of sorts but finding Black actors specifically, not media personalities, is even rarer.

*Note: Angelica Ross has been holding it down for two different seasons of American Horror Story now and was the first transgender person ever to have a starring role in two different television programs in the same year.*

It’s important to note that the space for Black trans men is also sparse; if one is privy to the tally of White trans men with acting roles, cut that minimal rep in half for trans-identified Black men.

Angelica Ross, MJ Rodriguez, Hailie Sahar, Domonique Jackson, and Indya Moore. June 1, 2018. Photo Courtesy of TimeOut.

The older that I’ve become the more this rumination on Black trans and non-binary identity has been at the forefront…

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Dani Bethea

Horror Sommelier & Pop Culture Pontificator. Prev EIC: We Are Horror. Published: Studies In the Fantastic + Women of Jenji Kohan + Montréal Monstrum Society .