Screenwriter Zoey Rose on Hollywood’s treatment of transgender characters & more

Zoey Rose is a development executive with an independent entertainment company in LA, California. She’s also a talented screenwriter and the co-founder of a scriptwriting community called Scriptchat. She has several other achievements to her name and at no point would it matter that she’s a trans person.

In conversation with Queer Talk, Zoey starts off by clarifying what many people forget when they converse about or with trans people, she says,

“Trans people are just regular people. That’s what we are.”

We discussed with her Hollywood’s openness towards working with trans talent, what she thinks about the cis actors playing trans characters debate and more.

Personal Experiences:

Fortunately for Zoey, coming out at her workplace wasn’t a traumatizing experience. Working with an independent company meant she didn’t have to undergo any stringent HR processes that could have made her uncomfortable post transitioning. While she continued to maintain a healthy working relationship with her colleagues, the same cannot be said about her experiences of working with other clients and her interactions with people from the entertainment industry in general.

(Listen to Zoey Rose: Hover over the image below)

Has the representation of trans people in Hollywood’s storytelling changed?

Hollywood hasn’t shied away from having transgender characters in their cinema but much of it has been considered to be stereotypical. Today, TV shows such as Pose are becoming pioneers not just due to their storytelling but also because of their transgender actors led lead cast.

Being in close connection with the entertainment business, Zoey provides an interesting response to the current debate about cis actors playing LGBTQI characters on screen. When asked if she has been unhappy with any of the casting or the performance of any particular actor, she quickly responds, “I don’t know any trans characters I’ve ever felt were badly portrayed by cis actors that I’ve actually seen.”

(Listen to Zoey Rose: Hover over the image below)

Employment in Entertainment vs Other sectors:

More than one in four transgender people have lost a job due to bias, and more than three-fourths have experienced some form of workplace discrimination in the USA.

According to a 2015 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality, the unemployment rate for transgender people is three times higher than the national average.

When asked about the difficulty of finding work in the entertainment industry, Zoey admits she has been familiar with both positive as well as negative outcomes.

(Listen to Zoey Rose: Hover over the image below)

Transphobia is still very much prevalent in the US and it is reflected in the rising cases of hate crime against transgender people of color.

Due to the current political environment, there’s also little media coverage allotted to these crimes and that negligence is what bothers Zoey and many others like her.

Expressing her disappointment, she said, “I am proud to be trans but it ain’t easy. I did not choose this and would not wish this even on my worst enemy.”


Zoey Rose helps conduct screenwriting sessions on Twitter every Sunday through Scriptchat. It is an open source for screenwriters to chat & learn.

Originally published at queerartists.wordpress.com on August 12, 2018.