Members of the theatre community gathered for the Trans March on Broadway September 6. The event, organized by Sis, called attention to the erasure of trans bodies within the theatre and entertainment industries.
The action—which kicked off in Central Park’s Sheep’s Meadow—featured Sis, Iris, Nora Schell, Ianne Stewart Fields, Peppermint, and Qween Jean. The community then marched to Shubert Alley on Broadway.
In an interview with them., Sis explained, “I want this march to show people not only in the theater district, but in the entertainment industry at large, that trans people can exist in these spaces. The point is to showcase a group of trans people existing as they are.”
“Broadway is so in love with its tradition," Head Over Heels star Peppermint stated in speech during the event. "Broadway is so steeped in and entranced by its own tradition that the producers are in the habit of wanting to put on shows that were released last year. That already sold out. And so if you are not going to write new stories and bring new stories to the stage, then honey, you have to update the ones you already have,"
“We have always been here, and we are not going anywhere. Trans people exist. This is what community looks like,” Sis exclaimed while marching.
The event comes as a direct response to remarks made by U.K. theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh. In an August 7 interview with The Telegraph, the theatrical producer had said of making existing characters transgender, “You can’t implant something that is not inherently there in the story or character, that’s what I think. Just to do that, that becomes gimmick casting. It’s trying to force something that isn’t natural.”
Mackintosh responded August 30 to the swift backlash regarding his remarks made earlier this month that many called transphobic. “I am very sorry for any distress caused by my remarks being misrepresented. Trans actors are welcome to submit and audition for any of my productions. What matters is what has always mattered: the talent and storytelling. I have long been and will continue to be a proponent of diversity in casting for my projects around the world.”
In addition to the march, Sis has announced plans for You Gotta Have a Gimmick, a concert spotlighting trans artists. Dates and a lineup will follow.