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Transparent star Jay Duplass says on-screen transgender romance ‘changed his world’

Actor Jay Duplass, who plays Josh Pfefferman in popular LGBT television show Transparent, has said that starring in the series ‘opened his heart’ to the world of trans rights.

Duplass, in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, wrote that his on-screen romance with fellow star Trace Lysette – who played trans woman Shea in the series – opened him to a world of gender fluidity.

“Like Josh, I now experience the wide spectrum of gender on a daily basis, when only a few years it seemed like one of two boxes to check at the doctor’s office.”

Growing up in a “small, old-school Catholic world”, Duplass wrote, he wasn’t exposed to transgender people in the media, and didn’t know any openly gay people until he went to college.

“Transparent opened my heart and my mind,” he said, “but it also changed my world. All of the sudden I found myself deeply entrenched in a civil rights movement, with a whole new chosen family.”

Duplass said he now has “regular conversations” about how he as a “straight white American male, can help give voice to marginalized people”.

His character’s on-screen romance with Shea was “quite possibly the first of its kind on television”, he wrote.

He continued: “A cisgender man takes interest in a trans woman simply because he is attracted to her … not a fetish, not a secret, not an experiment.

“Shea is simply a woman who’s come into Josh’s lonely world at the right place and the right time.

Of course, it goes horribly wrong, but the fallout isn’t due to transphobia.”

Transparent was created by non-binary Emmy-winner Jill Soloway in 2014, and is scheduled for a fourth season later this year.

Earlier this year the cast and crew of Transparent released a video in support of transgender bathroom rights.

The video came a month after President Donald Trump withdrew Obama’s guidelines on transgender bathroom rights, in a move described as an attack on transgender rights by LGBT advocacy groups.

Soloway opened up about coming out as non-binary earlier this year.

Soloway, who explained to The Guardian how they felt “strange” being described with traditionally feminine words and terms, said: “I’m changing every day, so every six months I’m like: ‘None of this stuff makes sense anymore.’

“I got rid of every even slightly feminine shoe.

“There’s a feeling of being grown up, and moving through the world and feeling like I’m the subject instead of the object and that doesn’t really work for me if I’m feeling feminine.”

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