Singer-songwriter Ryan Cassata has written an open letter to American Idol casting directors after having been asked to participate in the show’s next season as, what he feels is, its “token trans” personality.
Cassata was turned down after a 2014 audition. Between then and now, Caitlyn Jenner introduced herself and mainstream media paid attention. Idol casting directors asked Cassata to participate in their post-Jenner season; he “realized that [AMERICAN IDOL] ONLY WANTS ME BECAUSE I’M A TRANSGENDER PERSON who happens to be a singer, not because I’M A SINGER WHO JUST HAPPENS TO BE TRANSGENDER, and because of that I’m not interested.”
Metrosource confirmed with Cassata his letter’s direct quotes from Idol casting directors, and we asked what his next move as a singer is having passed on Idol. He answered, “I am in the studio in New York recording my next album, to be released soon. I am making this record with Barb Morrison. We are nearing the finish line and we are super excited. This album explores many different genres and includes two cover songs. I’m really stoked to get this album out into the world!”
Read or watch his letter below; for more info, visit ryancassata.com.
Dear American Idol Casting Directors,
I have received many phone calls and emails begging me to try out in front of the executive producers of the show in the past couple months. I’m not interested.
LAST YEAR I was interested, and I tried out but you DIDN’T WANT ME, I wasn’t “contemporary enough” and being transgender wasn’t such a hot issue in the media like it is now. This year, I see what American Idol is all about, another pre-casted show, that’s looking for “singers” to boost their ratings, and now they just need that TOKEN TRANS person for America to gossip about, to hype up the show.
I realized that YOU ONLY WANT ME BECAUSE I’M A #TRANSGENDER PERSON who happens to be a singer, not because I’M A SINGER WHO JUST HAPPENS TO BE TRANSGENDER, and because of that I’m not interested.
This year you picked me because you WANT SOMEONE THAT’S TRANSGENDER and you don’t want someone “that people might make fun of, or [someone] who looks too much like they are men who transitioned to women, or [that] look FAKE or GIMMICKY.” You said you don’t want a transgender person “WHO STICKS OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB.” You also referred to trans people as “MEN IN DRESSES” and “TRANSGENDERS.” That is very ignorant, and transphobic.
You told me that American Idol wants “sexual BLONDE GIRLS who are DUMB” and “BLACK GIRLS who are DRAMATIC.” That is sexist and racist.
I questioned you wether the show was a singing show or not and you said that “IT’S A TV SHOW.”
You said “people don’t really make it in music anymore cause there’s nothing to sell, cause now you are a commodity.” To quote my hero #Macklemore, “If I’d have done it for the money I’d have been a [bleep] lawyer.” I told you that making music that’s TRUE is what’s the most important thing to me. I don’t want my music controlled by American Idol or any other show, I WANT TO STAY TRUE in my art FOR MY FANS.
I feel that #AmericanIdol would EXPLOIT me and maybe exploit the TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY for the purposes of TV ratings and profit. That’s not the right reason to go on television, and that’s not the right thing to do for my community. If it was purely an educational program, and not some overly sensationalized show than I would totally do it.
American Idol isn’t punk rock, punk rock is about being honest, and American Idol isn’t honest. It’s mostly pre-casted, and deep down, it probably isn’t even about singing anymore.
I reject your invitation to SELL OUT. After all, I’m a #SINGER, who just happens to be transgender.
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Last modified: July 30, 2019