SCOTT SCHOFIELD is teaching us sensitivity

Written by | Entertainment, People We Love

SCOTT SCHOFIELD – Actor | Activist

“At my Grand Gala Ball of Coming Out, everyone will be required to wear a white dress, or else tuxedo tails and nothing else. A kiddie pool of sweet tea will be the dance floor as we wrestle with our complex identities because we all, every one of us, are complex, slippery, and tasty.”

Scott Schofield may have become a big name in the biz when he made history as the first out transgender actor in daytime television for his role in The Bold and The Beautiful, subsequently making further waves as the first out trans man to earn an acting Emmy nomination. But acting is just a snippet of his extensive entertainment career. His playwriting, directing, producing, hosting, and speaking have taken him literally around the globe.

His training and advocacy have affected policies across the board from higher education to Fortune 500 companies. He uses his power of storytelling to coach CEOs on trans sensitivity and has worked with youth, inciting self-esteem and presenting the essentials of living an authentic LGBTQ life. His TED talk, “Ending Gender” has been an invaluable tool in many different settings, from corporate to personal. Scott was also instrumental in working with Sara Cunningham, who founded Free Mom Hugs, whose story is currently in film development by Jamie Lee Curtis.

Behind the camera, he has worked with actors, writers, producers, and creative executives to help fashion transgender and non-binary stories and characters. He is a senior consultant at GLAAD and has consulted on HBO Max’s We’re Here and Legendary, and Blumhouse’s The Craft: Legacy and THEY/THEM. Perhaps his most personal work was helping to create Hunter Schafer’s character Jules in the Emmy-nominated series Euphoria. Scott’s early experience working as a trans creative in the industry was met with many obstacles. Now with Hollywood’s eye on inclusion and commitment to properly representing members of our community, Scott can infuse the industry with what is most important to him. His recent projects have been career-defining moments.

“Because I’m trans, I had to help change the world so that I could ‘just be an artist,’ so I’ve had to be an activist as well. When I work as a consulting producer on transgender storylines, I share the many perspectives the trans community has, which I have observed over the years of being actively part of the movement for trans liberation. I don’t just give one opinion about what I think is fine. I give creatives a map of the minefield so they can make their best choices when they tell trans stories, and, more importantly, connect them to opportunities for stories that haven’t been told before. To me, telling the best story is what’s most important, and doing that without recycling or inventing harmful tropes is how we get there together.

The defining moments are when people in power listened to me and gave me a chance to put my ideas into practice. I only got where I am by that happening, I’m lucky there have been many defining moments. This year, it was Blumhouse, hearing me say that when consultants do the work of producers, they should be credited as such – they listened and gave me my first major producing job. Now I’m able to have an impact at a much greater level.”

Even with our current boom in proper representation and inclusion, there is still more work to do. Scott knows exactly where to put the spotlight.

“Studios need to greenlight and champion transgender creatives – writers, directors, and producers, not just actors – to tell the stories that are interesting to us, not what cisgender producers believe is interesting about us. No more ‘Afterschool Specials,’  no more transition narratives, no more victimization and trauma, and no more focusing on what all the cis people around the trans person go through while we transition! Trans people live amazing lives, we have perspectives on the everyday that crack it open and make it interesting again. Let us tell our stories, in our words, through our lenses, from script to screen. There is a gold mine of untapped storytelling here, I’m telling you.”

Scott uses his many platforms to activate. He does not mince words and will speak the truth when others are cautious to make waves. This has been essentially Scott from the first time he hit the stage. His solo performances have been showered with critical and audience acclaim. A collection of three of his shows was published as the Lambda Literary Award-nominated Two Truths and a Lie. Starting out, he would perform his solo pieces anywhere he could. From small community centers to sold-out theaters, his mission was to affect audiences. A crowning achievement was the debut of the film version of his highly popular piece, Becoming A Man in 127 Steps, at the Tribeca Film Festival and Outfest in 2020. The piece, simply put, is a collection of 127 stories comprising one epic becoming pre-, during, and post-gender transition, culminated from over 20 years of Scott’s life experiences. Not simply put, it is a complex piece that challenges perspective as well as makes you cry and laugh at the same time.

As part of his commitment to truth-telling from his perspective, he is not shy from commenting on the divide that exists between the gay and trans community, a relationship that from his point of view is deteriorating.

“Whether you’re gay, bi, or lesbian you can still be transphobic, and so many folks in the community are choosing that side. Active transphobia is worse across the board than it has been in all the years I’ve been doing this work. Within our community, it’s classic “everybody has to be better than somebody to feel good about themselves” politics. And also, LGB folks are under threat more than ever too, which creates the lie that we have finite resources and have to focus on our own goals. We have to recognize that homophobia is rooted in the same hate as transphobia, and we have to support one another with love and compassion and care in our own community spaces, and then fight like hell for each other out in the world. They’re trying to turn the clock back 40 years on all of us, and we can’t stop it unless we all agree to work together – our diversity is our strength only if we stop tearing each other down from within.”

So what is Scott’s advice for building bridges with our trans family?

“You have to be ;all for one and one for all’ about it. ‘Don’t Say Gay’ is just as wrong as making transition-related care for suicidal teenagers a felony, is just as wrong as leaving marriage equality up to the states, is just as wrong as telling a trans child they can’t play youth soccer, is just as wrong as trying to ban drag shows. They are all based in the same hate. They are all wrong. Just because one thing might not impact your daily life doesn’t mean you can’t speak up and be counted – by telling it to social media, by calling your elected representatives, by leading an equity effort at your kids’ school or at your company. Be vocal and visible against any and all hate against any and all LGBTQ+ people. If we had a united front, we could make real change for everyone.”

In front of the camera, his post-soap opera work has thrived with roles on HBO Max’ Equal, NBC’s The Blacklist, Hulu’s Up Here, and the upcoming Off Ramp film. It is Scott’s dedication to being an activist intertwined with his love of all aspects of the entertainment industry that makes him a truly effective trailblazer … and clearly one of the people we love.

Last modified: February 8, 2023