Euphoria star Bobbi Salvor Menuez has said they accepted the possibility their acting career might be over before they came out.
The trans non-binary performer and artist is one of four non-binary actors who share the role of Denny in the new film Under My Skin, which will premiere at the Raindance film festival in London today.
The film is about a free spirited musician who falls for a straight-laced lawyer and whose relationship is tested when Denny begins to question their gender.
Menuez, who came out publicly on social media and changed their name from India in January 2019, told the PA news agency: “I got the script at a moment where I was wondering what kind of roles were out there for me after coming out more publicly and changing my name.
“It was really special to receive this script that was really centring this character in this very raw point of liminal space in their gender.”
They added: “Before I had my public coming out I had taken a six-month full-stop break from auditions or anything public in any way.
“I just was really focused on being insular, that felt really essential to my personal process and I really value cultivating a relationship with myself that exists outside of this world.
“So to get to the point where I was able to be like ‘This is who I am, this is what it is,’ I had to – and maybe this was just myself doomsday thinking – accept the possibility that I just will never act again, that there won’t be roles for me, this is the end of my acting career and I will just do something else.
“That was oddly relaxing to me. Once I was able to get to that point, then anything that came my way was like ‘Oh cool! I didn’t know what was going to happen.’
“Of course trans representation is on the rise so it was naive of me to think there would be no roles for me, and it felt really affirming and fun.
“Ever since coming out acting has just been more fun, that is reductive way to describe it but I’ve been more in my body and more present in the experience.
“It’s been fun to see what roles make sense for me and they are not all explicitly trans roles but it kind of made sense to have one of my first roles that I took on in that time for me be a more explicit trans role about that experience in all these ways.”
Menuez said they hope this is the start of more films featuring non-binary stars, adding: “The word that comes to mind is integration, to actually integrate these people, these characters, into whatever the story is.
“There is a place for films like this film, that is tracing specifically and really centring on and very focused on the trans experience and how someone in that experience might make medical choices around their body and their gender.
“I think there is a really special place for that in cinema but I think trans representation needs to go way beyond that in terms of all representation.
“Maybe just the baker at the bakery in the TV show is trans, it doesn’t need to be a thing at all.”
Liv Hewson, who is non-binary and also shares the role of Denny, added: “What I want is more films with non-binary people in them and many different kinds of films with non-binary people in them, different genres and paces and people and any one film is a small piece of that puzzle so I hope it means there is going to be more of this.
“It speaks to the larger cultural trend of treating marginalised people like a monolith, the assumption that there is one experience that is able to communicate the lived identity of any group of people, and that is ridiculous.
“It would just be strange if we made a film about heterosexual people and we were like ‘We’ve done it now, we don’t need anymore ever again!’.
“That is crazy, and given that we are in the industry of storytelling, why wouldn’t we be interested in telling as many different stories as possible.”