In 2015, Ann Thomas founded Transgender Talent — one of the first management and production companies that cater to transgender and nonbinary actors — in order to support creatives from a marginalized community and help carve a space for them in culture. The service is a two-way street. When a Hollywood production needs to find a trans actor for a job, or advice on a trans storyline, they consult with Thomas’s company, which is also trans-owned and -operated. Behind the scenes, Transgender Talent helps its clients secure an agent and even provides medical advice on issues like hormone therapy.
As the 2021 Out100 honoree describes, "I am the founder of a talent management company that specializes in transgender and/or nonbinary talent, of many kinds. We're transgender-owned and operated. Once we identify and sign clients, we help prepare them to find agents. When we're approached for talent for projects, we help match talent that fits the project properly."
Thomas points to the launch of the company’s consulting division as a major point of pride this year. “This gives a focal point to help writers, directors, and producers navigate … getting transgender performers on screen in a global market,” she says. She also sees the company’s relative longevity as evidence of its necessity in an industry that is still fumbling to portray authentic trans lives.
“As with any startup, we all face financial challenges, but in the long run, it's simply being there that makes a huge statement,” Thomas says. “We've seen several transgender-focused companies come and go over the years. We're still here after six and a half years!”
It’s been a banner year for Transgender Talent’s actors. They include Zoey Luna, a star of The Craft: Legacy who was also featured in the Dear Evan Hansen film, as well as Good Trouble’s Emmett Preciado. And Thomas knows that every meeting can lead to the next big break.
"We have lots of small steps planned - that's what keeps us going over the years. "We're having a steady stream of meetings with folks to get projects launched, for our consulting division. We've got a bunch of music videos to advertise our music division that [is] about to be released. We've got actors landing some pretty cool projects coming up," she says.
A version of this article appeared in Out's 2021 Out100 issue, which is on newsstands November 30. Since this is also Out's 300th issue, we are running a $3 promotion for a one-year subscription. Subscribe now (the promotion ends on December 1). Otherwise, support queer media and subscribe outside of the promotion — or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.