Replay: In ‘Disclosure,’ Laverne Cox and Sam Feder explore trans representation in media

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Executive producer Laverne Cox is featured in Sam Feder’s documentary “Disclosure,” which is now a finalist for a Peabody Award. Photo by Ava Benjamin Shorr / Netflix

Hollywood’s depictions of trans people — and the impact of those portrayals on the trans audience — is the subject of the 2020 Netflix documentary “Disclosure,” which is now a finalist for a Peabody Award. The film draws on decades of archival footage, from Bugs Bunny cartoons to “Yentl” to “Silence of the Lambs.”

This week, The Business revisits a conversation with “Disclosure” director Sam Feder and executive producer Laverne Cox, who’s also a subject of the film.



“Disclosure” demonstrates how trans characters have been a crucial part of movies and television long before progressive shows like “Orange is the New Black” and FX’s “Pose.” For decades, trans roles went to characters that were duplicitous or even murderous. 

Even with limited representation on screen, Cox says growing up, she found herself through watching movies — and possibly not films one might expect. 

“I don’t know if the filmmakers had a Black trans, gender nonconforming kid in Mobile, Alabama, in mind when they conceived of ‘Yentl.’ I don’t know if I was the target demographic for that.” 

Cox says finding similarities between oneself and a character on screen “is something that LGBTQI people have been doing for a very long time.”

Feder and Cox also discuss hiring an almost all-trans crew to make their film and the mentorship program that was created through the production of “Disclosure.”

Credits

Guest:

Host:

Kim Masters

Producer:

Kaitlin Parker