Scroll To Top
Gender Pay Gap

Transgender Actors Test the Pay Gap

The difference in salaries for men and women is exposed with clarity.

Ann Thomas of Transgender Talent Agency tells the story behind casting trans actor Oliver in this revealing experiment:

When I was approached about helping cast the Gender Salary Experiment, I thought, What a novel way to get some real footage of what happens in job interviews to prove it can happen. And what better way than to use transgender actors with real degrees in the fields applicable for the jobs being applied to?

On the shoot in Germany, the production company could find few trans actors to choose from, as the vast majority of trans actors are in the U.S. Plus finding a trans actor who is really good, plus has an advanced degree, was difficult. Oliver meets both criteria, as he has an MBA. Plus Oliver played a lead cisgender man in The Void (2017, CanterLansen Productions), to my knowledge one of the first-ever lead cis roles played by an out trans actor in a feature film. His acting skills are very good.

We've all heard news all over the media for decades about the pay disparities, and trans people see it starkly, as when we transition, either our pay goes up or goes down (if we can even hold a job at all post-transition). One nonbinary friend of mine with an engineering degree reported that their pay dropped 25 percent after transitioning a few years ago.

When Oliver called me from Germany to tell me the results, I was a bit surprised about the significant gap, but it's still well within the ballpark of what trans people can experience. Some of the comments from local German viewers cited a significant difference in the resumes which are shown on-screen, and others cited the very dated female look that Oliver was given for costuming. But even without all that, again, Oliver's results were not that far off from what that one friend of mine experienced in recent years.

Maybe someday such a show would be done here and end up with a happy ending where pay differences might be zero or insignificant. That would be a wonderful world to live in, wouldn't it?

Video courtesy of Terre Des Femmes.

Latest Stories

Advocate Contributors