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USC Launches Alexandra Billings Scholarship for LGBTQ Drama Students

Alexandra Billings

The scholarship, named after the transgender actress and professor, will financially assist applicants to USC's School of Dramatic Arts.

The University of Southern California has launched a groundbreaking grant for LGBTQ students.

The prestigious Los Angeles school will offer the Alexandra Billings Scholarship to benefit queer applicants to its School of Dramatic Arts who are in need of financial assistance.

Alexandra Billings is an assistant professor of acting at USC. She is also a pioneering transgender activist and actress known for roles in Transparent,How to Get Away With Murder,Grey's Anatomy, and ER. She was one of the first openly transgender people to be featured on the cover of The Advocate, in 1999.

Billings announced the scholarship -- "one of the very first of its kind" -- in a Wednesday Instagram post, in which she said, "I am overwhelmed and profoundly moved by this honor."

"Grateful to be held and seen in a way I never thought possible," Billings stated. "As a 56-year-old mixed race trans woman living with AIDS since the mid-1980s and having survived on the streets of Chicago as a sex worker, a heroin addict, and being homeless for almost a year and a half, this sits in a place in my spirit that is truly humbling."

A cabaret performance featuring Billings and benefiting the scholarship -- titled I'm Still Queer: A Trans American Cabaret -- will be held May 1 at USC's Bing Theatre in Los Angeles. "The evening will be filled with joy, celebration, chaos and revolution in its purest form. It will also be gayer than Elton John singing 'Rose's Turn' in a Bob Mackie gown while Cher polishes her Oscar," Billings promised.

Read her announcement below.

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