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Hunter Schafer is over being cast in transgender roles: 'I find it ultimately demeaning'

Hunter Schafer from the cast of "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" participates in a talk at 92NY on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Hunter Schafer, who transitioned in ninth grade, says she's done with playing transgender roles on screen. "I find it ultimately demeaning to me and what I want to do," she told GQ. (Charles Sykes / Invision / Associated Press)

Hunter Schafer isn’t interested in playing transgender roles anymore. The 25-year-old actress, most recognized for her breakout role in “Euphoria,” HBO’s Emmy-winning drama, no longer wants to be reduced to this element of her identity.

In an interview with GQ, she voices her concerns about being recognized only as trans, especially by the media. She often avoids the word “trans” entirely in interviews — feeling that her gender identity shouldn’t be the first thing people mention.

Read more: Hunter Schafer broke through in ‘Euphoria.’ Now she’s mining her life for it

“As soon as I say it [being transgender], it gets blastoff,” Schafer said. “It took a while to learn that and it also took a while to learn that I don’t want to be [reduced to] that, and I find it ultimately demeaning to me and what I want to do. Especially after high school, I was sick of talking about it.

"I worked so hard to get to where I am, past these really hard points in my transition, and now I just want to be a girl and finally move on.”

Her acting career began in 2018 when she was cast as Jules, best friend and love interest of Rue, who is played by Zendaya. But being an actor was never her intention. She started off as a model who got scouted immediately after high school — her work in activism spotlighted her and caught the fashion industry’s attention.

From there, she found herself being cast in a series full of either up-and-coming or established actors, with co-stars including Jacob Elordi, Alexa Demie and Sydney Sweeney.

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She has since played roles in “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” and in Tilman Singer’s newest horror movie “Cuckoo.” In addition to acting, she has continued modeling and has worked with brands such as Prada, Dior and Gucci.

Schafer does feel guilty for not being “more of a spokesperson” for the transgender community, but she sees her separating herself from being trans as more of a strategy than anything else.

“I really do believe that not making [being trans] the centerpiece to what I’m doing will allow me to get further. And I think getting further and doing awesome s—, in the interest of ‘the movement,’ will be way more helpful than talking about it all the time,” Schafer told GQ.

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Having been offered many transgender roles and denying them, Schafer isn’t looking to achieve “some sort of utopia.” She said she's "totally cool" with people calling her a man or dissing her because she's trans. She's not interested in changing those hearts and minds.

"As long as you’re staying in your lane ... work. Work! Do that. And I’m going to be over here with people I love,” Schafer said.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.