This acting coach is helping trans actors be themselves

This segment originally aired Oct. 20, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO

“Laverne [Cox] was in this room that we’re in right now,” acting coach Brad Calcaterra told his class, referring to the Orange Is the New Black star who went on to become the first openly trans actress nominated for an Emmy. The advice he gives his LGBT acting students? Stop acting.

Calcaterra has been acting for more than 20 years, with appearances on Law & Order and Gotham. He now specializes in training transgender actors in his weekly course Act Out. “I teach my trans students no different than anyone else,” Calcaterra told VICE News correspondent Mary H.K. Choi. “It’s not about passing; it’s about being who we are.”

His approach seems to be working. One student, Sawyer DeVuyst, is on his way to Los Angeles to put Calcaterra’s methods to the test. “I can show the world who I am because I am now comfortable being who I am,” he said.

Watch next: Transgender teen Gavin Grimm’s right to use the bathroom was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court

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