The breakout actress — who became the first transgender person to land two series regular roles with Pose and American Horror Story: 1984 — appears in EW’s exclusive clip from Gabrielle Zilkha’s upcoming film Queering the Script. The documentary chronicles the evolving face of representation in the television industry.
“[What] gets in the way of getting really accurate representation is, sometimes, funding,” Ross says in the preview (above). “The people who are the storytellers, who are closer to the story, are usually not the ones who are funded to tell the story. Pose is about a shift of power.”
Series co-creator and executive producer Steven Canals says Pose — Ryan Murphy’s groundbreaking series that follows the lives of queer New Yorkers navigating the Harlem ballroom scene amid the AIDS crisis — changed the game by including community voices on all fronts of production.
“We knew that we were going to have queer and trans voices in the room, directing episodes,” he says, referencing contributions from the likes of Janet Mock and Our Lady J. “They were going to be at every single level of this production.”
“For so long, the rooms that were doing that were all-white rooms…. We need to shift the paradigms so we’re making it better. It’s better to have these people in the room,” adds One Day at a Time co-showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett, while Ross finishes: “The more that we have authentic folks telling these stories, the more we’re going to understand each other and stop coming from our own understanding of what this is, and listen through the television!”
In a director’s statement provided to EW, Zilkha explains the film was inspired by her own experiences searching for representation as a queer youth.
“When I arrived at that age where I realized I was queer, suddenly my script was no longer following the script. Mainstream pop culture didn’t have a place for my narrative anymore. Suddenly, my trusted substitute parent and cultural guide, the television, failed me. Because when you don’t see yourself represented, you don’t exist,” the statement reads. “This is what drew me to the topic of queer fandom. Because instead of internalizing this rejection and resenting all things mainstream and heteronormative as I would come to do, young queer fans today are channeling their love and passion for TV by demanding better from content creators.”
Tourism Vancouver will co-present Queering the Script Saturday, July 20 at Outfest Los Angeles. Watch EW’s exclusive preview above.