Trans Actor Produces His Own Uplifting Film – With An All Trans Cast And Crew.

by Morgan Sullivan

My name is Morgan Sullivan and I am from Westchester, New York.

I’m an actor. I’ve been acting since I was about 8 years old. And I moved into the city about 6 years ago to go to college and start acting professionally.

I started socially transitioning about 6 years ago and then I started medically transitioning through hormones and stuff about 4 years ago. And then I got top surgery 3 years ago.

So I used to only go out pretty much for trans roles because that was all the directors were really seeing me as and for. There were only a certain amount of roles that were really available to me. So that – it was mostly trans roles. And at that time at least, most of them were just based around medical transition and really melodramatic and, you know, pretty intense. And then as I started medically transitioning, I’d mostly go out for cis guy roles, like non-trans male roles now, in addition to trans roles. So it was this kind of funny thing because I felt like I was leaving a part of my identity behind.

And I felt like there was kind of – there were a few narratives that were missing. Specifically, people, like, after they medically transitioned or just day-to-day life of a trans person. I hadn’t seen any positive romantic relationships with a trans person. Like I just – that was never something that I saw.

I had wanted to make a film ever since I was little. I made my parents get me, like, a little video camera when I was like 8 or something. So I’ve always wanted to make something but I never really felt like it was something that was feasible until I saw my friend make a film. And she’s like this amazing, supercool queer actor and filmmaker based in Brooklyn. And she cast me in her film and so I started talking with her about ideas that I had and everything and she encouraged me to make my film.

And so I started writing it and producing it and going into pre-production. I remember talking to my girlfriend before I made the film and I was just nervous. I was going back and forth. I don’t know if I want to do it. 

And she said, “If you make this thing and you submit it to all these festivals and it does not get into any festivals, will you still be happy that you made it?”

And I was like, “Yeah, because I think that it needs to be made and it’s something that’s really important to me.”

She’s like the most supportive person ever. She’s, like, so super cool. And the film is kind of based off of our first date and it’s just, like, a really sweet summer romance with two trans people and that’s all I wanted it to be.

I ended up producing it with an entirely trans cast and crew, so every single person that worked on it was trans. Finding my crew once I decided that I wanted to have an entirely trans cast and crew was pretty difficult. I found a lot of my crew members through word of mouth, a lot of them through Facebook. And then casting was – it a pretty interesting process because a lot of trans people are not formally trained, a lot of people don’t have representation. So finding people was a little bit tricky.

It was a two-day shoot and everyone was, like, swapping surgery stories, talking about their names and, like, pro – like we had pronouns on the call sheet. And it also is a pretty – because it was a romantic kind of film, that was a pretty, like, intimate set. And just to know that everybody in the room was trans, just really, like – it was just really special and really nice and grounding.

So we got into Outfest, which is like this queer and trans film festival in LA, which is super exciting. We got in – we had our premiere at Frameline, which is this other Queer and Trans festival in San Francisco. A lot of trans people came up to me and they were like, “I’ve never seen something like this. Like I’ve never seen something like this before,” “That – that was exactly like my first date with my partner. I’d want a relationship like that so bad.” Like, just to show that, as a possibility for something and for, like, a young trans person that’s coming out or any trans person that’s coming out or are already out, just to have that out there – because trans people are super cool and cute and, like, fun and, like, we deserve to have nice, happy, sweet relationships, too.

Working on my own film was one of the most empowering things that I’ve done for myself as an actor. It’s changed everything. And I guess that’s why – that’s why I wanted to tell the story because I think that all queer and trans people should be making their own stories. I think it is so super important. I think we have such a unique perspective and there are so many different narratives that are still missing. I wanted to write a role for myself that showed, you know, a happy trans person in a happy relationship and just a nice story.

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