And the honorees are...

Meet the world-class performers who are diversifying LGBTQ representation

Actors have the ability to move us in more than one way: With their performances and by using their platforms for the good. In a time of police murders of African-Americans, pandemic, and prejudice, we are particularly grateful to them for showing the other side of humanity.

Each of the honorees in Queerty's Pride50 category "performers" has scored career milestones in the past year in representing the diversity of our community while at the same time advocating for equality offstage, helping elevate the social justice cause while doing so.

They make us happy, make us weep, and, of course, they make us proud.

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2. Trace Lysette

Trace Lysette is the transgender actress who played Shae in Amazon Studios' Transparent. She also starred along Constance Wu in Hustlers, a story of strippers and sex work in New York City

Trace Lysette rode into 2020 on a career-high, starring in her recurring role on Pose, reprising her role as Shea in the finale of Transparent, and scoring the featured role of Tracey in Hustlers opposite Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. Lysette won glowing reviews, making her one of the most high-profile transgender actresses.

Lysette began her career in New York as a dancer, performing in Manhattan nightclubs. She had a goal: earn enough to pay for her medical treatment to complete her gender confirmation.

Following her transition, she landing her big first role as a cisgender woman, on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Further roles in films and TV followed.

But it’s her off-screen courage that makes us the proudest. Over the advice of her management, Lysette came out as trans after landing her role on Transparent. Instead of inhibiting her career, it gave her a boost. Appearances in music videos such as Maroon 5’s “Girl Like You” followed as did roles on Pose, Drunk History, and an appearance on the reality series I Am Cait.

In 2017, Lysette became one of the first LGBTQ people to join the #MeToo movement when she went public with allegations of sexual harassment by her Transparent co-star Jeffrey Tambor.

Coming out in any form takes courage. As Lysette told Queerty:

It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, and that I’ve ever had happen to me. I think that I was just so used to being sexualized and brushing that stuff off that I developed a callous to it. Thankfully, we’re living in a day and age where we don’t have to take that sh*t anymore.

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