It’s not even a point in the horror movie Talk to me that one of its actors is non-binary and trans, but the Middle Eastern country of Kuwait they noticed it and later banned it from their cinemas.
Zoe Terakes, 23, plays Hayley in the film, just one of the curious teenagers who enjoy the strange powers of an embalmed hand that, when grasped, leads people into the spiritual realm. The film has received positive reviews and there is even a sequel in the works.
But Kuwait probably won’t see the sequel since it banned the original. The decision was based on Terak’s participation in the film, they are trans in real life. The Hollywood Reporter ran the story about a week ago, and Terakes responded X (formerly Twitter).
They say the film never mentions their trans status or queerness.
“I’m a trans actor who happened to get the part. I am not a homework. I’m a person. Kuwait banned this film only because of my identity,” Terakes wrote.
— Zoe Terakes (@zoeterakes) August 6, 2023
Terakes adds: “As sad as it is to be on the receiving end of this, what is even more heartbreaking is what this precedent means for queer and trans people in Kuwait.
Representation is hope. Representation is a light at the end of the tunnel, a reason to keep going, something to hold on to in the dark, a voice that whispers that things can be better than they are.
Removing trans actors from screens will not remove trans people (as much as the Kuwaiti government would like), but it will remove a lot of hope.”
The actor also says he is concerned for trans people in Kuwait, who have to endure transphobia with few places to look for hope.
The Hollywood Reporter also claims that this is the first case of discrimination in Kuwait where the decision to ban a film is based on the actor’s gender identity.
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— iHorror.com (@iHorrorNews) August 11, 2023