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New Spider-Man movie stars out trans actors in first for Marvel

Sofia Lotto Persio January 16, 2019
The new Spider-man film is the first Marvel superhero movie to cast trans actors.

Two out trans actors will feature in the new Spider-man: Far From Home movie. (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

A teaser trailer for the new Spider-Man: Far From Home movie dropped on Tuesday (January 15), reminding LGBT+ audiences that this is the first Marvel superhero movie to cast two out trans actors.

The movie, set for release in July, will star Zach Barack playing a friend of Peter Parker and Tyler Luke Cunningham as a featured extra, The Advocate reported.

Barack, 23, is an American actor for whom Spider-Man: Far From Home represents his first feature film.

The trans actor shared the movie teaser on social media and later wrote in a separate Twitter post: “Being able to work with other trans people is a gift. Trans people are a gift. Im so lucky to be me.”

Zach Barack is one of two out trans actors playing in the new Spider-man movie.
Zach Barack is one of two trans actors who will star in the upcoming Spider-man movie. (Zach Barack/Twitter)

Cunningham, 23, will be known to British audiences for playing Charlie, a trans character, in the BBC sitcom Boy Meets Girl. 

The actor, who once told Huck Magazine he identifies “half as a trans man, half just as a man, as a human,” teased his appearance in the movie in a few posts on his Instagram in October.

He also posted a tribute to Marvel comic book writer Stan Lee in occasion of his passing in November. “Stan Lee, Thank you for creating some thing that I could be a part of. Sleep well sir,” Cunningham wrote.

Tyler Lee Cunningham is one of two trans actors who will appear in the new Spider-man movie.
Tyler Lee Cunningham is known to British audiences for playing Charlie in Boy Meets Girl. (Tyler Lee Cunningham/Instagram)

News of the diverse casting FIRST emerged in September, through the Twitter account of a Spider-Man fan, which read: “We have two trans actors playing students as well, one of which is a black man. ffh is going to be a diverse masterpiece.”

Marvel’s issues with LGBT+ representation

LGBT+ fans of Marvel comic books and films have long been demanding increased representation in the universe.

Several Marvel films including Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther did have characters who were intended to be LGBT+, but all references to their sexuality were left out of the cinematic representation of the comics.

In November, Marvel Studios executive vice-president of production Victoria Alonso agreed that more should be done to increase LGBT+ representation in Marvel movies. “The gay community has not been represented whatsoever. I’m gay, so I can tell you that I would long for that,” she said.

And as audiences increasingly demand LGBT+ actors be given more opportunity to work to represent their community, the casting of trans actors in a Marvel superhero movie signals change is underway.

More: marvel, spider-man, trans actors, Tyler Luke Cunningham, zach Barack

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