Trans Actor Scott Turner Schofield Is an Activist Through His Art

Schofield is contesting that most of his advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community is done through simply producing art in Hollywood

Balancing the weight of activism and artistry has always been an element of daily life in Hollywood for Scott Turner Schofield. While this is the case for the actor and producer, who is also a trans man, he contests the notion that an individual’s transgender identity does not bring with it an obligation to activism—a perception many trans people face as they work against countless other obstacles. Schofield contests that while there is a balance that can be found, trans people are simply people who, like everyone, can be content with just living and indulging in their chosen craft.

Schofield’s roots in the entertainment industry run deep—before the tipping point around 2014 of wider mainstream acceptance of trans men and women, he had already been finding success in daytime television, primarily as Nick on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful. Not only was this huge for him, but Schofield was setting milestones within the trans community; he was the first out trans actor in his field.

Actor Scott Turner Schofield presents an award at The TMA 2015 Heller Awards on May 28, 2015 in Century City, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Talent Managers Association)

“Long story short, I only wanted to be an actor, but I started being a professional actor before trans actors could actually get cast in anything,” Schofield tells LAMag. “Hollywood’s a funny place. They want new stories, but only some new stories.”

Things really began to pick up for Schofield when he premiered his one-man show, Becoming a Man In 127 EASY Steps, at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, wherein he tells the lighthearted tale of his gender transition, touching on the more humorful aspects of the experience. This was one of his first moves out of the stereotypical male role he says he’d felt shoehorned into throughout his career—a common sentiment in Hollywood among minority performers.

“I really thought that for the rest of my life, I would only be able to play the same role,” Schofield told LAMag. “This one-man show was the only way that I could act; I could only write my own story, I could only tell my own story.”

Actor Scott Turner Schofield attends a cocktail party celebrating dynamic and diverse nominees for the 67th Emmy Awards hosted by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and SAG-AFTRA at Montage Beverly Hills on August 27, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

In 2020, Schofield made history once again—this time as the first transgender man to be nominated for an acting Emmy for Outstanding Guest Performer in the Digital Drama Series Studio City. With all the recognition he had been receiving, he then decided to move to the production side of Hollywood to ensure that other transgender actors have the same opportunities.

While working in his role as a transgender consultant on HBO’s hit Euphoria, Schofield has the chance to shape Hunter Schafer’s character, Jules, into an authentic representation of a trans girl in high school. Whilst doing so, he had a candid conversation with Schafer about her own desired path in Hollywood.

“I’ve been thinking so much about this moment, sitting with Hunter, as we were filming episode two of season one when we first sat down and talked about how I could serve her role,” Schofield recalled. “I just think about where she was then and where she is now… Because she also said, ‘I’m an artist.’ And there’s this expectation that trans actors have to be activists; that we have to teach everybody that we have to be the role model. And she said, ‘I’m just an artist,’ and I said, ‘I get that.’

“That’s actually activism in itself, too. You don’t have to do anything other than be an artist,” Schofield continued.

What Schafer was describing had been his own experience for years—an expectation to make a further impact, as if being a prominent trans figure practicing their art was not already enough. Artistry as activism has been Schofield’s modus operandi throughout his career and he’s doing a damn good job with it. 

(L-R) A screentest shot taken of Austin Crute, Theo Germaine, and Scott Turner Schofield. (Photo by Wallman PR)

“Yeah, I am an artist, I want to create artful stories. And I have been systematically kept out of that,” Schofield tells LAMag. “So now, to be in this position where people still ask the question, ‘Well, why does it have to be a trans storyteller?’ I’m like, ‘Because it does, dammit—because we need the opportunity, you need the opportunity to hear our perspective; to tell the difference for yourself,” he continued.

Schofield will continue to tell those stories. He recently completed production on Peacock’s LGBTQ+ conversion camp slasher flick, “They/Them,” which features actor Kevin Bacon and hits streaming on August 5.

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