This fight is exactly what drives King in her own work – and why she will never stop fighting for transrepresentation in Hollywood. Scroll down to learn more from King as she talks about Equal, her past roles, and why LGBTQ + stories matter.
IS! News: Equal offers so many history lessons in ways that aren’t boring. When did you first find out about the riot in the Compton cafeteria?
Isis King: I learned about it on this project, which I was a little shocked about. It’s like black history, isn’t it? We talk about the same remarkable numbers every year. And then you hear about a new character and you just say, “Well, hey, I never knew about that person.” I felt the same way. I said, “Oh wait, this happens everywhere.” We only hear of one big moment that started the Pride movement, but there were so many other things across the country. This was a big moment in history when the queens were tired.
E !: In episode two, three historical trans individuals are introduced. Who is your trans hero
I: I always enjoy telling the story of Octavia Saint Laurent. I saw Paris Is Burning when I was 19. And that was the first time I’ve seen anyone outside of the stereotypical episodes of Jerry Springer and Maury. This was the first time I saw someone on my TV screen who was articulate, confident, and powerful. She knew what she wanted, she knew who she was. And I just said, “Oh my god, it’s possible, I’ll be just like them.” I thought this is how I will navigate the transition. I have to move to the big city of New York and there will be a group of people who will help me navigate safely. And I literally did that. It was all because of Octavia Saint Laurent.
E !: What do you love so much about the name Isis?
I: Isis was the most powerful and recognized goddess of ancient Egypt. Her name means queen or mother of the throne. My 21st birthday was the second time I went out and presented myself as Isis. I went to the club and I remember thinking, “That’s the name.” It’s a powerful name and I feel born to be a powerful person with a good heart who can make a difference. I wanted something I could live up to. I didn’t know what was ahead of me, but I wanted to make Octavia and the goddess proud.