Trans singer: American Idol producers wanted to ‘exploit’ my identity

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A transgender singer has laid into American Idol casting directors for looking to recruit a trans person for their TV show.

21-year-old Ryan Cassata had applied for the reality TV series before last year – only to be flatly rejected.

However, after Caitlyn Jenner came out and transgender issues came into the mainstream, Cassata was been besieged with phone calls from the show’s casting directors, inviting him to take part.

In an open letter to the show’s producers, he wrote: “I have received many phone calls and emails begging me to try out in front of the executive producers of the show in the past couple months. I’m not interested.

“Last year I was interested, and I tried out but you didn’t want me, I wasn’t ‘contemporary enough’ and being transgender wasn’t such a hot issue in the media like it is now.

“This year, I see what American Idol is all about, another pre-casted show, that’s looking for ‘singers’ to boost their ratings, and now they just need that token trans person for America to gossip about, to hype up the show.

“I realized that you only want me because I’m a transgender person who happens to be a singer, not because I’m a singer who just happens to be transgender, and because of that I’m not interested.

“This year you picked me because you want someone that’s trangender and you don’t want someone #that people might make fun of, or [someone] who looks too much like they are men who transitioned to women, or [that] look fake or gimmicky’.

“You said you don’t want a transgender person ‘who sticks out like a sore thumb’. You also referred to trans people as ‘men in dresses’ and ‘trangenders’. That is very ignorant, and transphobic.”

He added: “I feel that American Idol would exploit me and maybe exploit the transgender community for the purposes of TV ratings and profit.

“That’s not the right reason to go on television, and that’s not the right thing to do for my community. If it was purely an educational program, and not some overly sensationalized show than I would totally do it.

“American Idol isn’t punk rock, punk rock is about being honest, and American Idol isn’t honest. It’s mostly pre-casted, and deep down, it probably isn’t even about singing anymore.

“I reject your invitation to SELL OUT. After all, I’m a SINGER, who just happens to be transgender.”

He also made a YouTube video about the open letter.

Watch the clip below: