Trailblazer Jesse James Keitel Actively Advocates for Gender Rights
Jesse James Keitel is a talented actor and writer renowned for starring in Asher Jelinsky's award-winning short film Miller & Son. The openly trans nonbinary star's recent prominent project was the ABC crime drama Big Sky.
The showrunners of the latter project even named her the first nonbinary actor to play a nonbinary series regular on primetime television.
Since being a famed entertainment personality, Keitel feels the responsibility to educate people about social issues. Hence, she usually takes her time to advocate for topics like gender rights and the LGBTQ+ community.
Jesse James Keitel Asks Gender Rights for Trans People
Earlier this year, on March 31, the 28-year-old star took to Instagram to share screenshots of a series of news about trans people being mistreated in society. Through the post, she advocated for gender rights and wrote things to be done to fight gender-based violence.
"Being visible is a beautiful privilege and responsibility — but it's also soul numbingly exhausting," she wrote in her long caption, asking others to unpack their internalized biases, lean into their discomfort and unlearn their bad habits. She also urged them to uplift the queer people in their life and demand that they are respected.
"Because existing in 2021 is *hard* and I'm tired of trans people needing to pick themselves up when it feels like the world just keeps kicking us down," she added.
Keitel continued to tell her followers that trans people also need love and active support. She mentioned that a like and comment on Instagram were not enough for the support.
Instead, she appealed to them to demand rights like trans representation, equal pay, equal access to affordable and sustainable housing, legal job protections, anti-discrimination laws, and equal access to gender-affirming healthcare.
She also implied that trans people were refused medical treatment because of their gender identity or presentation, made to feel uncomfortable while using public restrooms, and denied justice. Hence, she felt the concerned authority, and ordinary people must play a vital role in bringing gender rights for trans people.
Playing Transgender Character in 'Big Sky'
Keitel, who uses she/her and they/them pronouns, isn't just vocal about the rights of trans people or the LGBTQ+ community but has also beautifully portrayed them on screen.
In the ABC series Big Sky, she plays the role of Jerrie Kennedy, who is the lead transgender character. She often sat down with the writers and producers to craft the character into something more representative of the contemporary queer experience.
She told NBC News of her queer character in December 2020 after the release of its first season,
There have been times when something just didn't sit right with me in the script, and the producers have been amazing at listening to what I had to say and tweaking the script to be more of what I would want to see on TV.
The first season of the series received mixed reviews, but many praised Keitel's portrayal of a trans character.
The series is now set to return for the second season on September 30, 2021, with Keitel, Kylie Bunbury, Katheryn Winnick, Brian Geraghty, Valerie Mahaffey, and Dedee Pfeiffer reprising their roles.