Trace Lysette

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Trace Lysette
Trace Lysette at the premier for Hustlers.jpg
Trace Lysette at HUSTLERS premier, Toronto Film Festival 2019

Trace Lysette is an American actress and recording artist whose roles include Shea on the Amazon Video television series Transparent (2014–2019) and Tracey in the feature film Hustlers (2019), among many others.

Early life[edit]

While she has been a New Yorker for most of her life, she was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and grew up in and around Dayton, Ohio. In her late teens, Lysette was a track athlete and performed as a showgirl in bars and clubs around Dayton and Columbus, Ohio. She moved to New York City after high school in search of opportunities. Lysette was estranged from her biological family due to her gender transition for a period of time which led her to find family in the underground New York ball culture scene, of which she has been a respected member since young adulthood. She began her actor training in New York City, studying at various acting studios in 2007. Her television debut was a guest appearance as Lila in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2013,[1] making her one of the first trans people to appear in a non trans speaking role on primetime television.


After working in non-transgender roles, Lysette came out publicly as trans through her role as Shea on the Amazon series Transparent. On the show, she plays a transgender yoga teacher and friend of Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor).[2] Lysette originally auditioned for the role of Davina.[3] The third season of Transparent contains a storyline in which Shea has a romantic relationship with a cisgender heterosexual man, which has been called "a groundbreaking TV moment for a trans character."[3] In 2019 she arrived on the big screen starring alongside Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Cardi B, Keke Palmer, and Lizzo among others in the critically acclaimed box office hit Hustlers, by Lorene Scafaria. Lysette’s role in Hustlers is one of the first times a trans actor has starred in a major movie (not indie or foreign) alongside A-list celebs and is arguably the first time in history that an out trans actor has starred in a feature film by a major studio where the character was not specifically defined as trans in the film.

She has also appeared in guest roles in shows such as Blunt Talk, David Makes Man, Midnight Texas, Pose, and Drunk History.[4] She also made an appearance in Caitlyn Jenner's documentary series I Am Cait. Additionally, she has appeared as a muse in several high-profile music videos for artists such as Maroon 5, Cher, Teyana Taylor, The Shins, and Laverne Cox.

In 2017, transgender actors and actresses including Lysette (with the help of GLAAD and ScreenCrush) were part of a filmed letter to Hollywood written by Jen Richards, asking for more and improved roles for transgender people.[5][6]

In June 2020, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, Queerty named her among the fifty heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people”.[7][8] An article published in July 2020 by Variety revealed that Lysette had signed on as an Executive Producer of Trans in Trumpland, a forthcoming documentary series about being transgender in the Trump Administration era.[9]



Year Title Role Notes
2016 Coffee House Chronicles: The Movie Rachel
2017 Deadbeat Ryan's Wife Short film
2019 Hustlers Tracey
2020 Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen Herself Documentary film


Year Title Role Notes
2013 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Lila Episode: "Internal Affairs"
2015 The Curse of the Fuentes Women Gloria Television film
2014–2019 Transparent Shea 11 episodes
2015 I Am Cait Herself 3 episodes
2015–2016 Blunt Talk Gisele 3 episodes
2016–2019 Drunk History Sylvia Rivera / Elizabeth Eden 2 episodes
2017 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself Episode: "Grand Finale"
2018–2019 Pose Tess Wintour 2 episodes
2018 Midnight, Texas Celeste Episode: "Drown the Sadness in Chardonnay"
2019 David Makes Man Femi Episode: "Dai Out"


Year Title Role Notes
2016 Coffee House Chronicles Rachel Episode: "Tran-sitions"

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist(s) Ref.
2017 "Name for You" (Flipped) The Shins
2018 "Girls Like You" (Original, Volume 2 and Vertical Video versions) Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B [10][11][12]
"Beat for the Gods" Laverne Cox [13]
"SOS" Cher
2019 "WTP" Teyana Taylor [14]


  1. ^ "GLAAD chats with Trace Lysette, star of Transparent and Blunt Talk". GLAAD. 2015-09-17. Archived from the original on 2017-04-01. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  2. ^ "Transparent's Trace Lysette on her personal connection to Shea's journey this season". 2016-09-29. Archived from the original on 2017-04-01. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  3. ^ a b "'Transparent' Star on Josh and Shea's Groundbreaking Romance: "It's Just Boy Meets Girl"". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2017-04-01. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  4. ^ Kellaway, Mitch (2015-04-15). "After Years of Hiding in Hollywood, Trans Actress Trace Lysette Is Finally 'Living Out Loud'". Archived from the original on 2017-05-19. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  5. ^ Curtis M. Wong (2017-06-20). "New Video Breaks Down Why Hollywood Needs Transgender Actors". HuffPost. Archived from the original on 2017-06-23. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  6. ^ Reynolds, Daniel (2017-06-20). "Trans Actors Ask Hollywood for Roles With Dignity and Depth in Open Letter". Archived from the original on 2017-06-20. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  7. ^ "Queerty Pride50 2020 Honorees". Queerty. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  8. ^ Reddish, David (2020-06-01). "Meet the world-class performers who are diversifying LGBTQ representation". Queerty. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  9. ^ Malkin, Marc (2020-07-28). "Trace Lysette to Produce New Docuseries 'Trans in Trumpland' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  10. ^ Amatulli, Jenna. "Maroon 5, Cardi B's 'Girls Like You' Video Is a Star-Studded Dance Party". HuffPost. Archived from the original on May 31, 2018. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  11. ^ Glicksman, Josh (October 16, 2018). "Maroon 5 Releases New Version of 'Girls Like You' Music Video: Watch". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 3, 2018. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  12. ^ "Maroon 5 – Girls Like You (Vertical Video) featuring Cardi B". Spotify. Archived from the original on 2018-12-19. Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  13. ^ "WATCH: Laverne Cox just took things to a new level with her debut single and video". Channel 24. February 26, 2018. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  14. ^ "Teyana Taylor Is a Voguing Cinderella in 'WTP'". PAPER. 2019-01-24. Archived from the original on 2019-01-24. Retrieved 2019-01-24.

External links[edit]