Eddie Redmayne Salutes Caitlyn Jenner's Courage, Discusses Transgender Awareness

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"My greatest ignorance when I started was that gender and sexuality were related."

Eddie Redmayne opened up to Out magazine about playing transgender woman Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl.

“I knew nothing about it, going in,” he told the magazine. “It felt like it was a piece about authenticity and love and the courage it takes to be yourself.”

Redmayne revealed that he spoke with transgender people like Lana Wachowski, April Ashley and Paris Lees in order to hear about their personal experiences.

"People were so kind and generous with their experience, but also so open,” said the actor, admitting that he is nervous for his transgender friends to see the movie for the first time. “Virtually all of the trans men and women I met would say, ‘Ask me anything.’ They know that need for cisgender people to be educated."

He added, "I felt like, I’m being given this extraordinary experience of being able to play this woman, but with that comes this responsibility of not only educating myself but hopefully using that to educate [an audience]. Gosh, it’s delicate. And complicated."

Redmayne feels even more responsibility to adequately help raise trans awareness because of how often the topic is discussed now, thanks in large part to celebrities like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner.

“I was in New York when the [Caitlyn Jenner] Vanity Fair cover came out, and I was reading The New York Times and all of the op-ed pieces that were being written about it,” said the Oscar winner. “The dialogue was so rich and full, with everyone having opinions. Then I came back and saw the trailer for the film.”

He said of Jenner, “I absolutely salute her courage. Hers is a very specific story, and it’s one that shouldn’t stand for everybody’s. But it is amazing what’s she gone through and how she’s done it.”

The actor said that as transgender people continue to come into the spotlight, it has created a "civil rights moment" for them.

"My greatest ignorance when I started was that gender and sexuality were related," said Redmayne, who maintains that gender is fluid. "And that’s one of the key things I want to hammer home to the world: You can be gay or straight, trans man or woman, and those two things are not necessarily aligned.”

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