A Breakout Star From Ryan Murphy’s ‘The Politician’

Name: Theo Germaine

Age: 28

Hometown: Murphysboro, Ill.

Now lives: A two-bedroom apartment in Chicago with his partner and three Balinese cats.

Claim to fame: Mx. Germaine is a breakout star from “The Politician,” Ryan Murphy’s comedy drama for Netflix. Mx. Germaine, who identifies as trans nonbinary, also stars in the Showtime series “Work in Progress,” a dark comedy with queer and trans characters at its center. “I feel very appreciative,” said Mx. Germaine (who prefers ‘he’ pronouns) about his newfound fame. “But it can feel like a piece of yourself has been sold to the public that you will never get back.”

Big break: After studying acting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Mx. Germaine starred in a couple of web series for OTV/Open Television, a nonprofit in Chicago that supports programming by queer and other marginalized groups. He was dogsitting and working at The Wormhole Coffee, a 1980s-style coffee house, when his agent called about the gender-inclusive role of a scheming high schooler in “The Politician.” He was barely scraping by. The role “really just changed everything,” Mx. Germaine said. “It made my life go from zero to 100 in a week.”

Latest project: Mx. Germaine has a part in the HBO Max docuseries “Equal,” which honors influential L.G.B.T.Q. figures. He portrays Jack Starr, a pianist and bootlegger who lived in Montana and was arrested numerous times during the 1920s for dressing in men’s attire. He empathized with the character. “When I was a toddler, I threw fits obsessively unless I was able to pick my own clothes out,” he said.

Next thing: With television productions on hold because of the pandemic, including Season 2 of “Work in Progress,” Mx. Germaine is spending his extra time writing screenplays and developing television scripts, including a sci-fi series and a horror film with a diverse and inclusive cast.

Circus escape: For reasons he can’t explain, Mx. Germaine said that he knew he was transgender at age 3, but it wasn’t until after high school that he met anyone he could identify with. During that confusing time, he found refuge by daydreaming about being in the circus and learning to walk in stilts and breathe fire. Under the big top, he said, “it felt like nobody had gender.”

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