An Interview with Luzer Twersky: From Ultra-Orthodox to “Transparent” Star

At the beginning of the day, each day, Jill makes a motivational speech about how we’re doing important work: It’s not just a TV show, it’s a revolution, and it’s changing the world. And it absolutely is. She’s not just making stuff up. This can change the world in many, many ways.

And then we just shoot. They turned the music on and let everyone do their thing, and the cameras would just roll around. I don’t know if you’ve been to many sets, but this is unlike any other set I’ve ever been on.

DL: Prior to “Transparent,: had you done any projects that had LGBT content?

LT: This was a first.

DL: Was there any hesitation? I know sometimes actors are warned about getting put into boxes in their careers.

LT: Not at all. I never say no to anything, as long as I believe in the project. The only thing I’d say no to is cookie-cutter garbage. I had no hesitation about this at all. Where I come from, they would tell you they don’t have any homosexuality at all, so it’s like I ran as far as possible in the other direction.

DL: It seems to me that leaving an insular Hasidic community might be a little bit like coming out: figuring out you are different and then keeping a big secret until you have the courage to tell people. What was that experience like for you?

LT: In my case, I was “outed” more than I “came out.” I was leading a double life when I was 22, and then my wife and I abruptly got divorced, and that’s when I had to tell everyone. It was kind of like I was forced to reveal my “true self” and it didn’t go well. My parents didn’t speak to me for many, many years – six or seven years, and there are still members of my family who don’t speak to me.

But I’m always very careful to compare. Here’s the thing: you’ve got to be super careful to compare yourself to anyone else’s plight. It’s like Jews get super-sensitive when you compare anything to the Holocaust. I try not to compare: my experience was like my experience. I can’t possibly understand what it’s like for a person to come out. Abby Stein is my cousin, twice. She’s my second cousin on my dad’s side and she was married to (and now divorced from) my first cousin. I can’t imagine being in her shoes.

Posted on December 15, 2015

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