If you hadn't heard the name Jack Starr before the HBO Max docuseries Equal, which premiered Oct. 22, you're not alone. The second episode of Equal explores the stories of historical transgender individuals Lucy Hicks Anderson, Christine Jorgensen, and Jack Starr — the latter of which who is portrayed above and on the series by nonbinary actor Theo Germaine. Little is known about Jack Starr, who also went by the aliases Jacques Moret and Freddy Frederick, but the new docuseries sheds a light on the historical LGBTQ+ figure's life.
"Jack Starr, the real person that I portrayed, is somebody who I didn't know about before I was cast and is someone who basically nobody knew about before all of the amazing scholars who were working on the show discovered him," Germaine told POPSUGAR about portraying Jack on Equal. "They had just done a ton of research and discovered this person and really wanted to put him in the show." If you try to look up Jack Starr or Jacques Moret online, you won't find much. Most of what little we do know about his life comes from the research done by those working behind the scenes on Equal. "He basically exists exclusively through news clippings and reports of him getting arrested," Germaine said.
"I just think it's super badass and super cool to portray somebody who was a rebel, but was also just trying to live his life a hundred or so years ago."
Throughout Jack's section of the episode, a number of newspaper clippings are seen, detailing his various arrests throughout the years. It's from these arrest clippings that we are able to learn he was born around 1903 on the south seas and his mother died shortly thereafter. Jack had been going by "Jack" since the time he could walk and, according to Jack himself during his arrest at the age of 47, his father had always wanted a boy and dressed him in overalls. From the same article on the series, Jack detailed how he'd worked "in shipyards as a riveter and a steamfitter drove trucks and was a longshoreman."
At the age of 23, Jack was arrested in Butte, MT, for "impersonating a man" and fined $50. The judge stated that his fine would be suspended should he stop wearing men's clothes, but within the week he was arrested once more, this time in the company of a woman named Pearl. The series goes on to say that he was eventually arrested again, posing as Pearl's husband while living life as he pleased. Soon, Jack faded into anonymity, and it wasn't until he was 47 and arrested for not having a draft card that he'd make the headlines once more. Nobody knows what happened to him after this or at the end of his life. "I just think it's super badass and super cool to portray somebody who was a rebel, but was also just trying to live his life a hundred or so years ago," said Germaine.