Should Cisgender People Play Transgender Roles
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Should Cisgender People Be Allowed To Play Transgender Roles?

A weigh in on a topic that's very unclear.

Should Cisgender People Be Allowed To Play Transgender Roles?

When asked during class what my opinion was about Scarlett Johansson's casting, and later abandoning, of the lead role of a transgender man in the movie Rub & Tug, I had only shrugged and said I didn't get why it was a big deal. I believed that the person best suited for the part should win the role. Then someone, more knowledgeable in the matter, spoke.

Transgender people have faced oppression in many ways; ways that I am too inadequate to speak about and ways that my mind could never possibly understand as I have never been in their shoes. Identifying as transgender can be dangerous and is still sometimes treated as an illness rather than what it actually is--a part of a person. It should also be stated that many transgender people have different experiences due to the different types of transgenders there are and the different environments they grew up in. In short, people who are transgender face marginalization in everyday life and the type of oppression that follows them into the workplace.

When I was asked my opinion, I said without hesitation that Scarlett Johansson should have kept the role; she was obviously the best actor and the biggest name. Why should cisgender people be stuck to cisgender roles when transgender people can do both?

The answer is they can't. Cisgender people migrate between roles all the time while those who identify as transgender are left in the dust from the beginning of their career--and not for lack of talent. Many transgender actors have trouble getting a foot into the business from the get-go. From the very start, they are restricted to transgender roles because that is what they are and obviously that is what they must play, but somehow, it doesn't apply to cisgender people.

The closest comparison I can bring into this situation is the portrayal of blackface in theaters. No, this isn't the oppression Olympics and black face poses a very different amount of issues, but it is the closest thing for this situation to be compared to of my knowledge. Cisgender people playing transgender roles can be seen as offensive and limiting, a slap in the face and discrimination towards a certain group of people.

But then again, shouldn't the best actor with the biggest name still get the role? Who cares if they don't identify with the character; as long as they do their research and portray the role properly, there shouldn't be an issue. Directors can choose to change sexualities and races when doing a movie adaptation all the time. But the issue arises when the best actor portrays stereotypes instead of the reality of what they have never lived.

In a system where transgender people are discriminated against, we arguably need transgender people to play transgender roles in order to portray the truth of experiencing the oppression, lifestyle, and even joy of being transgender. But then, should transgender people not play cisgender roles?

There is no clear answer for either of these questions, but I hope you consider yourself an Ally and support productions that are in line with your beliefs.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments