Let's Stop Casting Cisgender Men As Transgender Women
Start writing a post
Entertainment

Let's Stop Casting Cisgender Men As Transgender Women

How does it feel to be excluded from your own narrative?

51
Let's Stop Casting Cisgender Men As Transgender Women

Recently, Mark Ruffalo announced that actor Matt Bomer will play a transgender woman in his feature film Anything. Although the film does not yet have a release date, the announcement sparked controversy. In response to Bomer's casting, GLAAD director Nick Adams wrote a powerful response, claiming that "Hollywood needs to let go of the idea that putting a male actor in a dress, wig, and makeup is an accurate portrayal of a transgender woman."

Adams is absolutely right. While transgender representation has certainly gotten better in recent years, from shows like I Am Jazz, Sense8, and The Fosters, the directors of big-name Hollywood titles habitually fail to realize that cis men in drag aren't trans women. For the past 40 years, we've seen many talented actors starring in projects that advertise them as trans women: Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, John Lithgow in The World According to Garp, Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Flawless, Lee Pace in Soldier's Girl, and so on. I find that these actors' performances are often hailed by critics as something that's supposed to be avant-garde or edgy. In truth, there's nothing avant-garde or edgy about these performances and the messages they send.

These performances send a few messages in particular and none of them are good. First, they imply that trans lives and experiences are simply an act or artistic performance. They pigeonhole trans characters as damaged, depressed individuals. They often dramatize the experience of transitioning, which sets an unfair precedence for trans people. Second, and even worse, they suggest that underneath the artifice, trans women are really just men in drag.

The casting of yet another cis man as a trans woman struck a nerve with the trans community. Transgender women are being pushed out of their own stories, of which they could give nuanced, sublime performances. It's also a painful reminder that in the eyes of many, trans women are still viewed only as cross-dressing men. This message that trans women are just men in disguise carries toxic and dangerous implications that perpetuate transphobia in society today.

It's easy to think "oh, it's just a movie, stop looking for reasons to get offended," but try to see the deeper image. The idea that trans women are really men has infiltrated much of society's idea of what transgender people are. This harmful school of thought is why legislators in North Carolina can legally force a trans woman to use the men's room, which can put her at severe risk for assault. It's also why 20 trans women have been killed this year, and why their killers cite their motive as protection of their masculinity.

Matt Bomer is a widely recognized and praised out gay actor, and Mark Ruffalo has been a longtime ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. They both mean well and are incredibly talented in their own ways, but as a proud ally to the transgender community, I simply can't defend this kind of casting. If you write transgender roles for movies, plays, and TV shows, please cast transgender people in them. If not, then don't include them at all. It's better to have no transgender roles than roles that inaccurately portray trans people and perpetuate harmful ideas about them.

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

Philadelphia has its beauty, but some of you may have not been to some of the most beautiful hidden spots in the city. This summer is a chance for new adventures and exploring, so here are a few places that I highly recommend you should visit at least once.

Keep Reading... Show less

To my boyfriend's parents,

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How Not To Go Insane During Summer

Holy cow. If you're like me, you are bored out of your mind taking summer classes all the way until August. Then just to come right back and take more classes for the Fall?

It is like I am going insane.

3175
Pexels
https://www.pexels.com/photo/sunglasses-sunset-summer-sand-46710/

I mean, I am taking rigorous classes which allow me to devote a lot of my time towards them, but still...it is only two classes. By the time I get done, I have a whole half of the day full of nothing. I end up just sitting on my phone for most of the day instead of doing something practical.

So here I have compiled a list of how to keep yourself from not going crazy!

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Week One of Being A Freshie Again

August rolls around, and school starts again...

3029
Week One of Being A Freshie Again
Dear Freshman Me,

Most of us officially embarked on the journey of college. Yay! more school, how great is that? (Sarcasm people) This past week has been my first week at this amazing university. I've been finding all of the neat little short cuts that save me 10 minutes to get to a class, or just allow me to de-stress a little when I feel over whelmed.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments