Anything will make its debut on Saturday during the LA Film Festival this and many of us in the trans community are not pleased about the casting of a cis actor in a transgender role.
Written and directed by Timothy McNeil, the film stars John Carroll Lynch, Matt Bomer, Maura Tierney, Margot Bingham, and Micah Hauptman.
Here’s where there is a major problem: cisgender actor Matt Bomer is playing a transgender woman post-transition. There are many transgender actresses in the United States. Why is it so hard to cast one of us in a trans role? It shouldn’t be that hard to cast a trans actress in a trans role. More so, by casting a gay actor in the role of a trans woman, it only goes on to help the stereotype that trans women are men. This isn’t fun and it’s not something any of us love to deal with on a daily basis. I may not speak for others but I definitely speak for myself.
In the director’s statement provided in the press notes, McNeil says:
Finally, It is a movie written to answer those critics who resist or are fearful of difference. It is also a film meant to contribute (in it’s own way) to the dialogue and ongoing struggle for LGBTQ rights in this country.
While this is good to acknowledge, it still doesn’t help some of the awful trans stereotypes that are out there by casting cis actors in trans roles. If Bomer’s character had been pre-transition and coming out to friends/family as transgender, it’s one thing–but because his character is post-transition, there’s a serious problem. No amount of makeup will have any effect on what happens to the face and body while on hormone replacement therapy.
According to the press notes, one of the associate producers, Kylene K. Steele, is a transgender woman and she “consulted on the film from development all the way through post production.” In addition to that, she was a personal consultant to Matt Bomer from the pre-production process through the end of filming.
In addition, the producers say that they made this picture so they could “join the conversation and like all sensitive subject matter, along with opening a conduit for conversation, also comes some controversy.” Well, they got controversy as soon as they cast a cis actor as a trans woman. Did they not listen to Transparent actor Jeffrey Tambor’s speech at the Emmy’s in 2016?
Please give transgender talent a chance. Give them auditions. Give them their story. Do that. And also, one more thing. I would not be unhappy if I was the last cisgender male to play a female transgender on television.
Tambor gets it. Why can’t Hollywood just get it right?