Next month, a romantic film about a transgender “woman” will hit theaters and the trailer launched this week. LGBT activists and transgender actors in particular are far from pleased, however. While a main character, Freda Von Rhenburg, is transgender, the actor playing him isn’t. Matt Bomer himself is not only biologically male but also identifies as man (often referred to as “cisgender” or “cis”). Even so, he plays a man … who identifies as a woman.
“I auditioned for this. I told them they shouldn’t have a cis man play a trans woman. They didn’t care,” tweeted Jen Richards, a transgender actor best known for the television series “Her Story.”
I auditioned for this. I told them they shouldn't have a cis man play a trans woman. They didn't care. https://t.co/T7YFe6OeX9
— Jen Richards (@SmartAssJen) August 28, 2016
Another transgender actress, Jamie Clayton, who plays a transgender blogger in the Netflix series “Sense8,” posted a more passive-aggressive message. “I really hope you both choose to do some actual good for the trans community one day,” Clayton tweeted, tagging Bomer and “Fast & Furious” actress Michelle Rodriguez, who plays a female-to-male transgender in the upcoming film “The Assignment.”
— Jamie Clayton (@MsJamieClayton) August 30, 2016
Clayton’s underhanded tweet suggested that neither Bomer nor Rodriguez had done anything to help the transgender community, despite playing transgender characters onscreen. Bomer and Rodriguez are not the first “cisgender” people to play transgender characters onscreen. In “Dallas Buyers Club” (2013), Jared Leto played a transgender character, as did Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl” (2015).
Leigh Monson over at BirthMoviesDeath summed up the criticism: “Cis dudes playing trans women just isn’t cool, guys.”
“Anything” producer Mark Ruffalo tweeted his sympathy for the transgender community. “To the Trans community. I hear you. It’s wrenching to you see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation. It’s time,” he wrote.
To the Trans community. I hear you. It's wrenching to you see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation. It's time.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) August 31, 2016
Ruffalo defended his choice to support Matt Bomer for the role. “In all honesty I suggested Matt for the role after the profound experience I had with him while making ‘The Normal Heart’,” a 2014 film about the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the 1980s, he explained.
In all honesty I suggested Matt for the role after the profound experience I had with him while making "The Normal Heart".
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) August 31, 2016
Kylene K. Steele, who identifies as transgender and serves as an associate producer for “Anything,” urged LGBT activists to approach the film with “an open heart and an open mind.”
“Matt did an amazing job, and he’s a phenomenal actor,” Steele told IndieWire. The associate producer said he was “really upset” by the criticisms, but suggested, “You shouldn’t be judged by who the person’s gender is, if they can pretend and be the person that’s fit for the role, then that’s the way it should be.”
Steele insisted that “Anything” should resonate beyond the LGBT community. “It’s about being human. It’s not about being trans, it’s not about being straight, it’s not about being gay,” he said. “I think if people come to the film, they’ll see it is just love, it’s compassion. I hope they see it’s a human thing, seeing beauty in everything, what love can do.”
Even so, the transgender actors made some interesting points explaining why this scandal matters on a philosophical level.
“Every time a cis man gets applauded for bravely portraying a transgender woman on screen, every time he picks up an award for it while sporting a tuxedo, we’re reinforcing the belief that at the end of the day, a trans woman is still really a man,” Richards explained.
DNA determines biological sex, and attempts to identify with the gender opposite one’s biological sex cannot change their genetic makeup. Gender dysphoria — the persistent condition of identifying with the gender opposite one’s biological sex — is a real phenomenon, but that does not mean that transgender identity is healthy or accurate.
Transgenderism requires a semi-Gnostic belief in a personal identity divorced from one’s body and DNA. The ideology requires a redefinition of reality, to reject the idea — as Richards said — that “a trans woman is still really a man.”
Conservatives may look at movies like “Dallas Buyers Club,” “The Danish Girl,” “The Assignment,” and “Anything” as attempts to normalize a deviant movement and a false ideology, but these movies might actually undercut the transgender narrative. Contrary to transgenderism, merely identifying as a woman does not make a man a woman — and Hollywood arguably acknowledges this by hiring men to play transgender “women.”
Even those who oppose transgenderism need to recognize that gender dysphoria is real, and those who suffer with it deserve compassion and help. That said, compassion does not require a rejection of truth.
While activists on both sides can interpret casting in transgender movies as a philosophical statement, Hollywood is a business like any other. Actors and actresses with connections and a proven track record often land good roles — whether they are entirely like the characters they play or not.
The number of transgender actors and actresses is likely extremely small, so it stands to reason that films will cast “cisgender” actors to play transgender roles. It stands to reason that transgender actors and actresses would demand they get to play such roles — such a policy would cut out a great deal of the competition.
Tragically, Ruffalo’s comments suggest that Hollywood will continue to cave to Leftist activists as movements like the LGBT movement demand all Americans acknowledge and support their goals.
Watch the trailer for “Anything” below.