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Matt Bomer being cast as transgender woman is not going over well with trans community

Mark Ruffalo took to Twitter this week to address objections to Matt Bomer being cast as a transgender sex worker in the film Anything.

Ruffalo, who starred opposite Bomer in the acclaimed AIDS drama The Normal Heart, is executive producing the movie.

‘To the Trans community. I hear you,’ Ruffalo tweeted on Wednesday.

‘It’s wrenching to you see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation. It’s time.’

He added: ‘In all honesty I suggested Matt for the role after the profound experience I had with him while making The Normal Heart.’

Based on Tim McNeil’s play, Bomer’s character is a trans woman named Freda Von Rhenberg who worked as a sex worker in Los Angeles.

Bomer won a Golden Globe Award, a Critics Choice Award and was nominated for an Emmy for his performance as a man dying from AIDS in The Normal Heart.

Some people were infuriated as they thought that the role should have gone to a transgender actress and took to Twitter to express their feelings.

In recent years, Jared Leto being cast as a transgender female in the film Dallas Buyers Club drew similar criticism. Leto won an Oscar for his performance.

In contrast, the two leads in the the acclaimed film Tangerine – about two trans sex workers – were played by transgender actresses.


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

3 Remarks

  1. It is a bit of a miscasting, but maybe he’ll pull it off. Remember the uproar when Felicity Huffman was cast as a transgender woman? But then she hit it out of the park in “Transamerica”.

  2. It’s called acting people. Give it a break.

  3. I don’t doubt that Matt Bomer will do a good job and give his best. But sometimes I wonder if those kinds of roles wouldn’t be better suited for a straight person (whether a cis or a trans) rather than a gay one (as some people somehow seems to relate gays to trans, and well, there are obvious differences as a trans person generally is, at the end of the day, a straight minded person). A straight biological man/woman playing a trans woman (for instance) has to portrait someone whose normalcy is hindered by her biological nature plus social conventions, the straight person already handles what it is to be straight. A trans person for the role, well, there is little more to learn (apart from her own take on the role and on the issue). With a gay guy you have someone whose aspiration is (purportedly, generally) never to be accepted as another member one of the straight (dominated) community, in any case as someone who wants to be accepted as gay (as different) in the community as a whole regardless or orientation, even if such differences do not demand different rights (that is, no less rights or more rights). A trans woman (in general) wants to be accepted as an equal with the already established rights of the straight people, beyond the obvious biological/medical realities and necessities. Of course that acting can mend the gaps but I understand the conundrum when trying to choose the best suited person to play such roles and what seems to be an obvious choice for some (the “gays are somehow closer to trans people” mistaken premise) may be a complete disservice for others (trans people whose feelings don’t relate neither to gays or to cis straights).

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