These 13 Tweets Brilliantly Explain Why Trans Roles Should Only Go To Trans Actors

Posted on October 25, 2016 in Art, Cake, Cake News, LGBTQ

By Cake Staff:

Treasured Hollywood feminist Mark Ruffalo and stereotype busting gay actor Matt Bomer have come together for the film “Anything.” That sounds pretty exciting, but your bubble is about to burst real quick.

Just like the Eddie Redmayne starrer “The Danish Girl” and Amazon network’s “Transparent,” Ruffalo’s film has a cisgender man (Bomer) playing a trans woman. So a couple of days ago, actor and producer Jen Richards went to town on it via her Twitter account.

Richards, who is trans, had auditioned for the role, but was passed over for Bomer. Detractors on Twitter tried to slam her for simply being ‘jealous’ about not getting the role, but she recently put out a series of tweets about the larger and more violent politics behind it all:

A heated conversation broke out on this thread, but Richards’ point about violence is something we need to recognize. In India, the deplorable way our media represents trans people only perpetuates further violence on an already disadvantaged community. There is a relationship between what we see and what we do. Richards has also reacted to the most common excuse given to normalize the lack of trans representation in media:

Several other prominent trans people have responded to issues surrounding “Anything,” as well. Actor Laverne Cox tweeted in support of Richards:

Artist Shadi Petosky, who was at the receiving end of trans discrimination just last year, had this to say:

Jamie Clayton, who plays Nomi Marks on “Sense8” also weighed in:

And soon after, Matt Bomer blocked her. Ruffalo on the other hand seems to be more responsive to the criticism, tweeting that he was glad to have this conversation. But his explanation for casting Bomer leaves a lot to be desired:

This is precisely what Richards is arguing about. If you pay no heed to representational politics even in casting, then how exactly are you challenging cisnormativity? Further, casting cis people in trans roles perpetuates ideas like “trans women are just men in dresses,” completely invalidating trans identities. What this amounts to is misgendering, which – as actor Laverne Cox categorically says – is also an act of violence. So really, when Richards equates bad or lazy casting with the alarming rate of transgender deaths, it isn’t a dramatic jump. Because it’s all of these “little” things that combine to create a culture of transphobic violence. And we have to think about the role we play in all of it.