Sunday, August 18, 2019

So You Say There Are No Good Trans Actors?

I hear the argument all the time that the reason cisgender actresses/actors get trans parts in movies and television show is that there are no trans actresses/actors who are known… we that isn’t true.
Mj Rodriguez Wins Best Actress at Imagen Awards, Makes Trans Herstory
The Pose actress is breaking new ground.
The Advocate
By Daniel Reyolds
August 13, 2019

Mj Rodriguez is a trailblazer once again.

The Pose star became the first transgender woman to win Best Actress - Television at the Imagen Awards, an annual event honoring positive representations of Latinx people in media.

Rodriguez, who portrays Blanca on the acclaimed FX drama, recognized the historic nature of her win Saturday onstage at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
"Obviously, this is not just for me," she added. "This is for the little kids like me ... and I’m just trying to speak as much as I can for my community as possible and that goes for my Latino community."
She is just one of many talented trans actresses/actors who are receiving recognition for their work some of them are...

  • Laverne Cox – Orange is the New Black
  • Jamie Clayton – Sense8 & Generation Q
  • Michelle Hendley – Boy Meets Girl
  • Rachel Crowl – And Then There Was Eve
  • Jen Richards – HerStory

There are so many great trans actresses/actors out there that saying there are no trans actresses/actors who have box office draw is wrong.

White actors playing…
Indigenous peoples

We find these offensive why don’t we find it offensive when cisgender people play trans parts?
Transface vs Blackface and how they are the same and different.
Planet Transgender
By Ariel Williams
June 20, 2017

Hollywood still doesn’t seem to understand a man playing a transwoman (transface) is no better than blackface. (I want to be clear that this is for different reasons but still just as bad.) I get that there is a smaller pool of trans actresses to choose from. That’s not to say they couldn’t find one if they tried but at least they could cast a woman to play the role of a WOMAN and lessen the narrative of trans = “man in a dress” a little as a compromise. This also lets them drive the movie with “starpower”. Though if trans women never get the roles when will we have a trans actress with “starpower”?
In many ways transface is a problem that shares the same core issues and criticisms with it’s cousin. One of the reasons blackface is universally despised is because it was historically used to make caricatures of black people that were insulting, demeaning and even dehumanizing of black people. Historical blackface was not even an attempt to actually look or portray a character as black. It was a wink and a nod to the audience to let them know this was a white man pretending to be black and then he would play a racially stereotyped, and insultingly biased mockery of black people.

Using a man to play a transgender actress is the same kind of wink and nod to the audience that this is not “really” a woman. They want the audience to look at the character and not think of her as a woman. By continuing to cast men as MtF they perpetuate the myth that transwomen are not women. And for that matter FtM should similarly be played by Transmen or men not women. All the better if they could cast a transwoman or transman 100%.
If you look at the history of trans characters in the media with characters like Milton Berle, Red Skeleton, Flip Wilson they all got laughs at our expense.

Then there were movies like Physco and Dressed to Kill that portrayed us as deranged killers.

In someways we are far beyond those portrayals but in other ways we are still struggling against those portrayals and having trans actresses/actors in trans roles and in cisgender parts will help break us out of the images that were created in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

The Wachowski sister Lilly commented on early portrayals of trans people
Lilly Wachowski makes rare public appearance to talk trans visibility
Page Six
By Alex Heigl
August 2, 2019

Lilly Wachowski took a rare step into the spotlight Thursday.

The transgender director — who, along with sister Lana, was responsible for the groundbreaking “Matrix” trilogy, and, more recently, the cult Netflix sci-fi series “Sense8” — was part of a panel discussion at the TV Academy’s Saban Media Center in North Hollywood Thursday night, titled “The Power of TV: Trans Visibility in Storytelling,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“As I was growing up all of the trans characters were played by cisgender actors; there was a fa├žade and the characters lacked real depth … the characters I would see — John Lithgow playing trans in ‘The World According to Garp’ — while it was lovely portrayal, there was an element missing.”

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