Halle Berry announced that she is no longer considering portraying the role of a transgender man in an upcoming film.
“As a cisgender woman, I now understand that I should not have considered this role, and that the transgender community should undeniably have the opportunity to tell their own stories,” she said in a statement.
She also said, “I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days…”
This was a quick turnaround from her discussion on social media just this past weekend when she talked about a new role she’s been eyeing — that of a transgender man.
The entertainment industry and critics have discussed the issues with casting cisgender people to play transgender roles for years, and Laura Bradley of The Daily Beast points out that it’s “hard to imagine how anyone could have missed the memo.”
In addition, Berry repeatedly misgendered the character she hoped to play during an Instagram Live interview. “She’s a woman that transitioned into a man,” Berry said of the role. “She’s a character in a project I love and I might be doing.”
“I want to experience that world, understand that world,” Berry added. “I want to deep dive in that like I did “Bruised… And this world and who this woman was, is so interesting to me, and that will probably be my next [acting project].”
Berry went on to say, “It’s really important to me to tell stories, and that’s a woman — that’s a female story. It changes to a man, but I want to understand the why and how of that. You know? I want to get into it.”
Bradley of The Daily Beast goes on to say, Berry saying that a trans man is a “female” role demonstrates that she has misguided notions about trans people. Trans men are men and trans women are women — before, after and without making any physical changes to their bodies.
Films and television that cast cisgender performers as trans characters perpetuate the idea that trans people are just playing dress-up — an issue writer and actress Jen Richards noted in the Netflix documentary “Disclosure.”
“The public thinks of trans women as men with really good hair and make-up and costume,” Richards said. “And it’s reinforced every time we see a man who’s played a trans woman off-screen.”
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