Halle Berry has pulled out of playing a transgender male in an upcoming movie, after becoming the target of online outrage last week.
The controversial Instagram Live
Earlier this weekend, Halle joined host, Christin Brown in a controversial Instagram Live chat. The actress revealed that she was being considered for the role of a Trans man in an unnamed film. Berry said: “[It’s] a character where the woman is a trans character, so she’s a woman that transitioned into a man. She’s a character in a project I love that I might be doing. Who this woman was is so interesting to me, and that will probably be my next project.”
The conversation was quick to receive backlash from the trans community and its allies. Both for the film’s hypothetical casting of a cisgender woman as a trans man. And for Berry’s misgendering of the character in the interview.
Halle’s public apology
On Monday evening, the actress took to Twitter and apologized for contemplating the role. “Over the weekend I had the opportunity to discuss my consideration of an upcoming role as a transgender man. I’d like to apologize for those remarks. 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. I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days. And I will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake. I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen. Both in front of and behind the camera,’ concluded the Catwoman star.
Halle isn’t the only cisgender actress to back out from a trans role. Scarlett Johansson had also exited from Rub & Tug in 2018. The Biopic told the story of massage parlour operator Dante “Tex” Gill, which was to be played by Scarlett. However, The actress dropped out of playing Gill as a result of similar backlash from trans activists. The movie eventually ended up getting cancelled.
Many were outraged by the misgendered character, and believed that the role belonged to a trans person. Transgender Activist, Serena Dianari, openly criticized Berry on Twitter for incorrectly categorizing the transgender male character’s story as a ‘female’ one.
‘It absolutely is NOT a female story, it is a story about a man. And why is the aspect of physical transition the focal point for her?’ tweeted Dianari.
‘Cis peoples’ understanding of trans issues is really myopic. Girl watch Disclosure on Netflix.’
Shortly after, The Netflix documentary, Disclosure’s, official Twitter account invited Berry to view their film. “Hi @halleberry, we heard you’re considering playing a trans man in your next project. We ask that you please watch @Disclosure_Doc on @netflix first. To understand how cis actors like yourself acting in trans roles has major cultural consequences offscreen,” they wrote.
After Berry’s apology, the account thanked her for “listening and learning.”
The LGBTQ rights organization GLAAD also responded, saying “We are pleased that Halle Berry listened to the concerns of transgender people and learned from them. Other powerful people should do the same. A good place to start is by watching ‘Disclosure’ to learn about trans representation in the media.”
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