Within the last few years, creatives in Hollywood have started to become more conscious of representation across the film and TV mediums. This includes steering away from casting stars in roles that could be played by those who belong to a specific minority group. Over the years, this has been a common practice, especially when it comes to LGBTQ community, with many straight or cisgender actors portraying gay or transgender characters. Most recently, Halle Berry revealed that she considered playing a transgender man in an upcoming film but, following backlash, she’s now opted against it.
Halle Berry took to Twitter to issue a statement in which she confirmed that she would not be taking on the role and stated that the transgender community should “have the opportunity to tell their own stories.” She also pledged to be an ally moving forward and will work to promote representation on multiple levels:
This isn’t the first time in recent years that a cisgender actor has received backlash for considering or deciding to play a transgender character. Back in 2018, Scarlett Johansson sparked criticism when she was revealed to be playing a transgender man in Rub & Tug. Following the backlash, Johansson would drop out of the project.
Halle Berry’s sentiments line up with those of many in Hollywood who are aiming to create more opportunities across the media landscape for underserved communities. Diversity advocates are ultimately striving for groups like the LGBTQ community to be able to create their own content and stories, and they also hope that those in positions of power will assist in helping to make it a reality.
Following Berry’s statement, national LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD released a statement on Twitter stating that the organization was pleased that she listened to the concerns of the transgender community and ultimately decided not to take on the role. The tweet also mentioned that other people in places of power should also aim to be allies and suggested that watching Netflix’s Disclosure would help shine a better light on trans representation.
While there’s still work to be done when it comes to trans representation in media, there are steps being taken to give more opportunities to those within the community. Ryan Murphy’s Pose has been cited as groundbreaking or opening the door for several trans actresses who have quickly become mainstream names. And even superhero projects from companies like DC and Marvel are either planning or have introduced trans characters played by trans actors.
With Halle Berry’s status as an A-List celebrity, she holds quite a bit of influence in Hollywood, and her recent sentiments on trans representation could hold a lot of weight. All in all, those fighting for representation have just earned a key ally, and it will be interesting to see if other major celebrities follow suit.
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