Not too long ago I read an article about Halle Barry being cast as a transgender man. There was quite a bit of backlash. She finally backed out of the role, saying on Twitter, “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 completely support her decision to back out and the pressure that was put on her to do so. There are so many transgender actors and who knows their story better than they do.
What about straight actors taking on gay, bisexual or lesbian roles? She those be left to lesbian, bisexual or gay actors?
I don’t find that as clear cut. I don’t think most LGBT actors want to be eliminated from straight roles. I often think of Neil Patrick Harris playing a womanizer on “How I Met Your Mother.” Seems he was made for that role, even though he is gay. That’s what it is, a role. He’s an actor and he acted that part quite well.
There have been many gay or lesbian actors who have played straight roles and played them quite well.
Boys in the Band is a play that was released in the mid-sixties. It was the story of gay life of that time. All the actors were straight and they were excellent.
In 2018 there was a revival of the play on Broadway with an entirely gay cast. I thought it extraordinary that a play about gay men had an all gay cast. I wish I could have seen it.
I guess for me, the bottom line is that the best actor should get the role when it comes to playing gay characters. Transgender characters feels really different to me and I can’t quite verbalize why. The life experience of a transgender person is so different from that of a cisgender person, only a transgender actor can play it authentically.
What are your thoughts on this? Should only transgender actors play transgender characters? Should only gay, lesbian or bisexual actors only play gay, lesbian or bisexual?