Marginalized groups have long asked for the same respect given to the rest of society. It’s not stopping some of the horrible things happening, but it does make some people think things over.
Even still, sometimes something happens that just goes from bad to worse, and you wonder if there’s a way to make it stop.
This story begins with Halle Berry discussing a new role playing a transgender man.
— Consequence of Sound (@consequence) July 6, 2020
During an Instagram Live Story, Berry revealed there was a project she was considering where she’d play a trans man. As bad as that can be, especially after many controversies of cisgender actors playing transgender characters, Berry made it worse.
Throughout the video, she misgendered the character.
“I’m thinking of [playing] 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.”
“I want to experience that world, understand that world… Who this woman was is so interesting to me, and that will probably be my next project, and that will require me cutting all of my hair off.”
Getting the gender of the character right is one of the simplest things to do, especially if you’re planning to play them. Additionally, if you want to understand the experience of being trans, there are many online resources that will tell you without taking a role from a group of actors that are already shut out of so many roles in Hollywood.
This interview led to the obvious call online to have a trans person play the role.
How about a trans person playing a trans character? Just sayin. @halleberry
— mike D (@conradmike) July 6, 2020
Why don’t they actually get a trans person ?????????
— virtual smoked gouda (@alexa_indy) July 6, 2020
They should hire a trans actor instead.
— Adam Miller (@IAmAdamMiller) July 7, 2020
Maybe they should find an actual trans for the role…just saying, Halle Berry may want to rethink that.
— SoManyThings (@TicTocOmmm) July 6, 2020
Shortly after this was reported on, and criticized online, Berry called off her consideration for the part and apologized to the trans community.
She also promised to use her platform to support more diversity on screen.
— Halle Berry (@halleberry) July 7, 2020
This is a great move and goes beyond just having a trans person be allowed to express the nuance needed to play a trans character.
Like many other marginalized groups, trans people find it difficult to get work in Hollywood. Some steps forward in representation have been made, especially very recently, but the gap is still vast.
While a trans person doesn’t have to only play trans roles, giving trans roles to cis people is denying this marginalized group an opportunity, same as racially bending a character so they can be played by a white person.
There’s also the issue of cisgender perspectives—like those Berry expressed in the interview—being presented as the transgender experience. Berry was considering playing a transgender man and stated the role involved a woman who became a man. But a transgender man is a man before and after any form of transitioning.
So whatever else can be said, it’s good that Berry listened to others and stepped back from this role.
— Dino-Ray Ramos (@DinoRay) July 7, 2020
.@halleberry Thank you for hearing us and for taking the time to listen and understand our concerns. Furthermore, I appreciate your vow to take action and use your platform to promote better representation and opportunities for marginalized artists on both sides of the lens. 🖤✊🏾 https://t.co/gistCQV0xG
— Brian Michael Smith (@TheBrianMichael) July 7, 2020
— little bobik | bIm (@tinybyron) July 7, 2020
This is pretty good!
It would have also been nice if you acknowledged misgendering your character in your remarks as well.
— ✨ remy green says "black trans lives matter" ✨ (@j_remy_green) July 7, 2020
And then 50 Cent got involved in this story, somehow.
After Berry announced her consideration for playing a trans man, the story was widely reported. People gave their opinions on the matter, with a strong support for Berry to check her interview comments and withdraw and let a trans person—someone who understands what it means to be transgender—take the role instead.
That wasn’t 50 Cent’s concern. Instead, he was wondering if it made him gay if he still found Berry, one of the most beautiful women in the world, attractive.
In a since deleted Instagram post, he responded:
“You wanted to do what? Why?”
“Oh my God.”
“So if I still think you’re beautiful. I’m gay a** a MF.”
We cannot begin to explain how problematic this is.
Halle Berry said she wanted to play a trans character in a film and had to apologize after being accused of misgendering. But the backlash wasn’t done because 50 Cent said he’s no longer attracted to her bc doings so would make him “gay AF.” 😑 Oh, 50…https://t.co/w4yMup8cXl pic.twitter.com/iGmqxEhdlB
— VM3 Media (@VM3Media) July 8, 2020
…. good to know?
— Matty ice (@Mattyic71969225) July 7, 2020
You know what, just this once, let him think what he wants to think. Maybe this is just the excuse he needed.
— Sparrow The Sissy 🏳️🌈 (@SparrowElle) July 7, 2020
This is not entirely surprising after what happened between 50 Cent and Young Buck, with the former trying to insult the latter over an alleged relationship with a transgender woman.
That’s not to say that 50 Cent’s behavior and statements can be excused, but maybe he should learn to just not say anything for a while.