Trans actors on a role

Actor Eddie Redmayne says he was wrong to portray a trans women in the movie The Danish Girl, for which he won an Oscar. He was reproached for playing Lili Elbe, one of the first people to undergo surgery to change gender. Out of concern for marginalized actors, “there must be a leveling,” he says. His point, of course, is that a transgender actor should have gotten the role. But I hope that we don’t stop at the realization that trans actors should be the preferred choice to play a trans person. Just as cisgender men and women should be eligible to compete with trans actors for trans roles, trans actors should be considered for any role — cisgender, trans or gay. Trans actors may in fact have a slight edge, says Jezza Donovan of Gendered Intelligence in Spotlight News. “We live in a world where trans people know far more about non trans people than the other way around. A trans actor is far better placed and informed to play a cisgender character than vice versa.” When casting, directors and producers must be continually prodded to consider all possibilities. Tunnel vision shouldn’t get in the way of an Oscar-worthy performance.