I’ve happened upon several articles all posing the same question of casting actual trans actors/actresses in trans roles. Having read opinions on both sides of the aisle, one being trans actors should indeed play trans roles and the other being to do so would pigeonhole them solely to those roles, I thought it best to throw my view on the already precarious heep.

Laverne Cox

I find myself torn between loving Jared Leto’s performance in Dallas Buyers Club, and resenting it. The reason being that, while he played that role with depth, aplomb and integrity, I can’t help think why not have an actual trans actress play that role. Of course the point of acting is to become someone else, portray a character unlike oneself in an effort to make it believable. However, I think there is something to be said for finding actors or actresses that are best equipped to handle said roles. There once was a time in entertainment history that black face was a suitable representation of African Americans, however, I do not want to align Leto’s performance with a type of neo-trans minstrelsy. (Though there are some performances that could be described as such.)

Jamie Clayton
Jamie Clayton

My point is, that while Leto is a fine actor who did that role justice, how much more poignant would it have been had it been played by an actual trans performer? What level of depth could have been reached by putting someone on screen who knows that struggle intimately? I’m afraid the possibilities could have been endless but Hollywood stunts itself by not tapping the well of LGBT performers that it has readily available.