Halle Berry just issued an apology right after announcing her intentions of playing a transgender man this past Friday. She was all excited about stepping into a new realm because, after all, that’s what actors do, right? At least, I’m sure that’s what she was thinking. Well after being accused of misgendering a character, that’s when she realized doing so was likely a mistake.
“Over the weekend I had the opportunity to discuss my consideration of an upcoming role as a transgender man, and I’d like to apologize for those remarks,” she said in her statement. “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,” she wrote in a note shared on Twitter. “I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days and will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake. I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen, both in front of and behind the camera.”
It only took a few days to go from 100 to 0 as she was clearly excited when she made her original announcement where she said, “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.. This project got pitched to me right when I was the brink of making Bruised, but I so was in the mindset of getting in the body to play that, and I don’t know how long I can play an MMA character, so I had to get that out… but this got pitched to me, and I thought, after I do this movie, that’s the character I’m going to play.”
The part that stands out to me is where she said she wanted to allow trans people to tell their own story. Notice that she’s an actress in the film and not a writer. I’ll add, what if she considered transitioning? Would she still be inappropriate for the film then? Is it really that bad for her to do this as a learning experience? I will admit that there are few trans people in mainstream television.
The first trans person to have a regular role on primetime television was Candis Cayne on Dirty Sexy Money just in the mid-2000s, so I understand wanting to have an authentic trans person who has gone through this portraying the character. I just hate to see Halle Berry feeling she needed to apologize and bow out of the role, especially without officially being cast for the role. I consider this a scenario of going too far. There can be other films and roles and seeing Halle Berry playing a trans person would have definitely been interesting.