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Trans activists call for boycott of film starring Matt Bomer as transgender sex worker

Bea Mitchell April 15, 2018

Matt Bomer was cast in the role of a trans sex worker

Trans activists are calling for a boycott of Tim McNeil’s film Anything, which stars Matt Bomer as a transgender sex worker.

Based on a play of the same name, the film follows a suicidal widower (John Carroll Lynch) who moves to Los Angeles and forms an unlikely friendship with a transgender sex worker (Matt Bomer).

When it was announced that the gay Magic Mike star would star in Anything as a transgender woman, some members of the transgender community criticised the film for casting Bomer – a cis male actor – as a transgender woman.

Eddie Redmayne, Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto and Andrew Garfield have all been criticised for taking transgender roles in the past, while trans actors and actresses struggle to break through.

Trans Narratives, an organisation helping trans people to share their stories, has now called for a boycott, and instead urged people to watch Chilean film A Fantastic Woman, starring trans actor Daniela Vega, which won the Oscar this year for Best Foreign Language Film.

“Here is some feedback. The meme resonated enough to get more than 2,000 shares in a couple of days,” the group wrote in one post. “Feedback indicates that most trans people are offended by Hollywood’s employment of cis men who put on a dress trying to imitate trans people. If it is no longer acceptable for white folks to play African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, why is it acceptable for men to play trans women?”

An admin of the page wrote in another: “As a trans woman, I know from personal experience that many gay men believe that trans women are really gay men who refuse to deal with being gay men. I’ve been told this to my face.

“So perhaps the gay men who insist on ‘gay-splaining’ that Matt Bomer should be playing a trans woman just can’t get over the notion that trans women are in fact women, not gay men.”

Another read: “On Trans Narratives I asked the trans community what they thought of cis men playing trans women. The vast majority of trans people say it exploits us. Don’t debate us! Don’t tell us it’s just a movie and these men are just acting. Listen to us! Listen to a mother of trans children.”

 

Previously, the film was criticised by Jamie Clayton, a trans actress who appears in Netflix series Sense8.

Clayton tweeted: “I really hope you choose to do some actual good for the trans community one day.”

Meanwhile, executive producer Mark Ruffalo defended the decision to cast Bomer. “To the Trans community. I hear you. It’s wrenching to you see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation. It’s time,” he said.

“In all honesty, I suggested Matt for the role after the profound experience I had with him while making ‘The Normal Heart’.”

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