This weekend, it was revealed that Matt Bomer, a cisgender actor best known for roles in Magic Mike and American Horror Story, will be playing a transgender sex worker in the upcoming film Anything, based on a play by Timothy McNeil.
Bomer’s casting follows other recent high-profile trans roles performed by cis performers, including Jared Leto in 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club and Eddie Redmayne in last year’s The Danish Girl. And as with those roles, backlash against the casting decision arrived soon after the news emerged.
Trans activists and performers, like Sense8’s Jamie Clayton and Jen Richards, creator and star of the Emmy-nominated web series “Her Story”, took to Twitter and YouTube to share criticism of the decision. Bomer initially blocked Clayton on Twitter after the actress tweeted that she hoped the actor would “do some actual good for the trans community” with the role, then later unblocked her. Richards, who auditioned but was not cast in a small part in the film, explained in a YouTube video posted last night that she feels when cis performers play trans roles, they deprive the already marginalized trans community of economic and political opportunities, dispossess those roles from performers who have lived the experience of the characters they portray, and perpetuate violence against trans women.