Halle Berry Has Apologized for Her Comments About Considering Playing a Trans Man
She also pulled out of the upcoming role.
After facing backlash on social media, Halle Berry has pulled out of a film role in which she’d depict a transgender man. Because apparently Hollywood has learned almost nothing about the importance of authentic LGBTQIA+ representation, and it’s the job of people on social media to remind them!
On Friday, July 3rd, the actor spoke about her being considered for the role in an Instagram Live conversation with hairstylist Christin Brown.
“[It’s] 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,” Berry told Brown, then added that she wanted to take a “deep dive” into “that world.” Later, Berry said, “Who this woman was is so interesting to me, and that will probably be my next project.”
Berry swiftly drew flak from members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community for misgendering the character throughout the interview.
Berry’s reference to the character and the trans community as “interesting,” as one commenter pointed out, served to belittle the trans experience as a mere curiosity.
“we’re not “interesting”, we’re just people. and we DO NOT need you to tell our stories and to speak for us, WE need to do that. those are OUR stories and we don’t need you to take them from us and benefit and profit from them. if you want to “””study””” a trans person, talk to one, don’t pretend to be one and think that that is giving you some education,” user charlieexclaimationmark wrote in the comments.
Another commenter said, “Plenty of trans male actors in the world. This role isn’t for you. Stop taking up space.”
Criticism moved onto Twitter, too. The official account for Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen, the recently released Netflix documentary that examines the depiction of trans characters throughout film and television history, called Berry out for considering the role—and depriving a trans actor of the opportunity in the process.
Berry addressed the criticism on Monday, July 6th, when she issued an apology for her remarks and announced that she would be pulling out of the role.
She added, “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.”
Disclosure tweeted that they appreciated Berry “listening and learning.” GLAAD chimed in too, saying, “We are pleased that @halleberry listened to the concerns of transgender people and learned from them. Other powerful people should do the same.” (And recommended that said powerful people, but also everyone, should watch Disclosure to learn more.)
We hope this sends a message to Hollywood that trans actors must be cast to depict trans characters—and normalizes the practice of public apology where apology is due.