Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Why I STILL Have A Problem With 'Dallas Buyers Club'

Oscars 2014: 30 Seconds to Mars' Jared Leto Wins Best Supporting ActorI was not happy about Jared Leto's Golden Globe win for playing Rayon in the Dallas Buyers Club and the tone deaf acceptance speech.while accepting his award.  

Now that he's won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for it, I'm STILL not happy, and the comments by Jean-Marc Vallée the director of Dallas Buyer Club only added to my simmering pissivity about it.

Vallée made these comments when interviewed by the CBC's Jian Ghomeshi, who asked whether he ever considered casting a transgender actor.
"Never. [Are] there any transgender actors?" he said. "I'm not aiming for the real thing. I'm aiming for an experienced actor who wants to portray the thing."

Yeah, you ignorant transphobic fool, there are transgender actors.  And pro tip: Transpeople are not a 'thing'.  We are living, breathing human beings.       

Much of the problem I have with Jared Leto is not only his transphobic director, it's also the fact that trans people like Candis Cayne, Alexandra Billings, Aleshia Brevard, Calpernia Addams, Jamie Clayton, Harmony Santana, Jazzmun, Laverne Cox and the cast of Bella Maddo have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt we can play trans and cis people on the small and silver screens, and yet these trans roles when Hollywood bothers to create them STILL go to cis men and cis women.

I have a problem with some white peeps inside and outside the TBLG community reflexively rushing to Leto's defense because we trans peeps are calling out the problematic elements of his performance.  I also have a problem with them saying how great his portrayal was and dismissing our concerns about it as usual.

And yeah, I'm in agreement with my trans brother Kortney Ziegler when he takes to task elements of the white trans community who tried to compare the Rayon role to blackface.   Not no, but oh hell no on that. 

Dear everyone who is comparing Jared Leto's performance of a trans woman to blackface, here is a tip: nothing is like blackface but blackface. And likening the drag performance of a white cis man to the humiliation of ALL black people is lazy, racist, oh, and erases black transgender people. We exist.
Amen, Kortney.   So word to the wise, cease and desist with that.  Back to riffing on Rayon   I'm not the only transwoman who has a problem with that portrayal of what even Leto himself admits is a fictional character.   And don't even go there with the line, "But Calpernia Addams was his acting coach."    It was and still is a problematic, stereotype filled performance. 

So if the character in Dallas Buyers Club is fictional, why not give a transfeminine actor who knows intimately what it is like to be a trans woman a shot at it? 

I'm also tired of hearing the BS excuse that 'Leto was a known, proven actor and the transwomen weren't."
  Once upon a time Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker, Denzel Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, Angela Bassett, Nia Long, et al were also 'no-name', unproven actors until they were given the role that showcased their talent.
We also have to have trans script writers behind the scenes writing the roles, too. Would Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope character on Scandal be the same without Shonda Rhimes writing and producing it?  We transpeople have the talent to rock any role. All we trans peeps need is the opportunity and for casting people and directors to free their minds so it can happen

Because you didn't do that, that's why it's getting panned by much of the trans community.

No comments: