Non-trans female actors playing trans women on film and TV is just The Black And White Minstrel Show redux, but for a different bigotry.



  1. I’m curious about what their excuse was… Could they seriously not find any trans actors or did they not even try? My money is on the latter which would make it the same discrimination/different bigotry.

  2. Why not autistic people playing those in the autism spectrum, amputees playing amputees, etc? The nature of acting is acting. Is it offensive for an actor to wear padding when obese actors are seeking work? I don’t know but suspect that there is a point at which a line is crossed and an actor’s pride in being what he is could be exploited. Trans actors, why not if they have the acting ability but the same recognition of equality should be afforded to all minority groups. Those with restricted growth have achieved being accepted on merit but there is a long way to go.

    • I think there has to be the possibility for suspension of disbelief. A white English actor blacked up to play Othello is so jarring to me that I couldn’t accept the conceit no matter how good the actor was at his craft. The same goes for women playing women who used to be men. It looks wrong. Trans women have their own beauty that non-trans women cannot even approximate (and vice versa, of course).

    • “Trans women have their own beauty”? Wow-so “Chaz” Bono should be considered handsome, even with those Frankenstein scars on “his” chest?

    • First, feckwad, Chaz Bono is a transman, not a transwoman.

      Second, STFU!

      No, reverse the order on first&second.

  3. I think I disagree here. Yes, trans actors should get more work (inc. playing cisgender characters, IMO). And I’m not judging this particular series (which may suck).

    But acting is acting. I don’t believe in hard&fast rules about who CAN play what parts, and who can’t. I don’t believe Othello should be off-limits to fair-skinned actors (or actresses!), nor Hamlet to dark-skinned ones.

    • Othello should not be off limits to a fair skinned actor. But a fair skinned actor blacking up to perform it would be crass. A man could play a trans woman but a woman can’t play a trans woman because they can’t look like a trans woman. I am suspicious of the motives of any director who chooses a woman to play a trans woman. The only reason I can think of as to why a director would is that the director doesn’t like how trans women look and thinks it would scare off potential viewers.

    • A man could play a trans woman but a woman can’t play a trans woman because they can’t look like a trans woman.

      That’s just not true. Not in every case. [I feel like this may descend into the old “Downbeat” test, of black and white musicians] There are transwomen whom you could NEVER tell didn’t come equipped w/ two X chromosomes: not in their hands, not in their necks, not in their voices (and, well, not Down There either).

      Did you ever see TransAmerica? Felicity Huffman did a FANTASTIC job (IMO), “despite” being handicapped by being a cisgender female!

    • I hate the word “cisgender.” Why American trans women want it to be the accepted word for themselves is beyond me. It is too close related to cissification which is a fetish word. Not that there’s anything wrong with fetishism it’s just that it’s not what transsexuality is about. But, then, I’ve had rows with Kelli over at Planettransgender about the use of the word “trani.” She hates it whilst I regard it as no different to the word “queer.”

    • “Cis” should be used only as a prefix to geographic terms: “Cispadane Gaul”; “Cisleithania”; “Cisalpine Provinces”.

    • Or molecules…if you’re a chemist…”cis” and “trans” are all about stereochemistry to a geek like me.