Actors say industry hires men to play trans women, and vice versa, while promoting misconceptions about trans identity
It was the perfect part for Aneesh Sheth. The Indian American actress, who is a transgender woman, was auditioning to play a trans Indian American woman a rare leading film role that seemed made for her.
The director praised Sheths performance after a callback, but told her there was one main problem: She wasnt masculine enough.
Ultimately, the director cast a man.
Sheths experience in 2015 is one that trans actors say is still all too common in Hollywood. Producers and directors hire men to play trans women, and visa versa, often promoting damaging misconceptions about trans identity while denying the parts to trans actors who have the lived experience.
Hollywood has long given awards to cisgender actors (people who arent trans) for playing trans characters, such as Hilary Swank for Boys Dont Cry and Jeffrey Tambor for Transparent. But there has been growing resistance in recent years. Even Tambor said in an awards speech that he would be happy if he were the last cisgender male to play a transgender female.
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