Prominent transgender actresses Trace Lysette and Jamie Clayton have condemned the decision to cast Scarlett Johansson in a new film as a transgender man, saying there’s a double standard at play when transgender performers aren’t even considered for cisgendered roles.
Lysette, known for her turn in Transparent, and Clayton, who appeared in Sense8 and The Snowman, took to Twitter yesterday after news broke that Johansson, a cisgendered woman, was chosen to portray trans massage parlour operator Dante “Tex” Gill in upcoming biopic Rub & Tug.
“Oh word?? So you can continue to play us but we can’t play y’all? Hollywood is so fucked,” Lysette tweeted.
“I wouldn’t be as upset if I was getting in the same rooms as Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett for cis roles, but we know that’s not the case. A mess.”
Lysette criticised Hollywood for continuing to deliver “trophies and accolades for mimicking what we have lived.”
“Actors who are trans never even get to audition FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN ROLES OF TRANS CHARACTERS,” Clayton tweeted.
She went on to explain the double standard at play, saying “Cast actors WHO ARE TRANS as NON TRANS CHARACTERS. I DARE YOU.”
Lysette also reposted a 2017 PSA, in which she appeared, explaining the issue further.
For her part, Johansson responded to the backlash by telling Bustle that critics should “be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman‘s reps for comment.”
Tambor, Leto, and Huffman are all cisgendered actors who have portrayed trans characters; Leto and Huffman were nominated for Academy Awards for their work.