GLAAD Condemns Matt Bomer's Role As Transgender Woman

Photo: Matt Baron/REX.
After Matt Bomer was cast as a transgender woman in an upcoming indie film, GLAAD has criticized the actor and the film for failing to cast trans actors and misrepresenting trans identity in Hollywood.

"To all those writers, directors, producers and showrunners out there, let me say this: If you don't see the dangerous real-world implications of casting men to play transgender women; if you are more concerned with the bottom line or with star power or with how your product will sell overseas, then don't write transgender characters into your projects," wrote Nick Adams, the director of GLAAD's Transgender Media Program, in an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter.

Bomer, who is gay, stars as a trans woman in Anything. The movie is directed by Timothy McNeil and based on McNeil's play of the same name. Bomer plays a trans sex worker who befriends a suicidal widower, according to Variety.

Adams wrote that Bomer's casting strips trans identity of any nuance or complexity, and takes opportunity away from trans actors.

"For more than 40 years, Americans have sat down in front of their TV screens or in movie seats and seen male actors 'pretend' to be trans women," Adams wrote, referencing Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jared Leto, and other high profile cisgender actors cast as trans characters. "Viewers receive two strong and wrong messages: 1. that being transgender is an act, a performance, just a matter of playing dress-up; and 2. that underneath all that artifice, a transgender woman really is a man."

Anything's producer, Mark Ruffalo, also came under fire for his support of the film, and acknowledged the conversation among the trans community. Ruffalo, a longtime LGBT ally, played Bomer's lover in The Normal Heart, an HBO drama about AIDS.
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In his op-ed, Adams offered an example of a creative environment in Hollywood that's inclusive of trans talent: the show Transparent.

"It should be noted that Jeffrey Tambor's portrayal of Maura on Transparent is the rare exception where the casting fits the story being told — that of an older trans woman who is just beginning her transition. Additionally, Jill Soloway made the deliberate decision to bring in many transgender people behind the camera and in front of it. "
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