Updated on Jul 8, 2020. Posted on Jul 7, 2020

    Halle Berry Apologised After She Was Criticised For Her Comments About Playing A Transgender Man In An Upcoming Movie

    "As a cisgender woman, I now understand that I should not have considered this role, and that the transgender community should undeniably have the opportunity to tell their own stories."

    Halle Berry has issued a statement apologising for her recent comments about playing a transgender man in an upcoming movie.

    Robyn Beck / Getty Images

    The Oscar-winning actor spoke about the role in an interview on Instagram Live over the weekend. Talking to hairstylist Christin Brown, Halle opened up about the project after being asked if she would ever cut her hair short again, adding that she would have to do so in order to play the character.

    "That's what I want to experience and understand and study and explore," Halle continued. "It's really important to me to tell stories, and that's a woman, that's a female story — it changes to a man, but I want to understand the why and how of that."

    Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    Following the comments, the Twitter account for Disclosure, a Netflix documentary focusing on trans representation in the entertainment industry, spoke out about the importance of trans people playing trans characters.

    Today is a good day to remind people that casting trans actors in trans roles is more than about opportunity. #DisclosureNetflix https://t.co/Ko2gjPHvnU

    Many others also voiced their opinion on the comments, pointing out that "trans roles aren't cosplay" and that the community itself is "under unprecedented public attack".

    Why do we have to have this same fucking conversation every god damn summer? Trans roles aren't cosplay for bored cis actors fishing for easy awards from other tonedeaf cis people. We are under unprecedented public attack and this shit. Isn't. Helping. https://t.co/1dn25nWqJX

    We've talked about this for far too long (there's even a whole documentary @Disclosure_Doc) for it to still keep happening. Trans people do not want or need cis people portraying us in film and television. We've been here before. @halleberry https://t.co/ilC7QrTfqF

    please reconsider @halleberry. trans men aren’t women playing dress up, and this would do a lot more harm than good. https://t.co/FH2nVP38ud

    Halle was also criticised for using "she"/"her" pronouns and misgendering the character while discussing the role.

    Cannot overstate the extent to which the way Berry misgenders and appropriates her character in this interview is how cis women habitually talk about trans men IRL. https://t.co/Y7n8mBmcjG

    However, on Monday night, Halle appeared to hear people's concerns and posted a statement apologising for her comments and vowing to use her voice to help diversify representation on- and off-screen.

    Jesse Grant / Getty Images

    "Over the weekend I had the opportunity to discuss my consideration of an upcoming role as a transgender man, and I'd like to apologize for those remarks," she began.

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images

    The statement continued: "As a cisgender woman, I now understand that I should not have considered this role, and that the transgender community should undeniably have the opportunity to tell their own stories."

    "I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days and I will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake," Halle finished. "I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen, both in front of and behind the camera."

    The topic of whether straight, cisgender actors should play queer and trans characters has been heavily debated for some time, particularly as many have gone on to achieve great acclaim and success while LGBTQ+ actors are often shut out.

    Universal

    Hilary Swank won an Academy Award for Best Actress at the 2000 Oscars for her role as a trans man in Boys Don't Cry. Meanwhile, Eddie Redmayne was nominated for his portrayal of a trans woman in The Danish Girl back in 2015.

    In fact, after winning an Emmy for his role in The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Darren Criss went as far as to say he'd never play the role of a gay character again because he didn't want to take the opportunity away from somebody else.

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images

    "There are certain [queer] roles that I'll see that are just wonderful," he said in an interview with Bustle. "But I want to make sure I won't be another straight boy taking a gay man's role."

    Ben Henry is a celebrity reporter for BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ben Henry at ben.henry@buzzfeed.com.

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