Halle Berry has pulled out of playing a transgender man after facing backlash on social media. In an Instagram Live with hairstylist Christen Brown, the actress said she was considering a new role in which she would play a trans man.
According to the Oscar-winner, the role was offered to her a while ago, but she deferred to work non her own directing project, “Bruised.” Berry noted that the film is about “a character where the woman is a trans character, so she’s a woman that transitioned into a man. She’s a character in a project I love that I might be doing. This project got pitched to me right when I was the brink of making ‘Bruised,’ but I so was in the mindset of getting in the body to play that, and I don’t know how long I can play an MMA character, so I had to get that out. … But this got pitched to me, and I thought, after I do this movie, that’s the character I’m going to play.”
Still trying to understand why Halle Berry would be interested in playing the role of a transgender man. Sigh! pic.twitter.com/S7W2y8SMfd
— A.J Raven (@tempest071990) July 5, 2020
After bringing up the role in the interview, however, Berry was met with a lot of pushback from LGBTQ+ community members and allies. Considering that there were only 38 trans characters on TV last year according to GLAAD, trans representation by trans actors is as essential as ever. And for Berry to play a trans man is another loss for that necessary visibility. The actress was also criticized for discussing the narrative as though it were about a woman, using “she” pronouns and referring to the trans character as the wrong gender.
After facing backlash for her comments in the interview and her consideration of the role at all, Berry took to social media Monday night to post an apology, noting that she had listened and decided not to play the trans role.
— Halle Berry (@halleberry) July 7, 2020
“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,” reads the apology. “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 will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake,” she continued. “I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen, both in front of and behind the camera.”