Yes, Matt Bomer is a fantastic piece of eye-candy, a big name (“draw”) and knows his way around a script. While I am not surprised that Hollywood has cast him to play a trans character (and this is not the place for a discussion on the limits to “any actor should be able to play any role” cf: black-face, yellow-face) it is disheartening.
There are plenty of excellent trans actors who could do the role- and while trans issues are ‘hot’ enough to encourage studios to proceed with this (and perhaps other) scripts, the reality is that trans actors struggle to find work. Far too many trans folk commit suicide or are murdered- there are too few well-known trans “role models” to inspire young ones to hang on or the rest of society to open their hearts and minds.
I don’t have the ability to change Hollywood, and I certainly can not speak for trans folk. But I can, and do, speak (type) in support whenever I can and encourage trans folk to speak out and share their stories. youTube is one potential outlet. Creating a blog or self-publishing (poetry, stories, artwork; physical or eBook form) are also options. More and more cities have groups that hold story-telling events (think “the Moth” on NPR) large and small. Working nights I’ve not been able to attend, much less work for, the local versions. I do publish a blog, and am trying to publish a collection of stories by ‘gender queer’ folk.
As I say in the call for guest posts on this blog:
“If you have a blog and want to exchange guest posts, are thinking of starting a blog and want to ‘try out’ a post, or just have something you think my readers want (or NEED) to read….. let me know.”
In my call for submissions to GQ/BW (Gender Queer in a Binary World) I note:
“We do not have a ‘quota’ of GLBT/Queer content or target words/expressions. How being Gender Queer is reflected in each individual is unique; we seek to record diverse stories of our past and present lives.”
Please consider contributing to either, or both. And if you have questions on self-publishing, doing a blog, or anything else please drop me a line.
Edited to add:
See this article for Jen Richards’ tweets on why casting cismales endangers trans folks.