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If Trans Should Play Cis Then Should Cis Play Trans?

Trans rights, sure, why not?

Of course, as we all know, this isn’t how these things work.

Cast more transgender actors in non-trans roles, union urges
Equity publishes guidance for entertainment professionals working with LGBT+ actors

Of course, we here support this idea. Producers and directors should cast whoever they damn well want to into whatever role they desire. There have been female Hamlets, black Lears and why not? The entire point of the exercise is to be playing dress up after all.

What worries though is that the general and fashionable insistence these days is the opposite. Cis may not play trans – that’s to be reserved for trans. And straight may not play gay – that’s to be reserved for gay. Of course no one’s stupid enough to insist that gay may not play hetero because that would wipe out too many leading mens’s careers.

The complaint we have around here is that we’re firmly in the goose and gander camp. Casting, as with anything else, should be blind to those things that don’t matter. The shape, type, former ownership of and deployment of gonads matter in the creation of children. They don’t when playing dress up. Therefore casting should be blind to those insistences about who should dress up as what. What matters is how convincingly it is done, not the who is doing it.

But that’s not how this modern world works, is it? As shown by the current insistence that cis may not trans even while the union itself insists that trans must cis.

Is it too much to ask that people have just the one set of standards?

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4 years ago

I can only agree with you. The modern demand that jobs, status and social position depend on gender, skin colour and religion is absolutely absurd.

I’ll concede that my position is based on self-interest. If someone is providing me with goods or services, I want them to be produced by the best possible person for the job. I don’t care whether their skin is blue or green, or whether they prefer men, women, pigs or camels in bed. I don’t even care about their politics or religion, provided I don’t think they’d be out to GET me because of it.

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