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Hollywood trans roles under fire - again

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By Maisie Smith-Walters BBC News Magazine      15 September 2016

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities have long lobbied for Hollywood to not only include, but portray, characters that identify as LGBT+ in a realistic way.

Two films recently attracted criticism for casting cisgender actors - non-trans but whose gender matches their "assigned" sex at birth - in transgender roles.

Matt Bomer, of Magic Mike fame, will star as a transgender sex worker in Anything, a film produced by fellow actor Mark Ruffalo.

Meanwhile, Michelle Rodriguez, who has starred in blockbusters like Avatar and the Fast and Furious franchise, has been cast as a transgender assassin in Reassignment - a film that also uses a trans term for its title.

Both actors count themselves as members of the LGBT+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender; the plus sign represents other sexual and gender groups). Bomer has been married to his male partner since 2011, and Rodriguez has spoken openly about her bisexuality in interviews.

However, members of the community have accused them both of contributing to what is known as "trans erasure" - or the removal of trans people from view - in Hollywood.

Prominent trans activist and actress Jen Richards released a 13-minute video on YouTube to address the issue, after a thread she posted to Twitter received thousands of retweets.

She said that Bomer's casting showed "culture as a whole still thinks trans women are 'really' men."

It has since been confirmed that Richards has been cast as a transgender character in the American country music soap Nashville.

More here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-37312338

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