15 Times Cis Actors Stole Trans Roles In Movies And TV

Let's look at some of most memorable trans roles (that trans people didn't get to play).
15 Times Cis Actors Stole Trans Roles In Movies And TV

The transgender tipping point was back in 2015, but it still doesn’t seem like a lot has changed since then. Despite bringing trans people into the mainstream and causing your grandmother to ask why people keep on inventing new genders, not much has changed, even for the most important trans people around — actors. Jamie Clayton, Hunter Schafer, and Hari Nef have all appeared in films, but none are big-time household names. Despite there being a deluge of trans actors, there’s still a long history — is it history when it’s still happening? — of trans characters being played by cis actors. Instead of Ian Alexander, Chaz Bono, or Avery Edison it’s … some white guy named Paul.

It’s a touchy subject, in the same way that casting John Travolta in Hairspray is touchy. That said, let’s look back on some of the biggest, best, and most famous roles trans people didn’t get to play because some cis person took the role already.

David Duchovny’s Denise Bryson was celebrated

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters Twin Peaks David Duchovny as Denise Bryson One of the better portrayals, Duchovny's Denise Bryson in Twin Peaks won acclaim when she premiered, and her return generated the oft- quoted fix your hearts or die.

Source: Advocate

Jared Leto plays a trans person in The Dallas Buyers Club

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters Dallas Buyers Club Jared Leto as Rayon Just like he did with the Joker or his stint as lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars, Jared Leto brought everything to this role, and it was all mostly terrible.

Source: HuffPost

Chandler’s Mom was played for laughs… and emotion

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters Friends Kathleen Turner as Helena Handbasket Though played mostly as a joke, Kathleen Turner's role as Chandler's Mom was still full of love and compassion.

Source: LGBTQ Nation

Lisa Edelstein played trans Cindy McCauliff in Ally McBeal

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters Ally McBeal Lisa Edelstein as Cindy McCauliff The good? Lisa Edelstein's Cindy McCauliff was a trans woman played by a talented actress. The bad? Her role was so good, Fox's President of Entertainment didn't want her in House because he thought she was a man.

Source: TV Insider

Chris Sarandon stars as a real trans woman who was able to afford to transition due to the film

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters Dog Day Afternoon Chris Sarandon as Leon Shermer Based on a true story, this film stars Al Pacino as Sonny and Chris Sarandon as his girlfriend. The real woman, Elizabeth Eden, had her transition paid for by her boyfriend after he received funds from the film.

Source: New York Post

Leatherface is a notorious trans-coded serial killer who has been reclaimed by trans women

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Multiple actors as Leatherface In a form of reclamation or if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, trans women have reclaimed Leatherface as a trans icon.

Source: Screen Queens

Eddie Redmayne was Lili Elbe, the Danish Girl

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters The Danish Girl Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe Based on the true story of one of the first recipients of a sex change operation, Eddie Redmayne starred as Lili Elbe.

Source: Today

Disgraced, alleged sexual assaulter Jeffrey Tambor played Transparent’s lead role

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters Transparent Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman The role: Maura Pfefferman, inspired by creator Jill Soloway's own mother and her transition The actor: Multiple award-winning and sexual assault accusation dealer-with Jeffrey Tambor.

Source: Vulture

Elle Fanning stars as a trans man in 3 Generations

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters 3 Generations Elle Fanning as Ray Fanning stars as Ray in this touching drama about two generations of women- and also Ray.

Source: The WOW Report

Based on a true story, Hillary Swank plays trans man Brandon Teena

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters Boys Don't Cry Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena This heartbreaking film about the murder of a trans man featured Swank in one of her more touching portrayals.

Source: IndieWire

Famke Janssen played rape victim slash antagonist Ava Moore in Nip/Tuck

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters Nip/Tuck Famke Janssen as Ava Moore Ava's transness is discovered during an attempted rape by one of the main character's because her vagina is too short.

Source: Nip/Tuck Wiki

Felissa Rose as Angela Baker in Sleepaway Camp

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters Sleepaway Camp Felissa Rose as Cam Angela Baker Horizons Rose played Angela most of the time, but a drunk college guy in a mask took over for the shocking twist ending reveal that she was trans.

Source: Wicked Horror

Matt Bomer played a sex worker in controversial film 'Anything'

Cis Portrayals of Trans Characters Anything Matt Bomer as Freda Von Rhenburg After Matt Bomer was cast, the film erupted in controversy. Producer Mark Ruffalo came to the movie's defense, but it didn't work.

Source: HuffPost

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?