Following a social-media outcry, actress Halle Berry has apologised and vacated a transgender role in an upcoming film.
The Academy Award winner came under fire over the weekend when she revealed on Instagram Live that she would probably lop off her hair to play the character in her next project and repeatedly misgendered the character during the interview.
“I’m thinking of [playing] a character where the woman is a trans character, so her hair is going to have to be [short]. She’s a woman that transitioned into a man,” Berry said in a recent chat with hairstylist Christin Brown. “She’s a character in a project I love that I might be doing.
“It’s really important to me to tell stories. And that’s a woman. That’s a female story,” Berry added. “She transitions to a man, but I want to understand the why, the how of that.”
Berry and Brown were really excited about the project, but social media was not. Following an outpouring of criticism, the ‘Monster’s Ball’ star issued an apology Monday and committed herself to being a better ally.
“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,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days and I will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake,” Berry added. “I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen, both in front of and behind the camera.”
The LGBTQ+ advocacy group GLAAD applauded the actress’ decision and steered her toward the recent documentary ‘Disclosure’, which examines Hollywood’s treatment of transgender characters and actors.
“We are pleased that [Halle Berry] listened to the concerns of transgender people and learned from them. Other powerful people should do the same. A good place to start is by watching to learn about trans representation in media,” the group tweeted in response to her apology.
Hollywood has a long history of giving white, straight actors the roles of LGBTQ+ individuals, many of whom have gone on to win Oscars or earn nominations for their portrayals Julie Andrews (‘Victor, Victoria’), Eddie Redmayne (‘The Danish Girl’), Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal (‘Brokeback Mountain’), Hilary Swank (‘Boys Don’t Cry’), Sean Penn (‘Milk’) and Felicity Huffman (‘Transamerica’), among them.