No more “Black Face” in Hollywood
We have hopefully moved beyond casting a white man in black face to play an African American or in face paint to play a Native American. The egregiousness of miscasting, as exemplified by Hollywood actually casting John Wayne cast as Genghis Khan seems silly to us today. Perhaps we will someday look upon the casting of cisgender actors in transgender roles the same way in the future. Hollywood and smaller film producers should seek to rectify this practice as soon as possible. The fact that there are few well known transgender actors speaks to the lack of roles and opportunity. Transgender actors are not even cast in minor roles, preventing them from gaining experience and exposure. Remember Audrey Hepburn started as a cigarette vendor, so even a “bit part” can lead to opportunities. The film industry can help by writing transgender characters into normal roles, such as “the girl next door, the shop owner, the assistant scientist, or the “co-worker.” Transgender roles need not be limited to stereotypes such as “prostitute #3 or drag queen performer.” By doing this, Hollywood can continue its long history of social activism and make a positive change in the lives of many transgender people. In the same way African Americans gained hope by seeing Nichelle Nichols on the bridge of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek, thousands of transgender people will take heart in seeing a transgender actor in a respectable role in television or the movies.