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Matt Bomer Becomes Yet Another Cis Man To Play Trans Woman

By Riley Silverman | Think Pieces | August 31, 2016 |

By Riley Silverman | Think Pieces | August 31, 2016 |

Once again ignoring the voices of trans people who say that this is not okay, Matt Bomer has been cast in the upcoming film Anything, produced by come-on-we-believed-in-you Mark Ruffalo, in which Bomer will play a trans sex worker opposite John Carol Lynch. Because this is a face…


…that just screams “I’ve had regular doses of Estrogen put in my system!”

Enough is enough with this bullshit. When is it going to stop? I’m god damned tired of having this conversation. I’m tired of seeing our voices silenced and replaced by those of men who turn us into pity porn, just as I’m tired of seeing my trans male brothers have their voices silenced and replaced by women like Zelda Williams and Elle Fanning. Stop it.

And literally, Matt Bomer is silencing trans women over this, because he actively did so when Jamie Clayton, star of Sense8 addressed him over this issue, in a pretty benign way:

She was met with this:

Again, this is Jamie Clayton, a working actor who stars in a series on a major platform, and that’s how Bomer treated her. (Update: after backlash for this, he unblocked her.)

Now, every time this comes up, a common response is “Actors act!” or some variation on that. Well, yes, actors do act. But the fact that people seem to think that trans is just a hat someone can wear and take on or off, like being a cowboy or being a politician, is exactly part of the problem with these portrayals, they present the argument that trans is an action, a role, and not an identity.

And for those who think “It’s just a movie, it doesn’t matter,” I could write up a long response to that, but I don’t need to. Because Emmy-nominated co-creator of the web series Her Story, Jen Richards already dropped a long, fantastic Twitter thread with her breakdown of exactly what the issue is and continues to be with cis actors stepping into trans identities for parts like this. Here’s the first tweet in a long, in depth thread that breaks down just how harmful this continued practice is for the trans community.

The entire thread is worth reading, but it should be noted that Richards is not some bitter actor who is ranting because she didn’t get the part. First off, she did audition for the movie but it was for a different character. Bomer had been pre-cast by the production. Furthermore, just days before this controversy hit, she had tweeted this in support of other trans actors getting work:

Richards doesn’t just want to be a successful actor, she wants to see others in our community succeed. She wants to see our stories told, hear our voices heard. And our voices are angry, because we keep seeing this happen over and over again. We’re tired of it. We’re tired and frustrated when we see actors like Bomer or BD Wong, who both actively speak out about their own marginalized groups’ harmful representations. Or Mark Ruffalo, who we know actually knows better:

We’re tired of it. We’re angry. I would love to end this on a joke referencing Ruffalo’s Hulk, because yes, it seems like we’re always angry. But maybe that would change if you tried giving a shit?


Mark Ruffalo has acknowledged the issue. Will report back if this dramatically changes the situation.


I was under the impression this film was still in pre-production, but apparently that was not the case, it was already filmed.