During an interview with hairstylist Christin Brown on Instagram Live, Halle Berry talked about a lot of things including her hair journey throughout her career and her upcoming directorial debut with Bruised. Then she spoke about a role that was pitched to her: a transgender man. She then said, “I want to experience that world, I want to understand that world.”
This wasn’t exactly a good idea.
Berry is an LGBTQ advocate, but her decision to consider taking the role of a transgender man during an era when authenticity and representation on screen are paramount was subject to concern and some backlash on Twitter.
Sam Feder, director of the recently released Netflix documentary Disclosure, which chronicles the portrayal of trans people in media, tweeted at the actress: “Often people don’t know what they don’t know. And that’s ok! @halleberry please consider watching @Disclosure_Doc before performing transness.”
Actress Jamie Clayton echoed Feder’s sentiment, asking that she watch the docu and share it. “Please fight for us, not against us. #TransIsBeautiful”
Former Survivor cast member Zeke Smith referred back to a similar situation when Scarlett Johansson decided that she was going to play a trans man in a film saying on Twitter, “ASAP can ScarJo’s publicists call Halle Berry’s publicists and explain how this is going to go down? Cuz from this little snippet, Ms. Berry should have nothing to do with representing our community.”
Berry didn’t waste any time to make things right. On Monday night she took to Twitter to apologize to the trans community and said that she was no longer considering the role.
“Over the weekend I had the opportunity to discuss my consideration of an upcoming role as a transgender man, and I’d like to apologize for those remarks,” she said. “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 continued, “I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days and will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake. I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen, both in front of and behind the camera.”
GLAAD applauded her efforts: “We are pleased that @halleberry listened to the concerns of transgender people and learned from them. Other powerful people should do the same.”