In a recent interview with the U.K. Evening Standard, Jared Leto told the world that he wanted to attend the evening at the Oscars dressed like a woman. He said doing so would have been a tribute to the transgendered woman he played in the movie “Dallas Buyers Club,” Rayon.
“I thought about dragging up for the Oscars, going as Rayon, because I knew that she would have loved to be there,” Leto said. “It’s so much work for girls to get ready. I was brought up by my mum, so I always had an appreciation of women. But now I have more respect for the process. It’s a lot, what women have to do to themselves. But in the end, when you put that final dash of lipstick on and your look all comes together, it really is a glorious reward.”
He ended up winning an Oscar for playing the role of Rayon, who was a fictional transgendered woman with HIV.
Many in the transgendered community felt would have been better played by an actual transgendered woman as opposed to a straight, white, cisgender man.
“If you thought Jared Leto’s performance was anything other than an exaggerated, stereotyped, cliché damaging to trans people, f off,” one said on Twitter.
Another Twitter user said: “The fact that every trans person on my [timeline] found Jared Leto’s portrayal of a trans person offensive makes me not really want to see that film.”
The National Center for Transgender Equality’s Executive Director Mara Keisling said that “Leto’s portrayal was of a particular fictional transgender person at a particular time,” however she pointed out that people like Rayon aren’t always fictional. “But we can’t forget that transgender people like Rayon did exist and do exist. To the film’s credit, I think it accurately showed what the life of this brave person must have been and how she was treated. Our job is to make life better for transgender people like Rayon in the real world, and it really helps to have these lives told by Hollywood.”
Leto also came under fire during a Q&A during the film festival in Santa Barbara when a person in the crowd started heckling him..
The heckler said that Leto didn’t “deserve an award for portraying a trans-woman, because [he’s] a man.” They also accused him of trans-mysogyny, to which Leto replied and asked how the heckler would feel if it were a gay or lesbian person playing someone who was straight.
His acceptance speech(which you can watch below) also was criticized by the LGBT community, who argued that he had trivialized being transgender by focusing on physical features rather than how they behave. During the speech he spoke of his “tiny little Brazilian butt” and talked about the pains of having to wax his whole body. He said he was “fortunate that it wasn’t a period piece so I didn’t have to do a full Brazilian [wax]. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about though… and so do some of you men, I think.”
Not to trivialize how these people feel about certain topics, but wouldn’t you say this is a bit of an overreaction considering it is Hollywood? Let us know in the comments!