Why is Jared Leto’s Oscar winning performance a controversy?

Why is Jared Leto’s Oscar winning performance a controversy?

March 7th, 2014 1 Comment. Features, Gay News

Gays.com’s Bart Bloem argues that Jared could have done more to highlight transgender issues in his acceptance speech and that too many stereotypes of transgender women still exist in film…

So, Jared Leto just won the Oscar for his role as a transgender woman in the movie Dallas Buyers Club. Since then, many questions have been raised, such as ‘why didn’t a transgender actress get the role of a transgender woman?’, ‘why didn’t he thank or even mention the transgender community in his acceptance speech?’ as well as many comments about how stereotypical, exaggerated and clichéd the role is.

Since his win, the transgender community has asked themselves, ‘Why did a straight cis man play a transgender role, in drag. The LGTB activist and journalist, Juliet Jacques, wrote in 2012, “Where are the professional transgender actors? [This] is where cisgender actors playing trans people becomes more problematic: I cannot recall one out transgender person playing a mainstream cisgender role, so their only entry may be in playing transgender roles.”

Maybe some of you will think that if you want transgender people not to only play transgender roles in the movie industry, then it should be OK for cis actors to play a transgender role. But the case is that transgender women aren’t being cast to play cis women, while many cis people are doing transgender roles. The issue is that, actually, transgender actors and actresses, still are invisible in the movie industry and in the media.

However, this is slowly changing, as Susan Rohwer of the LA Times points out: “Transgender people are portrayed in movies and on TV more and more these days, and that’s a positive development. Yet most of these characters are played by actors who are not transgender. It is no longer acceptable to cast cross-racially, so why is it acceptable to cast someone who is not transgender in a transgender role?”

Casting transgender actors for transgender roles is important; it would make the transgender community more visible. This would also help fight transphobia. Media can play a really important role in helping people understand and give visibility to the transgender community. It would be even better if the roles were not always so stereotypical.

Too many stereotypes
And on that note, the second issue is Jared’s role itself: a
n HIV-positive transgender woman living in Texas in the 1980s. Once again, a stereotyped, exaggerated and cliché transgender performance. All that is true but, in my opinion, we also have to consider when and where the movie takes place. Back then, this was a major issue in the transgender community, and even nowadays, especially trans-identified women have to deal with the following labels: AIDS, sex worker, transvestites, etc. I don’t think there is a problem with the topic, but rather with it being the only topic in the movie industry where transgender women appear.

Last, but not least, is the issue of his acceptance speech. After the disappointing speech at the Golden Globes, where he made fun of the difficulties of Brazilian waxing, not taking into consideration the real every-day struggles of a transgender woman, he did better in the Oscars.

However, many transgender people were disappointed because he didn’t mention the transgender community in his speech, even if a transgender role “gave” him the prize. He just mentioned (indirectly) the community in his last sentence: “To the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS and those of you out there who have ever felt injustice for who you are and who you love, tonight I stand here with you and for you.”

There has been a lot said about this character and performance but, at the end, Jared Leto doesn’t have that much influence on how the character is or on the director’s decision not to cast a transgender woman. He also didn’t mention the transgender community directly in his speech, but what he said was also a really strong statement, and he expresses support towards the LGTB community. What do you think?

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Living alone: would you love it or hate it?

December 11th, 2013 7 Comments Gay News

Bad behaviour

Isn’t the traditional stereotype of living alone one of misery, sadness and being surrounded by loads of pussies (steady, girls!)? Well, one of Gays.com’s oldest (and funniest) members, Martin D. Goodkin tells us why there’s not a HOPE IN HELL of him living with someone - not even a partner! And it isn’t because he’s anti-social – far from it…
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Why Tom Daley talking about his sexuality will help the younger LGBT generation

December 4th, 2013 2 Comments Features, Gay News

gays.com_tom_daley

So the biggest LGBT news this week has been Olympic diver Tom Daley opening up so heartwarmingly about being in a relationship with a guy through his YouTube video. ‘Hardly news’, some of you may be thinking, as I’m sure many of us (including myself, I’ll admit it) had already decided the Olympic champion was gay. How presumptuous of us!
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‘I’ve proven to myself I can have a sex life and I can have a relationship’

December 1st, 2013 4 Comments Features, Gay News

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As we mark World Aids Day 2013 (1 December) Gays.com fan Karl from the UK wanted to share his story of discovering his HIV positive status and how he’s grown to accept and live healthily with the virus. We’d love to hear your comments as always, and you can also get in touch with Karl direct by Tweeting him! :) Read the rest of this entry »

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Why you should support Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 18th, 2013 No Comments Gay News

TDOR-2013

At least 238 trans people were violently murdered this year, the highest figure in the past five years – and that’s just the ‘recorded’ deaths, the truth is probably worse. Brazil (95 murders) and Mexico (40) have the highest rates of killings followed by the United States, with 16 murders, Venezuela, with 15, Colombia, with 12, and Turkey, with eight. Since the start of 2013, 11 trans people under the age of 18 have been killed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Transgender. Transsexual. Transvestite. What’s the difference?

November 18th, 2013 3 Comments Gay News

transgender

Unless you’ve had direct experience with people with gender issues, sometimes it can be a bit confusing what the different associated terms mean. Here’s a very quick guide to what the ‘T’ in LGBT stands for… Read the rest of this entry »

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Help support gay marriage in Taiwan!

November 11th, 2013 2 Comments Gay News

Taiwan

Whether or not you have the ability to marry your same-sex partner in your own country, you can always help those in other countries if they need your help. Jen Yen, a friend of Gays.com from Taiwan, is asking for your help to support the country, in what looks like a pivatol moment for same-sex relationships there… Read the rest of this entry »

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The gay lifestyle: is it for me?

November 7th, 2013 5 Comments Gay News

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In his search for a cultured gay guy, one of Gays.com’s resident bloggers, James Ellis considers if the gay scene is too shallow and if we judge on face value too often. What do you think? Make sure to leave your comments at the end of the blog post! Read the rest of this entry »

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Waxing lyrical on being gay

October 30th, 2013 1 Comment. Features, Gay News

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Clever clogs Suzie Kidger has put together this beautifully poetic post which rather smartly also incorporates lyrics (highlighted) from a song. Can you spot which one? Answer below!
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Vodka gutters and chest wings: Russia Vs the LGBT community

October 23rd, 2013 6 Comments Features, Gay News

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As the global protests against Russia’s anti-LGBT laws continue and with the country’s Winter Olympics upcoming, James Ellis examines the situation and asks, amongst other things, if we should boycott the eventsRead the rest of this entry »

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