So several months ago I had several discussions about the acceptability, or otherwise, of having cis actors in trans roles, with a variety of people, cis, trans, and in-between, culminating in me making a drunken promise to write a post on the topic. And I tried. And I sobered up and wasn't very happy with my writing. And I tried again a few weeks later. And that wasn't quite right either. And today, someone asked me to try again. So I am. Let's see if I can explain to my well-meaning cis friends and relatives, why this pisses off so many trans people so much, and to my well meaning trans friends why your outrage also needs a side of balance.
The thing is, I'm pretty moderate on a bunch of this stuff, and I think it takes a bunch of nuance to get it right. In particular, I'm not going to say that it is always wrong, or always transphobic to have a cis actor play a trans role. But it often is. It's usually a bad sign. There are so many things that can, and historically often have, gone wrong when people have tried to put cis actors in trans roles. It makes me instantly suspicious, even though it doesn't make me instantly outraged. So I have a lot of thoughts here.