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Trans Actresses Trace Lysette and Jamie Clayton Slam Hollywood After Scarlett Johansson Cast in Transgender Role

Johansson has been cast as a transgender man in Rupert Sanders' crime drama "Rub & Tug."

Trace Lysette and Jamie Clayton

Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock and MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock

Trace Lysette and Jamie Clayton, two of the most high profile transgender actresses working today, took to Twitter in the aftermath of Scarlett Johansson being cast in a transgender role to slam Hollywood for continuing to allow cisgender actors the chance to play transgender characters. Johansson is set to play Dante “Tex” Gill in Rupert Sanders in crime drama “Rub & Tug.” Gill operated massage parlors that served as fronts for prostitution in 1970s Pittsburgh and lived as a transgender man.

“Oh word? So you can continue to play us but we can’t play y’all?” Lysette wrote on Twitter in reaction to Johansson’s casting. “Hollywood is so fucked. I wouldn’t be as upset if I was getting in the same rooms as Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett for cis roles, but we know that’s not the case. A mess.”

Lysette is famous for co-starring on Amazon’s comedy series “Transparent.” Clayton, who just wrapped up her run on Netflix’s cult favorite “Sense 8,” echoed Lysette’s thoughts when she ripped into Hollywood for not even letting transgender actors in the room to audition for cis gender roles, which clearly is not the case for cis gender actors going out for transgender roles.

“Actors who are trans never even get to audition for anything other than roles of trans characters,” Clayton wrote. “That’s the real issue. We can’t even get in the room. Cast actors who are trans as non trans character. I dare you.”

Johansson defended her controversial casting in a comment made to Bustle in which she said, “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.” Johansson’s statement referred to three cisgender actors who all earned rave reviews and accolades for playing transgender women: Jeffrey Tambor in “Transparent,” Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyer’s Club,” and Felicity Huffman in “Transamerica.”

Lysette criticized Hollywood for continuing to award cis gender actors for playing transgender characters, which is one of the reasons this trend has continued. “Not only do you play us and steal our narrative and our opportunity,” Lysette wrote, “but you pat yourselves on the back with trophies and accolades for mimicking what we have lived…so twisted. I’m so done.”

Johansson’s “Rub & Tug” role is yet another casting controversy for the actress following “Ghost in the Shell,” which was also directed by Sanders. Johansson was cast in the lead of a the Japanese manga adaptation and the film became one of the most prominent examples of Hollywood whitewashing as a result.

IndieWire has reached out to Johansson’s team for further comment. You can read Lysette and Clayton’s full comments in the tweets below.

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