Halle Berry has issued an apology after she said in a recent interview that she is considering playing a transgender man in an upcoming movie.
“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,” the Oscar winner said in a statement posted Monday on social media. “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.”
The 53-year-old actress continued, “I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days and I 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.”
In an Instagram Live interview with hairstylist Christin Brown last Friday, Berry mistakenly used the pronoun “she” to refer to the transgender male character.
“[It’s] a character where the woman is a trans character, so she’s a woman that transitioned into a man,” Berry told Brown. “She’s a character in a project I love that I might be doing.”
After the interview went viral, several social media users criticized Berry for misgendering the man, as well as potentially playing a role that could have gone to a transgender actor.
“Trans people are so very tired of cis actors taking up roles that so many trans people would give anything to play. @halleberry please reconsider this, especially given you’ve already misgendered your character from the jump. Your language is damaging. A woman doesn’t transition into a man. He is and always was a man,” one social media user wrote.
“This is a job that could go to a Trans actor of color. It’s hard enough for trans people to find work. Also trans men are MEN, not a woman who becomes a man,” another added.
Following Berry’s apology, transgender actor Scott Schofield told People on Monday, “I’m grateful to Ms. Berry for listening deeply and responding so quickly and graciously.”
“In the past, this issue has been dragged out, putting the real needs of the trans community up for painful public debate,” Schofield added. “Having a lapse of awareness is human; reacting by listening and doing what is sincerely asked — even if it costs you something — is exactly the kind of solidarity everyone needs right now. I appreciate her very much for being such a classy example.”