A heckler challenged Jared Leto at a Santa Barbara International Film Festival's tribute yesterday, accusing the actor of "trans-misogyny" and repeating criticisms that have always hovered over his acclaimed performance in Dallas Buyers Club.
According to The Hollywood Reporter's Aaron Couch, Leto engaged with the woman who said "Trans-misogyny does not deserve an award." The actor, who has won a Golden Globe and a SAG award for his performance, asked the woman what she meant, to which she responded: "You don't deserve an award for portraying a trans-woman, because you're a man." Leto challenged her saying: "So you would hold a role against someone who happened to be gay or lesbian – they can't play a straight part?" The two met after the tribute.
This is far from the first time Leto's performance has been met with a raised eyebrow. In early November Susan Rohwer wrote at the Los Angeles Times: "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?" Meanwhile, the Tumblr Trans Hollywood has published a "A Step By Step Guide through Jared leto's Trans Ignorance."
At this point it is highly unlikely that Leto is not going to win the Oscar, and he seemed to have handled himself well at the Santa Barbara event by trying to engage in conversation. But it's important to recognize that his critics are trying to give voice to the same people he has said he is purporting to represent.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.