While the critics have raved about Jared Leto’s performance of a trans woman with AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club, actual trans women are less than happy.
The singer and actor won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor last night (2 March).
But it was not just the Oscar, Leto has won nearly every award he was nominated for in the awards season this year.
On his promotional trail, the ’30 Seconds To Mars’ frontman has caused controversy with how he approached the Dallas Buyers Club role.
Leto has described the character Rayon as a ‘beautiful creature’ and joked about cross-dressing.
Several trans people reacted to Leto winning the Oscar.
‘If you thought Jared Leto’s performance was anything other than an exaggerated, stereotyped, cliché damaging to trans people, f off,’ one said on Twitter.
‘One small step for Jared Leto One giant blow for the trans movement,’ another added.
Another Twitter user said: ‘The fact that every trans person on my [timeline] found Jared Leto’s portrayal of a trans person offensive makes me not really want to see that film.’
British trans activist Paris Lees, writing in The Independent, said it was not an Oscar-worthy performance as she did not recognize in Rayon any trans woman she knows.
‘For truly accurate portrayals of trans people, cast trans actors, I say,’ she said.
‘Not everyone in the trans community agrees though – some say that casting “regular” actors is a positive step, which acknowledges that many trans people “blend in”.
‘Many trans people do blend in. But wouldn’t it be better for those trans people to blend in themselves? On screen?’
He did have some support, with one Twitter user saying: ‘Jared was asked to ACT as a trans woman in a film. He’s not in charge of casting. He did a good job. Get over it.’
Leto was also criticized for not mentioning trans people in his acceptance speech, but has won praise for dedicating the prize to those who lost their lives to AIDS.
He said: ‘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.’
Leto won over Bradley Cooper for American Hustle, Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave, Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips and Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street.
Check out Jared Leto’s acceptance speech below: