Jared Leto has been racking up awards nominations for his role as an HIV-positive transgender prostitute in Dallas Buyers Club. But not everyone is happy with his handling of the subject matter. According to the The Hollywood Reporter, an unidentified heckler at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival interrupted a tribute to Leto by yelling “trans misogyny does not deserve an award!”
Asked to clarify, the protestor said “You don’t deserve to play a trans woman” referring to Rayon, Leto’s character.
The two engaged in a bit of a back-and-forth, with Leto asking, “Because I’m a man, I don’t deserve to play that part? … So you would hold a role against someone who happened to be gay or lesbian — they can’t play a straight part?”
“Historically,” she replied, “straight-gender people always play transgender people, and all of them received awards and credit for it.”
“Then you make sure that people that are gay, people that aren’t straight, people like the Rayons of the world, would never have the opportunity to turn the tables and explore parts of that art,” Leto answered, offering to continue to the conversation backstage.
Later in the evening, Leto and the unidentified woman had a more reasonable discourse, and reportedly left hand-in-hand.
This week, the film’s DVD hit stores, and features a deleted scene in which Rayon receives treatment for AIDS from Dr. Eve Saks, played by Jennifer Garner.