Mark Ruffalo reached out to the transgender community on Wednesday after receiving major backlash over the announcement that Matt Bomer will be playing a trans sex worker in his new film, Anything.
Ruffalo is executive producing the film adaptation of Tim McNeil’s play of the same name, which has openly gay Bomer playing Freda Von Rhenberg, an L.A. sex worker involved in a complicated relationship with a Mississippi widower.
Transgender rights activists quickly took to social media to express their disappoint and concern over a cisgender man playing a transgender woman.
“When Matt Bomer plays a trans sex worker, he is telling the world that underneath it all, trans women like me are still really just men,” tweeted Jen Richards, creator of the Emmy-nominated series HerStory.
A firestorm of angry tweets followed, causing Ruffalo to address the outrage via Twitter.
“To the trans community,” he wrote. “I hear you. It’s wrenching to you see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation. It’s time.”
To the Trans community. I hear you. It's wrenching to you see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation. It's time.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) August 31, 2016
“In all honesty, I suggested Matt for the role after the profound experience I had with him while making The Normal Heart,” he added, referencing the HBO film the actors worked on together in 2014.
Richards responded by thanking Ruffalo for the response, saying she’d love to discuss “how to move forward positively.”
Many other users responded to his post as well, however, and were adamant that it will take much more than a conversation to make things right — specifically, Bomer no longer taking the role.
We’ll be waiting to see if any changes are made once the actors and activists join forces for the proposed discussion.