I recently read an article on a TV news website that I frequently visit, that a character who had been played by a female, was coming back and being played by a male actor, and the headline read “First transgender character coming to this soap opera in the UK” Ok so I didn’t name the soap opera in question, but you get the idea.
Now my first thought was oh a transgender actor is taking over this role, well that’s what the headline and the ensuing first few paragraphs would lead me to believe.
But no, it’s a male actor who is coming into play this character who was female and is now going to be male.
Nothing wrong in that. But my problem is why isn’t it being played by a transgender actor? There out there? Why are they being denied this role?
In another soap a female was cast to play a character who had transitioned and whilst they went onto become a well liked and popular character, they were played by a female who was born a female. You see my point?
And that lead me to think about how autism people are not cast in autistic roles? Take A typical for example. The lead actor is quoted as saying
“I have a lot of autistic friends and you can almost hear every single autistic person’s collective groan.
Oh how wonderful for you mister I’ve got lots of autistic friends. Do you realise how patronising that actually sounds?
There off course have been other shows where autism has featured and I find myself asking why aren’t these autistic roles being given to autistic actors? Like the good doctor.
I have some good news, it’s great step in the right direction but I would like to see more.
You can read about it here http://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/media-centre/news/2018-04-23-talia-grant-joins-hollyoaks.aspx
For those of you who are scratching your heads going what’s Hollyoaks? It’s a UK soap opera on Channel 4. The great news is that they have actually cast an autistic actress Talia Grant. They have also cast a transgender actress too. But and this is my point why aren’t more shows (not just soap opera’s) heading in this direction?
I’ll leave you with a quote from Peter Bowker the writer who when questioned about why he didn’t cast an autistic actor for his BBC drama The A Word said this
Bowker said: “It would have been unethical to cast a child on the spectrum age six, with part of the problem being processing and understanding emotions.”
He said it was important Joe was only mildly affected by the condition for the sake of the drama, adding: “I felt that if you had a child pretending to be a child with severe autism it would be both unwatchable and exploitative.”
I am speechless.