• Christopher Fagan

Why It Is Acceptable For Elliot Page To Play Vanya In Umbrella Academy


Elliot Page just announced to the world through social media that he is transgender and will no longer be referred to as Ellen or by pronouns her/she via a posted letter on Twitter (@theelliotpage). The first questions that popped up immediately were if he would continue on as Vanya on The Umbrella Academy series on Netflix. My first response was "of course" but the question is understandable. The fact is that in recent years there have been movements that more members of the LGBTQ community be included and represented in Hollywood so naturally, people would try to reverse engineer the movement back the other way, though some would be demanding it because of negative reasoning. Here's what I mean.


There are those who think, "Well, if it is inappropriate for a none LGBTQ person to play one because they are so unrepresented in Hollywood then a person who is a member of that community should not always play a character that is not representing that community". This doesn't count for Vanya since (spoiler alert) she addressed feeling for a woman in season two. But, if you're asking in general, is it okay for a person who is LGBTQ to play a straight character, I say yes. I also do not have a problem with straight actors playing gay in a film or TV show. The real problem is members of the LGBTQ community is underrepresented in the casting process. Just like when there were agendas to not include people by sex or race. Overlooking or flat out denying a person because they are transgender or queer to play a character that is transgender or queer is a problem. Everyone should have a fair chance.


The other feedback I expect to see is the comparison to race. Many people will say why is it okay for a person to just decide to be a different gender but not a different race. For example, Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who said she was black, received a lot of backlash because it was considered insulting to black people. Even though in her heart she felt that she was a black person. The difference, to me and I'm speaking for myself as a black man, is that every human being is born with the possibility of being female, male, and in some cases having both chromosomes. When a person who is black conceives a child with another black person and if we are just looking at the male/female possibility, there is a fifty/fifty chance of boy or girl. This is the same with all humans and in all races, cultures, ethnicity, religion, and country. The odds are generally the same. Of course, there are biracial people who represent multiple cultures and backgrounds but in this case, I'm just talking about a Rachel Dolezal example. Her parents could have had a boy or girl, they could not produce a black baby and with the history of cultural appropriation, a person like Rachel Dolezal would have known better. She is free to feel the way she felt but the backlash was exactly what was expected based on the way she lied and carried on about it.


So there is no comparison to a person, like Elliot Page. He identifies as trans and it could be because it was meant to. Because it could have been. If that is the way he's always or mostly felt inside, then it was in my mind, meant to be. They are mature enough to come to terms with it and accept it for themselves. Now should he still play a woman, even one who is not gay or transgender, I say yes. The problem wasn't that straight people were playing gay or transgender. It was that gay and trans were not being considered enough in casting. Now, here's one person you damn well better consider.

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