Scarlett Johansson quits transgender role

American actress Scarlett Johansson (pictured) has quit a film project in which she was to play late real-life transgender man Dante ‘Tex’ Gill after the LGBT+ community expressed their outrage for not allowing a transgender actor to play the role. Their objection to the casting in the film Rub and Tug highlighted the limited opportunities given to transgender actors and actresses. GLAAD, a group fighting for the community’s rights, said none of the 109 movies released by Hollywood’s seven biggest studios in 2017 included a transgender character. While it is difficult for transgender actors to get a different role, denying them rare transgender roles in films and TV serials is inexcusable. Johansson told LGBT+ magazine Out that she is respectfully pulling out of the project for ethical reasons. The casting debate, despite the heat it generated, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film, she said. Johansson had initially showed her lack of sensitivity by ignoring criticisms about her casting. Later she realised her mistake. Rub and Tug tells the story of Gill, an American massage parlour operator and pimp, who became a major crime figure in the 1970s and 80s. Born Lois Jean Gill, he identified as a man. Gill used his massage parlours as a front for prostitution.