The history of trans men and women in film and TV is one of erasure. Cisgender actors play trans characters at the expense of trans actors. A lot of these films and TV are pure and utter trash, but there are a number which are canonical LGBTQ classics. And they serve as a reminder that the LGBTQ community has often played a role in silencing trans voices. So here’s a list of cis actors playing transgender characters. But remember the lack of opportunities trans actors have had. And let’s hope no more names wind up on lists like this.
Glen or Glenda (1953): Often called the worst movie ever made, Ed Wood is famously one of the least talented directors in history. His magnum opus of awful is an attempt at plea for tolerance while at the same time exploiting the headline making sexual reassignment surgery of Christine Jorgensen in 1952. Now a cult curio, it doesn’t diminish how awful and truly offensive the film is. Ahh, the 50s!