Rayon was badly written, but Leto was handed that badly written character and took her nowhere. His acting was not exceptional, it was literally just what he was asked to do and no more. Leto’s behavior since, and his comments and reactions to criticism, is just icing on the cake. His lame attempt to shoehorn in a nod to the trans community with some vague last minute comment about the Oscar being for anyone who was different… Well, that was assorted sprinkles.
Seeing the headline for this today, I was reminded of something Amy Poehler said: “I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people who dream, and support, and do things.”
Sorry Jared Leto didn’t do exactly what you wanted him to do. Guess that kind of works into the whole “freedom to be you and me” thing…
I can understand being frustrated due to the feeling that a chance to accurately and viably represent a tragically underrepresented community was there but then lost. But for all intents and purposes, it wasn’t Leto’s job to champion the trans community, nor speak up for them in his speech. It was his job to deliver a performance in a movie, which he did, and the value of that performance is obviously subjective to differing opinion. The Academy voted, and he won, and whether or not you agree with that, it *will* and has lent sorely needed visibility and empathy to the trans community. I’m not asking those in the trans community to “just be happy with that”, but I’m also rather tired of communities (including my own, as a Native) looking for others outside said community to champion them exactly the way they want to be championed, and then ragging on those same individuals when they miss the - often very delicate - mark. Leto is not your spokesman. It’s misplaced to criticize his failure to speak up for trans people when he’s never actually volunteered to do so.
I, myself, get really excited about performances like Leto’s because, standing on the outside of the GLBT community, I recognize that those roles are progress. They put a face, a name, and a story of a trans woman in front of movie viewers like my father, who will watch a movie about a rodeo guy but will not actively choose to watch a movie about a trans woman. And having a role like that in a movie like that may just be the very first seed of empathy needed to create more understanding in people like him. People who have never met or befriended a trans woman, and whose understanding of their community and lives is so small that it is just simply ignorant. And an Oscar win, you guys…it fucking opens up doors. For writers to include more trans characters into the storyline. For producers to support more movies that feature trans roles. For casting directors to cast actual trans women to represent these roles. If Leto did not deserve that Oscar for his performance, than he at least deserved to receive it for the fact that his win will most likely usher in more greater good than any other win in that category.