Dear Mark Ruffalo, my “ally”

You’ve been a LGBT advocate for a number of years now, being part of the fight for marriage equality in the U.S., and publicly voicing your support for LGBT people around the world.

Only now, you’ve made a new film, casting a cisgender actor to play a transgender character. You took to Twitter this morning, saying:

To the Trans community. I hear you. It’s wrenching to you see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation. It’s time.

and then, when pressed on the casting replied:

Please have a little compassion.

Mark, this isn’t how being an ally works.

Compassion isn’t giving you artistic license to do whatever you ‘feel’ is right, solely trading on the capital of having been an ally to others in the past.

Compassion isn’t giving leeway to yet another cisgender man so symptomatic of a society that sees transgender women as men that he can’t even imagine a transgender woman in the part.

Compassion isn’t an equal dialogue between a community and their allies. Being an ally is a recognition of our power imbalance: that you are part of a group that has greater privilege than a group you are seeking to represent. With that privilege comes power, and that power can be abused.

Mark, please hear this:

Compassion is recasting and reshooting the film. It is recognising the complaints of the community you have entirely failed to represent and uphold.

Compassion is ensuring that money from this film gets into trans hands, be it actors, crew, advisors, or external charity and activist groups.

Compassion is apologising. Just fucking apologise, own up to this.

And if you have no compassion for me, for us, at least own up to it and don’t ever call yourself an LGBT ally again.

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