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Diego Luna Is a Drag Queen—Not a Trans Woman—in Berlin, I Love You

Diego Luna Is a Drag Queen—Not a Trans Woman—in 'Berlin, I Love You'

Diego Luna Is a Drag Queen—Not a Trans Woman—in 'Berlin, I Love You'

The film's director makes some clarifications on the identity of Luna's character.

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UPDATE: After PRIDE previously reported that actor Diego Luna is playing a trans character in Berlin, I Love You, Fernando Eimbcke (the film's director) confirms that Luna's character is actually a drag queen.

"When the TEENAGER asks for a man’s kiss, the DRAG QUEEN answers, 'You know baby, technically right now you’re in front of a woman, so it’s not gonna work,'" Eimbcke said in a statement to PRIDE's sister publication Out Magazine. "A transgender character wouldn’t use an argument with the words ‘technically’ and ‘right now.’ A transgender woman is not ‘technically’ a woman or a woman at ‘certain moments.’ She’s a woman."

Eimbcke continued:

"But the TEENAGER insists: 'But, you’re a man' and the DRAG QUEEN answers: 'It’s a little more complicated than that.' He’s answering to a simplistic statement. A transgender woman's response would be: 'No, I’m not a man. I’m a woman.' The DRAG QUEEN's answer reveals his conviction that binary statements don’t define our identities."

Read PRIDE's original article on the story below:

Continuing the trend of cisgender people playing trans characters in film, actor Diego Luna (Y tu mamá también, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is about to stir up some controversy with his freshly announced role in Berlin, I Love You

Part of an anthology, the film features ten individual love stories in the city of Berlin, Germany starring other big-name actors like Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Hayden Panettiere, Jim Sturgess, and Dianna Agron.

In a NewNowNext exclusive clip, Luna's character (whose name is currently unknown) sits on a bridge with a young man.

"I wanna know how it feels to kiss a man," says Berliner. 

"Technically, right now you're in front of a woman," says Luna's character. "It's not gonna work."

Berliner doubles down, "Yeah, but you're a man."

"It's a little more complicated than that," Luna concludes. 

It's unclear how this moment will fit into the rest of the film, but the first few critiques are outraged over the clip. Out's Mathew Rodriguez says that decision to have Luna take the role is harmful to trans people. "Casting cisgender men to play transgender women perpetuates the myth that transgender women are men," Rodriguez writes, which "dehumanizes trans people, reduces their gender to a performance and inevitably leads to more violence against trans women."

Scarlett Johansson was one of the last Hollywood stars to get some major heat for playing a trans movie in Rub & Tug. them's Meredith Talusan wrote at length on why cisgender actors should decline these roles. "If trans people are not even deemed 'qualified' or 'talented' enough to portray their own experiences, it becomes impossible to envision a world where trans actors can be on equal footing with cis actors."

Late last year, film critic Tre'vell Anderson wrote about the dangers of Netflix's Girl and why cisgender people need to be extremely careful telling trans stories. "There is a high level of responsibility that exists when industry creators choose to tell trans stories," they wrote. "Considering we are still at a point where trans storytelling, just like trans survival, is a political act, we can’t afford for people to not shoulder the burden of representation. Whatever merits the film garners on craft or cinematography have a cost. Lives are at stake."

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Taylor Henderson

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one! 

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one!