Hung Casts A Trans Actor In A Trans Role, Then Gets Weird About It.

According to TV Guide, HBO’s Hung will expand its horizons as it enters its third season by including a storyline featuring a transgender woman named Kyla. Played by transgender actress Jamie Clayton whose sole prior TV credit was cohosting VH1’s TRANSform Me, Kyla will have sex with Thomas Jane’s character Ray.

Frankly, it’s about time that a trans actor gets cast as a trans character on an established show. It’s one thing to reserve the right to select the best actor for the role, regardless of that role; it’s another thing to never consider hiring talented trans actors at all.

So yeah, glass half full.

Oh, wait, sorry. Wrong. Check out the following quote in the TV Guide piece for more evidence that Hollywood could stand to evolve on how they even discuss the concept…

Says Hung creator Colette Burson: “The idea of kissing a man was not a comfortable one for [Thomas Jane], but he did great… They had to kiss for hours. After his initial shyness, she became a woman for him.”


Glass officially resumes half-empty status.

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  • alan Balehead

    He’s evolving give him a chance…..

  • alan Balehead

    It’s a great show..don’t boycott will evole too!!

  • ziggypop

    I bet you Jane wouldnt be happy to hear his producer put those words in his mouth. He’s played gay before and is very gay-friendly. Even if he thought of Jamie as a “man,” I dont think he’d be uncomfortable kissing her. Actors have to kiss people theyre not attracted to all the time!

  • Cam

    Good for them for casting a trans actress and not a woman or a man that they then slap some make-up on.

  • Pip

    a show about a dudes big penis that features no full frontal male nudity shouldn’t be allowed on television.

  • Steve

    I have to admit, I’m ignorant, and since we’re on the topic of trans people and identities, I suppose this as good a time as ever to set the record straight, as I’ve been curious for a while now.

    What does transgender actually mean? What does it entail? How does one know if they are transgender?

    How does the term differ from transsexual? (If they differ at all.)

    And while I think I know the difference, I just want to be sure and find out what the difference is between the terms “transgender” and “transvestite.”

    Again, I’m ignorant, so I’m taking this as a chance to learn (especially since Queerty simply shortens everything to “trans”)

  • Interesting

    @Steve: @Steve: Google is your friend.

  • Jase

    @Steve: “When a straight man puts on a dress and gets his sexual kicks, he is a transvestite. When a man is a woman trapped in a man’s body and has a little operation, he is a Transsexual. When a gay man has WAY too much fashion sense for one gender he is a drag queen. And when a tired little Latin boy puts on a dress, he is simply a boy in a dress!”

    Courtesy Noxeema Jackson, To Wong Foo

  • Drew

    I might be starting a flame war here. I hope not. I’d like to think that my opinions on the matter are somewhat middle-of-the-road (which to some, I suppose, may be a problem in and of itself).

    I’m a gay man. I support the LGB(and yes, T) community, but sometimes I think we get a bit extreme in our collective desire for political correctness. Let’s face it – all of us who fall under LGBT, or whichever acronym you choose to use, are minorities. Like any other minority – be it based on race, religion, sex, etc, we are never going to be completely understood by those outside of the group. Even from within the LGBT-umbrella, it is safe to say that L,G,B, and T do not truly understand each other, and are more than capable of offending one another from time to time. That is just how society goes. Articles like these frustrate me because the general idea seems to be to muffle any sign of progress with the bitter disappointment that things aren’t perfect. They probably never will be.

    As I approached this article I was happy to see the good news about a trans-actress being chosen for a trans-role. I continued down the article and saw the sudden change to a sarcastic criticism of some terminology. Oh, right, article written by LGBT author for LGBT audience on LGBT blog. Duh.

    I continue down to the quote and I am looking at it, and maybe I naturally overanalyze things, but from within the criticized quote I literally SAW PROGRESS HAPPENING.

    “The idea of kissing a man was not a comfortable one for [Thomas Jane], but he did great… They had to kiss for hours. After his initial shyness, she became a woman for him.”

    Frankly, as a gay man, if I went in to kiss a transman, I’d feel a bit uncomfortable with it. As much as I know it is not “politically correct” there is a part of me that acknowledges that such a man was once a woman, at least physically. Personally, based on my location on the spectrum of orientation, I would be turned off. I don’t blame a straight man for being uncomfortable with the situation. I also don’t blame him for entering the situation with the preconceived feeling that he was kissing a man. To expect anything else would be absurd. Furthermore, I’d expect a straight man to come out of the situation just as uncomfortable as he went in. Whether it is true or not, the claim is that this guy got to the point that he was OK with it. That amazes me. That would be reaching what I consider to be essentially the absolute limit of open-mindedness and understanding from a straight man.

    Plus, the quote ended with the proper pronoun. That in itself seems to me to be a pretty big deal in analyzing the status of the glass.

    More than likely nobody is going to read this comment due to the fact that it exceeds the length of the article in question. Oh well.

  • DavyJones

    @Drew: I more or less agree with you about how it would ‘feel’ to kiss a FtM, it wouldn’t be that way in an ideal world, but in the real world; it’s the truth :/

    I think another poster somewhere on Queerty said it best when they pointed out that in gaining equality, a large part of the successes for the LG movement came from the humanizing of homosexuals for straight America. Once people knew us and saw us as members of the community we started making progress much faster. The trans community really doesn’t have nearly as much of that. There are misunderstandings about trans across the map, and they are only now really starting to get any recognition at any level of the media, so to most people (even LGB people) they are still a bit ‘weird’, and that’s one of the biggest impediments to making progress for equality for the trans community.

  • Interesting

    So, I can expect the next time a straight actor expresses that he did not like kissing a man for a gay role- we will see the same responses?

    The reason why the gay community moved forward is because we did not settle for crumbs – there was point that they wouldn’t show two men kissing in the 90s. What changed that was groups like GLAAD complaining about it. American did not suddenly see the light. We pushed it on them.

  • Drew

    @DavyJones: I agree with you/the other poster 100%. This is along the lines of what I had in mind when I mentioned the lack of understanding of each other (even under the LGBT-umbrella). This point was sort of lost in my massive rant. It is likely that the trans-battle will always lag behind the LG battle until the (probably distant) day that both have been won. The fact that they are lumped into the acronym is sort of a catch-22 because while they can benefit from LG progress and make comparisons to it in their own battle, ultimately transgenderism is something much different than a sexual orientation. Eventually, if not already, we will reach a point where the LG(B?) and T battles differ so totally that the lumping will only hold transgendered people back.

    This is all a bit of a sidetrack/rant, though…the basic idea behind my original post was that the the process of progress sucks, but we can only make it worse by refusing to give the small wins recognition because, well, the big win hasn’t been accomplished yet.

  • Interesting

    Follow up: Despite what you think, most people still find our sexuality, the actual expression of it, not the political rights we should have, to be gross. You should not confuse political acceptance with social acceptance of our sex acts. The social acceptance is still a long ways away.

  • Drew

    @Interesting: From me, yes. If a straight man feels uncomfortable kissing another man, I don’t really see the issue, especially if he does it and comes out of it in the mindset that it wasn’t such a big deal. I just compare it to the initial discomfort I’d have from forced intimacy with a woman.

    Maybe my thinking is flawed by my age, naivety, and lack of presence throughout essentially all of the gay movement. I’m all for activism, and I’m all for not settling, but I’m also all for taking a moment to appreciate progress as it happens before criticizing it in the same breath.

  • Drew

    Sorry! Didn’t see this before or I would have included it in my last comment.

    @Interesting: I live in a fairly liberal area, so my idea of social acceptance is distorted by that. I’d agree that we aren’t socially accepted, but I would say we’re working towards it at a decent pace. I wouldn’t, however, include acceptance of our sex acts in with social acceptance, unless you count things like holding hands or a peck on the cheek to be sex acts. Beyond that, I don’t imagine or expect people to accept our sex acts as anything but gross. We all have things that turn us on, things we can tolerate, and things that gross us out. There are people, who, for a variety of reasons (gender included) I don’t want to see have sex, imagine have sex, or have sex with. It doesn’t mean I’m not socially accepting.

  • Laughriotgirl

    @Drew: The article from TVGuide is plainly mixed. So, yes there is progress – as this article, and every other post covering the story indicates. But, along with recognizing the good parts, it is important not to let the bad parts slide. Otherwise, no additional progress can ever be hoped for.

    In other words – if you get a bucket of crap with whipped cream on top, you got whipped cream (yay). You also got a bucket of crap.

  • Interesting

    @Drew: No, you offer a fair response. I accept that as valid so long there is no double standard, which I quite often see gay men do. I am not Trans, but I can see why a double standard would be annoying. I happen to think that an actor should not give a shit about kissing a man or trans female or whoever. Actors are not there to be themselves. They are there to be other people. So, whenever I see that, I question the actors dedication to their craft. I have gay friends who are actors. They play mostly straight parts. I have never once heard them complain about it because they are professionals and dedicated to the craft.

    @Drew: I live in NYC. About as liberal as you can get. One of the things that I lament, and that tells me that things are not as changed as we would like to believe is that most gay men (and lesbians) do not hold hands or kiss much in public. I am not saying I don’t see it sometimes. I am saying its still something that causes me to turn my head because its a rarity. So, when I speak of sex, I mean affection of any kind. I think many straights are comfortable with us neutered. I don’t think that makes all of them bad people. I just think that means that we have learned to play that role, and may be don’t notice it.

    I compare our affection in public to straights- I see straights holding hands nearly every day. Kissing nearly every day. Even in areas with a gay population. Even when I know that I am watching a gay couple on the train- they simply don’t do the same thing. Anyway, time for bed, I am done with my work and I am just procrastinating sleeping now. But, it was nice chating with someone who didn’t rant based on disagreement for once on here.

  • Drew

    @Laughriotgirl: I agree. I guess the problem is that I didn’t see so much negative in the quote so much as I saw it as a symbol of progress. You can follow the quote in a linear fashion and actually see one man’s evolution on the topic. There are certainly things to complain about, and by all means we should complain. For example, a transperson being cast in a transrole is nice, but ultimately means nothing. How about transwomen playing bio-women and transmen playing bio-men (forgive me if my terminology is off). Ultimately, I just don’t have a problem with the thing that people chose (of all things) to criticize.

    @Interesting: I have mad respect for actors who can set personal preferences aside and completely enter character. If all actors could do this, we wouldn’t have as many crappy movies and television series. I could never act (well) for this reason.

    Regarding the hand holding and kissing, I agree wholeheartedly. That is why I mentioned them. I’d say this is a fairly equal combination of society’s lack of total acceptance as well as our own (perhaps justified) fear. Goodnight and thank you as well for your insight.

  • Miss Understood

    I have known Jamie for years and believe me, there she’s no man. There is nothing even slightly masculine about her. It’s pretty bizarre that Burson, who I presume has met Jamie, would refer to her as such. If Burson would like to incorporate a transgender character into her show I suggest she learn a bit more about what it means to be transgender. You can’t write about what you don’t know.

  • Mixim

    Labels and stuff….. Biologically he’s male anyway.

  • Jeffree

    @Mixim: Nyet! How do you know what you claim? Are you a geneticist or physician? Have you conducted a clinical exam on Thomas or Jamie?

    “Biologically” doesn’t mean what you think it is.

    When you’re ready to present your credentials to determine gender to the relevant licensing board, let us know.

  • Gorski

    @Drew you said “It is likely that the trans-battle will always lag behind the LG battle until the (probably distant) day that both have been won”
    I disagree. I think that a community’s progress can only be measured by looking at the least-privileged of the group. Further, I think Dean Spade is on the right track with his theory of “trickle-up social justice”
    For your further consideration:

  • Ginasf

    I have a great respect for anyone’s right to be turned on or not turned on by anyone else (adults that is). If you don’t want to kiss any particular trans person then no problem and no explanation needed. It’s when it becomes a kind of across the board proclamation that it turns into transphobia. So for Drew, imagine you’re in a park sitting on a bench and this guy sits down on the bench next to yours. Do you fantasize about him… maybe even making out with him? Be honest. Yes, he’s trans.

    It’s when you have a kind of universal paranoia about trans people ‘not really being who they claim they are’ that you’re encountering your own transphobia.

    Who knows what Dean Spade thought because he wasn’t speaking for himself. The producer (and Jane Adams, the co-star) both made ignorant statements about Jamie… and yes, they very obviously knew who she was and what she looked like. It’s unfortunate that so many non-trans people have reactions like that when they meet “passable” trans people… ‘oh wow, you actually look attractive… oh wow, you actually look like what you claim to be.’ They make these statements to distance themselves from their own insecurities and their own need to evolve.

  • Ginasf

    correction: ‘Who knows what Dean Spade thought’… -> ‘who knows what Thomas Jane thought’

  • James

    Hung is perhaps one of the worst shows on HBO and that’s not saying much.

    They canceled excellent shows for tripe like Hung.

    The character in hung is Hetero they should have at least had him be bisexual and show full frontal male nudity.

    The idea that women would pay for a gigolo or pay an out of work coach/gym teacher for sex is laughable. There are however a lot of gay men who would pay for sex with a hustler who has these qualities.

  • Lindsay


    I myself am a trans woman and I see Drew’s point completely and I was not upset as all by what was reported. Does it suck that some people tend to see us because of our past? Yes it does, however it rocks when someone can get past our past and see us for who we are.

    As for DavyJones… you are 100% correct in your observation of how progress has been made, here is the problem however when you noted that we trans people are not as visible to the general public, and are even not always understood in the LGB. You see the problem is, even under the trans umbrella there are differences, you have Pre-op Transsexual, Post-op Transsexual, Non-op Transsexual, innersexed (many variations there), then you also have Gender Queer, and there is also Cross-dresser, transvestite. Where there are all these different groups under the umbrella, society tends to for the most part still carry the stigmas of the transvestite and then place them on transsexuals. Thing is most transsexuals simply are trying to just live their lives, and once they get to a point were they can just blend into society as any other man or woman, many of them do just that. Unlike a homosexual who their sexuality, gender identity faces a totally different issue when someone finds out a person is transgender.

    You see if someone finds out you are gay, you are still a guy in their eyes, and if you have always been a bit more butch then the stereotypes some might think of when they think gay you don’t face as much of this totally change in behavior as to how they interact with you… unless the person who finds out is homophobic. Where as a trans person most of the time the moment someone finds out that you are trans the start to interact with you differently. I can’t count how many times I have witnessed this. So I know this is a bit wordy, but I really wanted to try to explain why the visibility factor tends to be a bit more difficult when expecting more openness of trans people. Oh and plus there is the whole less numbers by far as well. Everyone knows someone who is gay or lesbian, not even uncommon to each family to have at least one person in their family, but not everyone knows personally someone who is transgender.

  • Lindsay


    Yeah not settling for crumbs is one thing, but the trans community has many times over been thrown under the bus, but man in the LGB including the very organizations that claim to support all LGBT. When the ENDA bill was being put up for consideration, the HRC removed gender identity aka the “T” from the bill so it could be passed.

  • Interesting

    @Lindsay: Which still did not pass – the reality being that divide and conquer was just that- divide and conquer.

  • Lindsay

    @Interesting: exactly, you know as much as sometimes it frustrates me that a huge portion of people can get that sexuality is different than gender, I still believe that the LGBandT should all work together. Crazy thing is I once remember being told by a Gay man that “you trans people don’t belong in our movement, you should find your own movement” this was not in the same context as one might say it in that the issues are different, but rather more in the tone that we trans people are hurting the LGB movement. It is these such mentalities that to tend to hinder progress in my opinion.

  • Eric in Chicago

    @Drew: I totally agree with you Drew.

  • Andreas Lights

    I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but Candis Cayne (born Brendan McDaniel) appeared as a recurring transexual character, Carmelita Rainer, on “Dirty Sexy Money.”

  • gregger

    @Andreas Lights: Thank you and was enjoyed by the cast. Unlike Lucy Liu.

  • Skeloric

    I think one thing that hurts the Trans movement is that at the end of the process, they become a natural part of society at least out in public.
    Unlike a same-sex couple which is “flaunting their sexuality” merely by not hiding in shame as some believe they should, the Trans individual would have to truly go to great lengths to make their nature known.
    Only in the courtrooms of America do we suddenly see the Trans issue get ruled every which way that the judge deems appropriate based upon personal bias.
    In one instance, a Trans woman was denied her marital assets after her husband’s death simply due being ruled as entering the marriage “fraudulently” by presenting her proper transitioned Female gender rather than as her “birth gender” of Male.
    Then in a completely contrary instance, one Trans person was denied Her right to identify as Transgender in an assault case in order to PROTECT HER ASSAILANTS from “Hate Crime” charges.
    Whenever the court can twist the Trans identity in order to harm the harm the Trans individual or deny rights, that seems EXACTLY what then happens.

    All of this leads to a situation so hopelessly murky that by necessity alone, the Trans movement needs to get a proper NATIONAL RULING on the correct way to identify the gender of a Trans individual as well as specific legal ramifications brought into existence by the Transition.
    Imagine if we had spent the last 30 years trying to actually determine what gender the Gays and Lesbians should be recognized as being.
    Worse, due to the amount of medical assistance and treatments involved in a Transition, one could in fact take the narrow-minded approach/agenda of pointing out how much of a “choice” there is in Transitioning.

    All-in-all, Non-Trans playing a Trans role is simply a reality for quite a few years yet.
    As a Gay man, I STILL see Straight actors play Gay roles all the time.
    Robin Williams has done so at least twice, among the many others out there.
    We should honor every step forward, not criticize it for not being leap.

  • SaintSuelle

    According to TV Guide, HBO’s Hung will expand its horizons as it enters its third season by including a storyline featuring a woman named Kyla (she’s a Wolffian Sexed Female instead of a Müllerian Sexed Female). Played by actress Jamie Clayton whose sole prior TV credit was cohosting VH1?s TRANSform Me, Kyla will have sex with Thomas Jane’s character Ray (he being a Wolffian Sexed Male).

    Frankly, it’s about time that a Wolffian Female (instead of just Müllerian Females) actor get cast as a Wolffian Female (rare) character on an established show. It’s one thing to reserve the right to select the best actor for the role, regardless of that role; it’s another thing to never consider hiring talented Wolffian Female actors at all.

    So yeah, glass half full.

    Oh, wait, sorry. Wrong. Check out the following quote in the TV Guide piece for more evidence that Hollywood could stand to evolve on how they even discuss the concept…

    Says Hung creator Colette Burson: “The idea of kissing a Wolffian Female (instead of a Müllerian Female) was not a comfortable one for [Thomas Jane], but he did great… They had to kiss for hours. After his initial shyness, she became oddly, a Müllerian Female for him.”

    THAT’S BECAUSE HE WASN’T KISSING A MAN. (Obviously, she was a FEMALE to begin with, albeit a Wolffian one, or at least a Neo-Müllerian one (if she had ‘binary conformance’ surgery)).

    Glass officially resumes half-empty status.

    that was just for posterity, if we look back from the future, it will look odd to read, hehehe…

    because we know SEX is NOT GENDER:

  • CarlIsle

    It’s always pissed me off that effeminate males are not considered “real men” by narrow minded straights, but when they comment on or write pieces about FTM transsexuals, they revel in branding them “men”.

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