The ‘Transparent’ Crew Lovingly Dedicated Their Emmy Wins To The Transgender Community
"When you act, you have to act as if your life depends on it, and now I’ve been given the opportunity to act because people’s lives depend on it."
This year’s Emmys have just finished up in the US, and Transparent had a pretty great night. Though it lost out to Veep for both the Outstanding Comedy and Outstanding Writing awards, it took out two of its five nominated categories in an undeniably tough field. Jill Soloway was lauded as best director against Louis CK and friends and, at 71, Jeffrey Tambor become the oldest person to be awarded Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series in Emmys history.
With its first season finishing up at the end of last year, this recognition isn’t too surprising. The show’s tender, earnest and funny portrayal of a middle-aged trans woman coming out to her family has already attracted nods from the Golden Globes, the Writers Guild of America, GLAAD, and the Critics’ Choice Awards. But despite this, the show’s actors and showrunners were as humble as ever, solemnly dedicating their awards to the transgender community.
“I had a teacher who used to say, you know, ‘When you act, you have to act as if your life depends on it’,” Tambor said, visibly emotional. “And now I’ve been given the opportunity to act because people’s lives depend on it.”
After thanking all the usual people including a heartfelt shoutout to Soloway for giving him “the privilege and the responsibility of [playing] Maura Pfefferman from the Pacific Palisades”, he closed with an even stronger message.
“I’m going to wrap up by saying, not to repeat myself, but to specifically repeat myself: I’d like to dedicate my performance and this award to the transgender community. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your stories. Thank you for our inspiration. Thank you for letting us be part of the change. God bless.”
Jill Soloway was even more pointed in her acceptance speech which came right before Tambor’s. Speaking of her own “Moppa” who served as inspiration when writing Tambor’s character, she pointed out the ongoing institutional injustice for those in the trans community and urgently directed people towards a social advocacy organisation that is fighting current discriminatory legislation.
“[My trans mother] could go out tomorrow and try to find an apartment, and in 32 states it would be legal for a landlord to look her in the eye and say, ‘We don’t rent to trans people’,” she said. “We don’t have a trans tipping point yet, we have a trans civil rights problem.”
With the upcoming release of a number of controversial films about LGBT experiences, there’s much debate going around at the moment about the involvement of cis-gendered people in trans stories such as this. It’s something Tambor’s definitely been criticised for and is regularly open to discussing. But between today’s sentiments, and the proud and deliberate diversity of their wider crew, Transparent at least has its heart in the right place.
If you want to read more about this, one of our trans writers spoke with Jeffrey Tambor earlier this year.