2015 Primetime EmmysOpinionTV

Trans Representation Honored On Television with “Transparent” Emmy Wins

Shannon Mullins ‘19/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Transparent star, Jeffrey Tambor, won his first Primetime Emmy Award for his character Maura Pfefferman. Jeffrey Tambor is the first actor to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series playing a transgender character. He is also the oldest actor to win an Emmy in the Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series category (at age 71).

Upon winning this award, Tambor emotionally dedicated his award to the transgender community, saying, “Thank you for letting us be a part of the change.” Earlier in the show, Transparent’s Jill Soloway won for Best Directing for a Comedy. She used her acceptance speech as a call to action, and told a story about her father, using the Transparent nickname “Moppa” she conceived when her father transitioned to become a woman. Solloway said, “Something interesting about my Moppa. She could, tomorrow, go and try to find an apartment and in 32 states it would be legal for the landlord to say, ‘We don’t rent to trans people.’ We don’t have a trans tipping point yet; we have a trans civil rights problem. So go to transequality.org to pass the trans equality bill.”

Transparent tells the story of a father, played by Jeffrey Tambor, who comes out as transgender to his Los Angeles family. It holds an approval rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and been named by HitFix as Amazon’s “most impressive volley yet.” The series also won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series in a Musical or Comedy. Solloway and crew believe Transparent is more than just a form of entertainment. They feel it is part of a civil rights movement. “It’s time for women and queer people to get a hold of protagonism.”

This era has brought viewers the serious portrayals that transgender people deserve. Laverne Cox made history last year when she became the first-ever Primetime Emmy nominated transgender actress for Orange is the New Black, a critically acclaimed Netflix Original television series. An outspoken LGBT rights activist, Laverne Cox is also the first transgender person to appear on the cover of Time Magazine. Since Caitlyn Jenner’s appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair, she has received the Arthur Ashe Courage award and currently stars on her reality TV show, I Am Cait, which premiered on E! in July 2015 to an audience of 2.7 million viewers.

Trans representation in television and film has become more of a norm than ever before. Barriers are being broken for the first time ever with shows including Transparent, I Am Cait, Orange is the New Black, and more. America is beginning to not only recognize but also support and embrace the transgender community, and tonight the Primetime Emmy Awards show has been clear representation of this progressive era.


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