Transphobia is alive in Hollywood: Just look at the Emmy nominees
Diversity in Hollywood hasn’t been solved yet our dear audience. That you can tell just based on this year’s Emmy nominations. The 2020 Emmy Awards are still set to go forward on September 20th, whether in person or not, we don’t know yet. But when they do happen, you’ll be lucky to see any trans people at the show, let alone winning awards.
Laverne Cox made history in 2014 as the first trans person to be nominated in any acting category at the Emmys. In 2020, she’s still the only trans person in the main acting categories to score a nomination, when both Pose and Euphoria offered up great performances from trans actors.
Trans people and award shows
Of course, this is far from the first time award shows have been transphobic. Just look at all the love cis actors get for playing trans actors, like Jeffrey Tambour’s numerous nominations for Transparent or Eddie Redmayne’s Oscar nomination for The Danish Girl.
Not to mention the Academy ignoring films like Tangerine, a film full of trans characters, speaks just at loud, as well as Pose being snubbed in the Best Drama category this year. But the truth is, the Academy is just reflecting the rest of Hollywood, and when Hollywood isn’t casting trans people, it’s impossible to give them awards.
A lack of talent
The conversation has happened time and time again: Should cis actors play trans roles? Unfortunately, while many people agree trans people should play trans characters, those in charge of casting apparently don’t, and continue to cast cis actors. Most recently, Scarlett Johansson was cast as Dante “Tex” Gill, but dropped out due to backlash.
On top of that, people feel like trans people have to be cast as trans characters, instead of casting them as normal roles. So that shortens the list of roles trans characters can be cast in the first place, to begin with.
This is why Pose and Euphoria are a big deal: it helps to humanize trans people and help bigots see these actors and actresses as regular people. On top of that, it shows that normal shows can have a “token trans character” that has a bigger personality past just being trans.
“I feel there is nothing we can do.”
Rightfully so, the women of Pose are speaking out about the transphobia of the Television Academy with this year’s nominations. Indya Moore, who plays Angel, spoke out on Twitter about the nominations saying “Something about trans people not being honoured on a show about trans people who created a culture to honour ourselves because the world doesn’t.”
Someone mentioned that the nominations are usually based on name value, but Moore responded saying FX intentionally silences her and her fellow co-stars. “Most of us have never been on any talk shows except MJ, here and there. And they still ignored her work. ‘they’ Dont trust us on live TV. Esp. Me lol.”
Meanwhile, on Instagram, Angelica Ross, who plays Candy, spoke to fans in a tearful IG Live. “Ultimately, I need y’all to understand that I’m so tired – those of you who know me know I’m not just working on screen or behind the screen but I’m working around the clock to get our society to value trans lives and Black trans lives.”
Ross continued on, saying “I feel what I feel because I feel there is nothing we can do.” Neither Billy Porter nor MJ Rodriguez commented on the controversy.
Where do we go?
It’s important to remember the Pose ladies weren’t the only trans actors snubbed this year. Hunter Schafer of Euphoria, Jen Richards of Tales of the City, Theo Germaine of Work in Progress, Leo Sheng of The L Word: Generation Q, and Shakina Nayfack of Transparent Musicale Finale were all snubbed.
But at the same time, it’s great that Laverne Cox continues her streak of nominations for Orange is the New Black even in its final season, and Rain Valdez of Razor Tongue also scored a nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama. The Television Academy has a chance to rectify itself in future years, and we hope they do so.