Last night, “Transparent” director Jill Soloway and star Jeffrey Tambor won awards for best episode directing and best comedic acting, respectively, and they used their acceptance speeches as opportunities to pay tribute to the transgender community.
Amazon's “Transparent” centers around the experiences of Maura (born Mort) Pfefferman, a parent of three and grandparent who comes out as transgender. And as many Emmy voters learned last night, the story is based, in part, on the experience of Soloway, whose own transgender parent she, like the kids on the show, refers to as “Moppa.”
"My moppa, Carrie, she could, tomorrow, go and try to find an apartment and in 32 states, and it would be legal for the landlord to look her in the eye and say we don't rent to trans people," Soloway said, upon receiving her award for directing “Transparent’s” "Best New Girl" episode. "We don't have a trans tipping point yet. We have a trans civil rights problem. So go transequality.org to pass the trans equality bill."
Tambor, meanwhile, who has been criticized for being a cisgender actor playing a transgender character, took time to thank the trans community for their patience and their inspiration. “I’d like to dedicate my performance and this award to the transgender community,” said Tambor. “Thank you for your patience, thank you for your courage, thank you for your stories, thank you for your inspiration, thank you for letting us be part of the change. God bless you.”
This has been a groundbreaking year for depictions of trans characters onscreen, from Caitlyn Jenner’s E! docuseries “I Am Cait” to major films like Eddie Redmayne’s forthcoming “Danish Girl” and Elle Fanning’s “About Ray.” But “Transparent” is one of the most sensitive and powerful depictions of trans life onscreen right now, and it was a thrill to see the show honored — and to see Soloway and Tambor make good use of their platform.