Mya Taylor is now the first transgender person to win a major film award.
Taylor was awarded Best Supporting Actress for her role in indie hit Tangerine at the 2016 Independent Spirit Awards, a ceremony celebrating exclusively independent films. In Tangerine, Taylor plays a sex worker who gets wrapped up in a whole lot of revenge drama with her friend, Sin-Dee Rella (who is also played by a trans actress, Kitana Kiki Rodriguez). Taylor and Rodriguez worked closely with director Sean Baker to keep the film “funny, intimate, and real”, not just a mockery of trans women.
“What I want to leave with you all today is: there is transgender talent,” Taylor said in her touching acceptance speech. “There’s very beautiful transgender talent, so you’d better get out there and put it in your next movie.”
It is huge for any transgender person to win an important film award, but the fact that Taylor is a black trans woman (trans women made of color made up 90% of trans hate crime victims in 2013) is monumental. My biggest congratulations go out to Taylor, and I can’t wait to watch her as transgender icon Marsha P. Johnson in her next film, Happy Birthday Marsha!