One of the biggest winners at the 2015 Emmys was Transparent, Amazon’s trailblazing series about a transgender woman’s late-in-life transition.
The show’s creator Jill Soloway, took home the Emmy for directing the episode “Best New Girl,” and star Jeffrey Tambor followed up his Golden Globe win with an Emmy victory for lead actor in a comedy for playing the show’s brave lead, Maura Pfefferman.
Both delivered speeches from the heart: Soloway thanked her goddess and encouraged viewers to visit transequality.com to express their support; Tambor stressed the importance of the win for the transgender community, to whom he dedicated the award multiple times.
Backstage in the press room, Soloway and Tambor continued their earnest speeches. Soloway pushed for more transgender, queer, female and ethnic representation in front of and behind the camera. “The more I direct, the more I recognize that directing is kind of litigating for the way I see the world, and straight white men have had their hands on protagonism and the camera for far too long,” said Soloway.
When asked about the future of the transgender movement, Soloway recalled her speech, where she acknowledged that in 32 states, discrimination against transgender individuals still exists and goes unquestioned. “People talk about the transgender tipping point, but we’re in such early days in the trans civil rights movement,” Soloway urged. “I think if people in America really understood that that’s the situation for trans folks, they’d work harder to change that.”
RELATED VIDEO: EW critics discuss the 2015 Emmy nominations
Shortly after Soloway’s visit backstage, Tambor took his turn in the press room to talk about the privilege of playing Maura, whom he called a “71-year-old teenager.”
“What I said in the speech is from my heart. It’s a huge responsibility because you want to do it right, and lives are at stake,” said Tambor. “I know we are in the comedy category but I do believe with our stories and our humor, we’re moving the whole question forward… I always thought acting was this. I always thought there was teaching in the laughs and in the humor, and with the laughter and with real humor you can kill prejudice and keep it far away.”
“I’m not shy or bashful about holding this up because this is bigger than me,” Tambor continued. “It represents what Amazon has done and what the transgender community is doing and what our show is about, and we are the little engine that could so I hope more people watch it and get to experience this revolution.”