Jeffrey Tambor’s Emmy is a victory for all transgender people

By Jillian Page
LGBT Perspectives editor

QUEBEC — I got choked up when Jeffrey Tambor said the above words last night. The tears started to well up in my eyes, but I had to stifle them because I was at work in the Montreal Gazette newsroom, where I am an editor.

We have several big-screen TVs, usually tuned in to various news outlets. Last night, we were monitoring the Emmys as well as a Quebec TV awards show. There were only a few of us — I was handling online duties and putting up articles about the Emmys show, among many other things.

But when Jeffrey won an Emmy for his role as a trans woman in Transparent — after director Jill Soloway won for the series — I got out of my chair and stood by the TV to listen to what he had to say. And when he thanked the transgender community, well, see my lede. I knew, though, that if I — a jaded journalist — was touched by his short speech, a lot of other trans women probably were touched by it, too.

There, I just did something I don’t often do. Did you notice it? If not, I’ll explain — a bit later here.

Reporting duties first, as always.

I looked in on Twitter and Facebook and, yes, I was right. Trans people were celebrating Jeffrey’s victory. Some said his little speech brought tears to their eyes. Some said they cried.

There was no doubt in my mind: Jeffrey’s victory was a victory for all transgender people. It was an affirmation for trans people, for every one of us.

There, I did it again. Did you notice? I’ll explain, sort of.

To be truthful, I haven’t watched any Transparent episodes, and I doubt that I will — for two reasons. It’s an online series, and I have a limited number of gigabytes in my monthly plan. Watching TV shows online would just eat up too much of my precious online allowance. I need it so that I can do research and write in forums like this one.

Yes, duty first, objectively speaking. And objectivity is the name of the game in my life.

But the other reason, the secondary reason, I won’t be watching Transparent is . . . well, this is something I don’t talk about anymore, because I did so for a long time in my old Gazette blog, until there was nothing more to say.

You see, I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I don’t need to watch a show about an older person gender transitioning. It’s all so much yadda yadda for me. It’s ancient history.

True, instead of riding off into the sunset like so many other transitioned women do and put LGBT issues behind me, I did choose to hang around and take up the cause of LGBT rights — objectively speaking, of course. It is not a personal battle for me, because I have the same rights all other women in Canada have. I am accepted by colleagues, friends and family. I don’t even think of myself as a transgender person anymore.

But there I was last night, all choked up . . .

Funny, eh?

But you know, we journalists mustn’t cry . . . at least, not in front of anybody.


2 thoughts on “Jeffrey Tambor’s Emmy is a victory for all transgender people”

  1. I also teared up watching the last bit of Tambor’s speech and it really surprised me—I thought I was immune to that sort of thing. It was very touching.

    As for not watching the series because you’ve “been there, done that”, I would urge you to reconsider. Even apart from the transgender issue, “Transparent” is a wonderful series that illustrates dysfunctional family dynamics in a way that is both funny and also very raw. And there are tons of references to American Jewish culture, which (because of my background) I found added tremendously to the show. Finally, the series is superbly written and acted.


  2. I am glad you stuck around and continue to bring your perspective to the Trans Community. We need your well considered, thoughtful points of view expressed in the media. Even though there has been a huge amount of information about Trans People in the media, we still need spokespeople who can present those facts intelligently. You are one of them. Keep up the good work.


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