Sean Baker’s Tangerine was one of the most groundbreaking films of 2015. While there were many movies that approached stories about identity, specifically in the transgender community, none of the mainstream flicks cast transgender actors or actresses. Despite this lack of inclusion, Eddie Redmayne has been nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Oscars, for his role as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl. Evidently, the Independent Spirit Awards recognized the significance of Tangerine casting transgender actresses to play the parts of transgender sex workers by nominating Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor for Best Actress and Best Supporting Female, respectively.
Last night at the ceremony, Taylor was awarded Best Supporting Female. This is truly a historic moment, and Taylor’s closing statement of her acceptance speech sums up the significance: “What I want to leave with you guys today is: There is transgender talent. There is very beautiful transgender talent, so you better get out there and put it in your next movie.”
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—representation matters. Watch Taylor’s powerful acceptance speech in the video, below.