While there was still plenty of the “ol’ white men making jokes about diversity” schtick at the Emmys this year, there were at least some glimmers of hope for the future of Hollywood when it comes to queer representation in front of and behind the camera. Four queer women took home Emmys, which was a record in and of itself. Mashable broke down the four wins and what they mean for queer women. In the words of Jill Soloway: “Topple the patriarchy.”
Queer women won big at the Emmys, and queer women on the internet rejoiced—including Holland Taylor. Though she couldn’t be at the ceremony, Taylor was very vocal about her love and support for her girlfriend Sarah Paulson, who finally won her first Emmy after several years of nominations. Paulson won for her portrayal of Marcia Clark in The People V. O.J. Simpson, and Clark was actually her date for the evening. In addition to apologizing to Clark on the behalf of the entire nation, Paulson also made sure to give Taylor a loving shout-out at the end of her acceptance speech. It may seem small, but a queer woman winning an Emmy and then acknowledging her relationship normalizes queer relationships and queer love in a profound way. Brangelina may be over as of today, but Paulson and Taylor are proof that love is alive and well in the land of celebrity coupledom. (Reminder: They literally started dating after sliding into each other’s DMs.)
Meanwhile, Kate McKinnon, who has been openly gay for the entirety of her career, won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy for her killer work on Saturday Night Live, where she does impressions of Hillary Clinton and Ellen Degeneres (both of whom she thanked in her speech). The People V. O.J. Simpson producer Nina Jacobson also took home an Emmy, but she was unfortunately cut off by the cruel mic-silencing overlords when she tried to squeeze in a thank you to her wife. And Jill Soloway, whose “topple the patriarchy” mini-chant should be the theme of every award show for the rest of history, also won an Emmy for directing Transparent’s “Man On The Land.” She centered queer women and trans people in her acceptance speech: “When you take women, people of color, trans people, queer people, and you put them at the center of the story, the subjects instead of the objects, you change the world, we found out,” Soloway said. “This TV show allows me to take my dreams about unlikeable Jewish people, queer folk, trans folk, and make them the heroes.”
But there is still a long way to go for trans representation at awards shows. While both Soloway and Jeffrey Tambor centered trans people in their speeches, both are cisgendered. Laverne Cox, who presented an award, called on Hollywood to hire more trans talent. As Jen Richards—the star and co-writer of the Emmy-nominated webseries Her Story—put it, Tambor’s speech calling for an end to cis males playing trans women was a remarkable moment, but that’s only the beginning.
Cameron Esposito also followed her celebration of the night’s wins for queer women with a call for more change:
Four queer women won Emmys this week, but it’s not just the number that matters, and Hollywood is still a vastly white and heteronormative institution. “Representation is more than just a numbers game: the storytellers and the stories they create, and are part of, matter just as much,” Heather Dockray writes in the Mashable piece. Read the full story here.