Aug Sept 2016
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The Advocate

This Year's One and Only Trans Oscar Nominee Will Not Attend After Snub

AP Photo

Antony Hegarty is only the second transgender person to ever be nominated for an Oscar, but she will not be attending the ceremony after getting snubbed from the stage, according to a letter the British musician posted Thursday to the music website Pitchfork

Hegarty was nominated for her song "Manta Ray" from Racing Extinction, a documentary following environmental activists. However, she recently learned she was one of two nominees who would not be performing with the other best song nominees Sunday night.

"Eclipsing earlier notices of congratulations, now the papers were naming me as one of two artists to have been 'cut' by the Academy due to "time constraints." In the next sentence it was announced that Dave Grohl, not nominated in any category, had been added to the list of performers."

Hegarty wrote that she couldn't face attending the ceremony only to be greeted with condolences from people who might express pity:

"I imagined how it would feel for me to sit amongst all those Hollywood stars, some of the brave ones approaching me with sad faces and condolences. There I was, feeling a sting of shame that reminded me of America’s earliest affirmations of my inadequacy as a transperson. I turned around at the airport and went back home.

"As if to rub salt into the wound, the next morning the Oscars added that I was transgendered to the trivia page of their website."

Though Hegarty made it clear that gender identity was not the reason for her exclusion, she is only the second transgender person to ever be nominated for an award. Angela Morley, a transgender composer was nominated twice for music from The Little Prince (1974) and The Slipper and the Rose (1976).

"I know that I wasn’t excluded from the performance directly because I am transgendered," Hegarty wrote, "I was not invited to perform because I am relatively unknown in the U.S., singing a song about ecocide, and that might not sell advertising space. 

Hegarty wrote that she came to realize the commercial nature of the Oscars was not aligned with her personal and political beliefs and this, finally, prompted her decision not to attend.

"In the United States it is all about money: those who have it and those who don't. Identity politics are often used as a smokescreen to distract us from this viral culture of wealth extraction. When we are not extracting wealth from nature, we are extracting it from the working and middle classes.

"So I have decided not to attend the Academy Awards this election year. I will not be lulled into submission with a few more well manufactured, feel-good ballads and a bit of good old fashioned T. and A. They are going to try to convince us that they have our best interests at heart by waving flags for identity politics and fake moral issues. But don't forget that many of these celebrities are the trophies of billionaire corporations whose only intention it is to manipulate you into giving them your consent and the last of your money. They have been paid to do a little tap dance to occupy you while Rome burns."

Hegarty wrote that she wanted to maximize her usefulness "and advocate for the preservation of biodiversity and the pursuit of human decency within my sphere of influence." 

Hegarty released her fifth album, Hopelessness, one year ago. It was her first album under her new project name, Anohni, according to her Facebook page

Watch a video for her Oscar nominated song Manta Ray below.

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