Jeffrey Tambor took home his second consecutive Emmy Sunday night for playing transgender woman Maura Pfefferman in Transparent but he said we wouldn't mind being the last cisgender (nontrans) man to be cast as a trans woman.
"To you people out there, you producers and network owners, and agents, and you creative sparks, please give transgender talent a chance," Tambor said in accepting the award for best lead actor in a comedy. "Give them auditions. Give them their story. Do that. And also, one more thing: I would not be unhappy were I the last cisgender male to play a female transgender on television."
Tambor had earlier thanked the transgender people who had served as his "teachers" for the role, including Van Barnes, Rhys Ernst, Zachary Drucker, and Jenny Boylan.
Tambor expanded on his comments backstage, the Los Angeles Times reports."It would be one thing if trans people had told their stories for hundreds of years," he said, "but they haven’t. It’s really a problem. It's time to hand out the keys to the kingdom and open the gates."
Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox, one of the most successful trans performers, made a similar point when she presented the award for direction of a variety special. “Give trans talent a shot,” she said. “I would not be here today if somebody didn’t give me a chance.”
Also notable at the Emmys were wins for several out lesbians. Sarah Paulson won outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie for playing prosecutor Marcia Clark in American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson; the real Clark accompanied her to the ceremony. Paulson also gave a shout-out to her partner, Holland Taylor, in accepting. "Holland Taylor, I love you," she said. Producer Nina Jacobson shared in the show's win for outstanding limited series. Jill Soloway won the award for best direction of a comedy, for Transparent, and made a call to "topple the patriarchy." And Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon received the award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy, thanking Hillary Clinton and Ellen DeGeneres, both of whom she has portrayed.
Watch Tambor's speech below, courtesy of Slate.