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The First Trans Person Nominated For An Oscar Is Boycotting The Ceremony

by Rob Smith February 28, 2016



Lady Gaga might be winning an Oscar this weekend, but the first ever transgender Academy Award nominee certainly won’t be attending.

Singer Anohni, formerly referred to as Antony Hegarty, is nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar for her song Manta Ray, and she’s boycotting the ceremony after her mistreatment by the ceremony’s organizers.

After her nomination, she flew back from Asia to prepare a performance in case the nominees were asked to perform. Sadly, Anohni wasn’t asked to perform, while more famous nominees like Sam Smith, Gaga, and The Weeknd were. In a statement, she says she thought that people would reach out, but nobody did:

“Confused, I sat and waited. Would someone be in touch? But as time bore on I heard nothing. I slowly realized that the positive implication of this nomination was being retracted. The producers seemed to have decided to stage performances only by the singers who were deemed commercially viable.”

To add insult to injury, a more famous non-nominee was added to the ceremony:

“…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.”

The final humiliation? When her gender identity was added to the Oscar website as “trivia”:

“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.”

All set to at least attend, she realized she couldn’t do it:

“Last night I tried to force myself to get on the plane to fly to LA for all the nominee events, but the feelings of embarrassment and anger knocked me back, and I couldn’t get on the plane. 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.”

Anohni says she realizes her exclusion is based more on her lack of name recognition in the United States than her gender identity, but it’s just one more humiliation in a system that makes life harder for trans people:

“It is a system of social oppression and diminished opportunities for transpeople that has been employed by capitalism in the US to crush our dreams and our collective spirit.”

Her entire statement is here and well worth a read. Check it out, and listen to the haunting, moody track below.


Rob Smith
Rob Smith


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