Emmys 2016: A Huge Night for Queer Women

A hulking rainbow shimmered over Downtown Los Angeles last night after queer women swept the 2016 Emmy awards. Whether they were presenting, nominated for or taking home an award, one thing remained clear: the night of the 2016 Emmys belonged to queer women.

Kate McKinnon kicked off the streak, winning Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Saturday Night Live. In a stunning red dress and matching rose lipstick, the out lesbian comedian thanked Ellen DeGeneres and Hillary Clinton in her emotional acceptance speech. This was McKinnon’s fourth nomination for Saturday Night Live and her first win. Plus, Hillary was proud too.

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In a back-to-back queer win, the next award went to Jill Soloway for Best Directing for a Comedy Series (Transparent), her second win in the category. Soloway wooed the crowd with her acceptance speech, affirming, “This TV show allows me to take my dreams about unlikable Jewish people, queer folk, trans folk, and make them heroes. Thank you to the trans community for your lived lives.” Just before exiting the stage, clutching her golden trophy tight, Jill cheerily quipped, “Topple the patriarchy!”

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Soon after, Jeffrey Tambor took home his second award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his portrayal of Maura Pfefferman inTransparent. Although Tambor does not identify as queer, his portrayal of a transgender woman is worth an honorary mention. Tambor has received generally negative feedback from the trans community, as he is a cisgender male who plays a transgender woman. However, he did the community justice in his acceptance speech, demanding Hollywood give transgender talent a chance: “I would very much like to be the last cisgender male playing a transgender female.”

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Laverne Cox later presented the award for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series and echoed this sentiment.

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Up next was the beloved Sarah Paulson, who snagged her first ever Emmy award for Lead Actress in a Limited Series for People Vs. OJ Simpson. An out queer actress, Paulson made sure to thank her girlfriend before jetting off stage: “Holland Taylor, I love you.” Holland was quick to return the favor on Twitter. She graciously let Marcia Clark, who also got a thank you and an apology from the stage, take her place as Sarah’s date.

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Sarah Paulson also took the stage with the cast and crew of American Crime Story for their Best Limited Series win. Out EP Nina Jacobson attempted to thank her wife, Jen, before they cut to commercial.

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Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany won her first Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama Series. Maslany plays both a lesbian character, Cosima, and a trans character, Tony, on Orphan Black. She graciously accepted her award, saying, “I feel so lucky to be on a show that puts women at the center.” Us too, Tatiana. Us too.

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Clea DuVall joined her VEEP castmates for a Best Comedy Series win alongside Anna Chlumsky and Best Actress in a Comedy Series Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

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Last night was a major win for the queer community, in addition to last week’s big Creative Emmys wins for Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos behind the Netflix series Making a Murderer, and nominations for Her Story and GaycationWe can only hope to continue the trend, receiving even more representation in television characters and giving LGBT actors the fair and equal opportunities that they deserve. Nice work, ladies!