Anohni, Antony Hegarty, Best Song, singer, musician, trans, transgender, Oscar, Academy Awards
Anohni, Antony Hegarty, Best Song, singer, musician, trans, transgender, Oscar, Academy Awards

Transgender Nominee Slams Oscars For Transphobia, Irrelevance

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.

Everyone told me that I still ought to attend, that a walk down the red carpet would still be “good for my career.”

Last night I tried to force myself to get on the plane to fly to L.A. 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.

I want to be clear — I know that I wasn’t excluded from the performance directly because I am transgendered. 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.

— Trans Oscar-nominee Anohni (formerly known as Antony Hegarty or Antony), explaining her decision not to attend this year’s Academy Awards. She was nominated for Best Song for her J. Ralph collaboration “Manta Ray,” from the endangered species documentary Racing Excinction. Later in her explanation, Anohni calls the Oscars a corporate tap dance meant to distract us from ecological devastation and war profiteering.

Anohni is one of three queers up for a Best Song award this year, the other two being bisexual pop diva Lady Gaga and gay singer Sam Smith. Anohni is the second trans person ever to be nominated for an Oscar; no LGBT people have ever won an Academy Award for acting.