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LGBTQ+ associations file complaint against Marion Maréchal for transphobic slurs over Cannes win

LGBTQ+ associations file complaint against Marion Maréchal for transphobic slurs over Karla Sofía Gascón's Cannes win
LGBTQ+ associations file complaint against Marion Maréchal for transphobic slurs over Karla Sofía Gascón's Cannes win Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By David Mouriquand
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French far-right politician Marion Maréchal has commented on the Cannes win of transgender actress Karla Sofía Gascón. Now, six LGBTQ+ associations have filed an official complaint against the politician standing in the European elections.

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When the Cannes Film Festival made history last Saturday by awarding the Best Actress prize to the ensemble cast of French director Jacques Audiard’s film Emilia Pérez, a cast which includes transgender actress Karla Sofía Gascón, one voice felt it had to make itself heard.

French far-right politician Marion Maréchal, the head of France’s Reconquête! party list for the European elections, made comments about Karla Sofía Gascón.

She wrote on X: “So it's a man who is receiving the prize for... female interpretation at Cannes. Progress for the left is the erasure of women and mothers.”

Now, six associations - Mousse, Stop Homophobie, Familles LGBT, Adheos, Quazar and Fédération LBGTI + - have filed a complaint against Maréchal for her “transphobic insult.”

“Marion Maréchal's comments deny the very existence of transgender people, as well as the violence and discrimination they suffer on a daily basis,” said Etienne Deshoulières, the lawyer for the six associations.

The Stop Homophobie association deplored that “this illegal behaviour reinforces the climate of violence in which LGBT+ people live in France”.

According to the associations that filed the complaint against Maréchal, “85% of transgender people have already been victims of discrimination, hate speech or physical or verbal violence” in France.

In 2023, 2,870 crimes or offences (assaults, threats, harassment) against lesbian, gay, bi and trans people were recorded, a jump of 19% compared to 2022, a year already marked by a 13% increase, according to a study by the Ministry of the Interior's statistics department published in mid-May.

Karla Sofia Gascon, winner of the award for Best Actress for 'Emilia Perez'
Karla Sofia Gascon, winner of the award for Best Actress for 'Emilia Perez'Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

Spanish-born Karla Sofía Gascón, along with American actresses Selena Gomez and Zoe Saldaña and Mexican actress Adriana Paz, received the joint Best Actress award. The jury explained the ensemble award as being a way to reflect what the film sets out to do: celebrate sisterhood.

Gascón, 52, is the first transgender woman to receive this award at Cannes. The actress changed gender at the age of 46.

She plays the title role, a ruthless Mexican drug lord who decides to transition and become a woman.

In our review of the film, we said: “The show belongs to Spanish transgender actress, Karla Sofía Gascón, who plays both Manitas and Emilia. She nails the “born in a pigsty” toxic masculinity of the man who believes a gender reset will offer up redemption, and excels as the touching but tough Emilia, who actively attempts to undo some of the wrongs she was responsible for by creating an NGO to help people find the whereabouts of their kidnapped loved ones. There’s power, pathos and earnestness seeping through every moment of Gascón’s performance, and the double-act she and Saldaña go on to form post-surgery is magnetic to watch.”

Karla Sofia Gascon accepts the award for Best Actress for 'Emilia Perez'
Karla Sofia Gascon accepts the award for Best Actress for 'Emilia Perez'Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP

The actress had clearly anticipated the kind of criticism Maréchal has displayed in her speech at the award ceremony. Gascón dedicated her prize to “all transgender people who suffer.”

“Tomorrow, there will be plenty of comments from terrible people saying the same things about all of us trans people,” she said. “But I want to end with a message of hope. To all of them, like Emilia Perez, we all have the opportunity to change for the better, to become better people.”

She capped it off with a message to her detractors: “Let's see if you bastards change.”

Click here for the main talking points of this year's 77th Cannes Film Festival.

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