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Trans actress Karla Sofía Gascón sues French far-right politician after transphobic remark

Trans actress Karla Sofía Gascón sues French far-right politician after transphobic remark
Trans actress Karla Sofía Gascón sues French far-right politician after transphobic remark Copyright Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP
Copyright Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP
By David Mouriquand
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The actress, who became the first transgender woman to win the Best Actress prize at Cannes, dedicated her award to “all the trans people who are suffering”. Following hateful comments made by Marion Maréchal, Gascón is now suing the French far-right politician.

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Karla Sofía Gascón, the breakout star of Cannes-favourite Emilia Pérez who won the Best Actress prize alongside Zoe Saldaña, Selena Gomez and Adriana Paz, has filed a complaint against French far-right politician Marion Maréchal.

The charges come after Maréchal, the head of France’s Reconquête! party list for the European elections, wrote on X in reference to Gascón’s win that “it is therefore a man who receives in Cannes the prize for… best actress. The progress for the left wing is the erasing of women and mothers.”

The hateful social post sparked outrage within the LGBTQ community, leading six LGBTQ groups to file a complaint earlier this week for “transphobic insult.”  

Now, Gascón’s lawyer Etienne Deshoulières confirmed Gascón had filed a legal complaint for “sexist insult on the basis of gender identity”.

Maréchal, 34, could be sentenced to a one-year imprisonment and fined €30,000 if she’s found guilty of transphobic insult; alternatively, she could be fined €3,750 if she’s charged with “sexist insult due to one’s gender identity.”

In an interview with Radio France Internationale, Maréchal responded to the legal complaint, saying: “I will not be prevented from continuing to say what is the truth. Being a woman or a man is a biological reality, whether you like it or not. The XX or XY chromosomes cannot be surpassed.”

Gascon and director Jacques Audiard in Cannes celebrating their double win for 'Emilia Perez'
Gascon and director Jacques Audiard in Cannes celebrating their double win for 'Emilia Perez'Scott A Garfitt/ Invision/ AP

Upon winning the joint Best Actress prize at Cannes, Gascón delivered a tearful speech and dedicated it to all trans people “who suffer and must keep faith that changing is possible.”

She became the first transgender woman to be awarded the Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and had clearly anticipated the kind of criticism Maréchal has displayed in her speech at the award ceremony.

“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.”

Gascon accepting the Best Actress award in Cannes
Gascon accepting the Best Actress award in CannesAndreea Alexandru/ Invision/ AP

In Jacques Audiard’s Mexico-set musical Emilia Pérez, the 52-year-old Spanish actress – who lived as a man until she was 46 – plays a Mexican cartel boss both before and after gender reassignment surgery. The movie won two prizes at Cannes – the ensemble female acting prize and the Jury Prize.

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.”

Emilia Pérez premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in Competition and has been acquired by Netflix for the US and the UK.

Additional sources • RFI

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