Transparent wins Golden Globe for Best TV Comedy

It was a great night for LGBT-inclusive television last night when the groundbreaking series Transparent won the Golden Globe award for Best TV Comedy or Musical.  Accepting the award from the stage and surrounded by the cast, creator Jill Soloway dedicated the moment to transgender teen Leelah Alcorn, whose recent death and social media messages have gained national media attention.

One of the first original series from online content provider Amazon, Transparent tells the story of a trans woman coming out to her family late in life.  For his role as Maura, Jeffrey Tambor also took home the award for Lead Actor – TV Comedy.  The series also includes several other lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters, including a few played by trans actors such as Alexandra Billings and Ian Harvie.  Though the show has already proven a hit and been greenlit for a second season at Amazon, last night's win for best series will undoubtedly prompt an even wider audience to seek it out.

Transparent wasn't the only high profile LGBT-nominee of the evening however.  As you can read in our previous post, a number of other inclusive-films and shows were nominated, including Pride, The Imitation Game, The Normal Heart, Orange is the New Black, and Game of Thrones.  For his role as a gay man dying of AIDS in The Normal Heart, out actor Matt Bomer won the award for best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries, or TV movie.

Of the great showing by LGBT-inclusive nominees and winners at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis tweeted that "Tonight equality took another step forward."

LGBT inclusive programs like Modern Family or Glee have grown increasingly more mainstream in recent years, and consequently become a common presence at award shows like the Golden Globes or the Emmys.  Yet there is also something uniquely special about the LGBT-inclusive nominees and winners from last night's telecast.  Not only are they remarkable films, The Normal Heart, Pride, and The Imitation Game also convey important chapters in our community's history to mainstream audiences with truly moving stories of resilience and unity in the face of injustice, and the publicity from award shows help bring them to new audiences. However, the win for Transparent may have an even greater effect.

As GLAAD's own TV and film reports have found, transgender representation in the media has remained incredibly rare until a few prominent supporting characters finally started appearing in recent years, such as Laverne Cox's Sophia on Orange is the New Black. With Transparent though, transgender stories are finally the main event.  Not only does it give the stories of Maura, Dale, Davina, and others great depth and nuance, the show's skill and humor makes them compulsively watchable.  And with last night's Golden Globe wins, they will be seen by audiences who might not have been inspired to do so otherwise.  Studies have shown that the general population is far more likely to know someone who is openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual than they are someone who is openly transgender, which can have a profound effect on whether or not they support the transgender community and issues.  Shows like Transparent can help bridge that gap, and put a human face on issues like anti-discrimination laws.  Now it looks set to do just that for quite some time.