Cannes winner Karla Sofía Gascón faces transphobic insults from far-right French politician

Maréchal-Le Pen, currently campaigning for the European Parliament elections as the leader of the far-right party Reconquête!

Updated - May 29, 2024 02:54 pm IST

Published - May 29, 2024 02:29 pm IST

Karla Sofía Gascón poses with the Best Actress Award for ‘Emilia Perez’ during the Palme D’Or Winners Photocall at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival

Karla Sofía Gascón poses with the Best Actress Award for ‘Emilia Perez’ during the Palme D’Or Winners Photocall at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival | Photo Credit: Getty Images

French queer organizations have filed a complaint against far-right politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, accusing her of “transphobic insults” following remarks about Karla Sofía Gascón’s historic Best Actress win at the Cannes Film Festival. Gascón, the first trans actress to receive the award, shared the honor with co-stars Zoe Saldaña, Selena Gomez, and Adriana Paz for their roles in Jacques Audiard’s gangster musical Emilia Perez.

Maréchal-Le Pen took to social media to criticize the accolade, posting on X: “So a man has won the Best Actress prize... progress for the left is the erasure of women and mothers.” Her comments were swiftly condemned by several LGBT+ groups, including Mousse, LGBT Families, Adheos, Quazar, LGBTI+ Federation, and STOP Homophobia. These organizations have collectively filed a complaint with the Paris Public Prosecutor, citing “insult due to gender identity,” a charge that could result in up to a year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros under French law.

In response to the filing, Maréchal-Le Pen appeared on France Inter, dismissing the legal threat from what she described as “LGBT militant-activists.” She maintained her stance, arguing that biological sex is an immutable reality: “The truth is that being a man or a woman is a biological reality, whether you like it or not. The XX and XY chromosomes cannot be undone.”

Maréchal-Le Pen, currently campaigning for the European Parliament elections as the leader of the far-right party Reconquête!, founded by Eric Zemmour, has faced backlash from queer advocates. Étienne Deshoulières, the lawyer representing the queer groups, stated that Maréchal-Le Pen’s remarks deny the existence and struggles of trans individuals.

STOP Homophobia General Secretary Terrence Khatchadourian highlighted the dangerous impact of such rhetoric, linking it to increased violence against queer people. “Since 2016, violence against LGBT+ people has exploded by more than 129%, with the largest increase affecting transgender people,” he noted, emphasizing the urgency of protecting this vulnerable community.

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