Cannes Goes Trans: Spanish Father Named ‘Best Actress’ Alongside Selena Gomez, Zoe Saldana

(FromL) Spanish actress Karla Sofia Gascon, US actress Zoe Saldana and US actress Selena G
Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images

For the first time in Cannes history, a male actor is a recipient of the festival’s best actress prize.

Transgender actor Karla Sofía Gascón — who was born a male and now identifies as a woman — shared the best actress prize for the unconventional musical Emilia Perez. Gascón shared the award with three of his actual female co-stars — Zoe Saldana, Selena Gomez, and Adriana Paz.

A tearful Karla Sofía Gascón accepted the award on Sunday on behalf of his co-stars.

Watch below:

Emilia Perez — which also took home the festival’s Jury Prize, or third place overall — will reportedly be distributed by Netflix, with a rollout expected either later this year or next year.

In the movie, Gascón play a male drug kingpin who decides to exit the drug trade by undergoing a sex-change operation.

Karla Sofía Gascón underwent a sex-change operation in real life at the age of 46 after being married to a woman and fathering a child. Before transitioning, Gascón was named Carlos and worked as an actor in Spanish-language TV shows.

Following the movie’s Cannes premiere earlier this week, Gascón spoke about being transgender.

“We’re normal people who can have the careers they want,” said Gascon at a press conference earlier in the festival. Being trans is unimportant. A trans person is someone going through a transition. Once they have transitioned, that’s it. They are what they are.”

“We’re first and foremost human beings, and there’s no point sticking labels on us.”

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