The first-ever transgender Academy Award nominee won’t be attending the ceremony.
Singer Anohni, formerly referred to as Antony Hegarty, is nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar for her song Manta Ray, and she’s boycotting the ceremony after her mistreatment by the ceremony’s organizers.
After her nomination, she flew back from Asia to prepare a performance in case the nominees were asked to perform.
Anohni herself wasn’t asked to perform, while more famous nominees like Sam Smith, Gaga, and The Weeknd were.
In a statement, she says she thought that people would reach out, but no one ever did:
“Confused, I sat and waited. Would someone be in touch? But as time bore on I heard nothing. I slowly realized that the positive implication of this nomination was being retracted. The producers seemed to have decided to stage performances only by the singers who were deemed commercially viable.”
To add insult to injury, a more famous non-nominee was added to the ceremony:
…now the papers were naming me as one of two artists to have been ‘cut’ by the Academy due to ‘time constraints.’ In the next sentence it was announced that Dave Grohl, not nominated in any category, had been added to the list of performers.”
The final humiliation? Her gender identity was added to the Oscar website as “trivia”:
As if to rub salt into the wound, the next morning the Oscars added that I was transgendered to the trivia page of their website.”
All set to at least attend, she realized she couldn’t do it:
Last night I tried to force myself to get on the plane to fly to LA for all the nominee events, but the feelings of embarrassment and anger knocked me back, and I couldn’t get on the plane. I imagined how it would feel for me to sit amongst all those Hollywood stars, some of the brave ones approaching me with sad faces and condolences.
There I was, feeling a sting of shame that reminded me of America’s earliest affirmations of my inadequacy as a transperson. I turned around at the airport and went back home.”