My look at 12 gay performers who’ve won Emmys
When Sarah Paulson won an Emmy last year for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie for her performance as Marcia Clark in American Crime Story, she joined girlfriend Holland Taylor as an Emmy winner. Taylor won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for The Practice in 1999.
Pauslon’s ex-girlfriend, Cherry Jones, is also a past Emmy winner. Jones won in the same category as Holland 10 years later for playing the president of the US in 24.
Paulson, Taylor and Jones are three of the 12 openly gay Emmy winners who I’m shining a spotlight on as we count down to this weekend’s Primetime Emmy ceremony. RuPaul, who won his first Emmy last year, repeated his win this year in the category for outstanding reality show host.
Not all winners were out at time of their victories
Past winners such as Taylor, David Hyde Pierce (he won four times for Frasier), Sean Hayes (a winner for Will & Grace), and Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City) were not out publicly at the time of their wins.
Interestingly, Jim Parsons was out for only the two most recent of his four wins for lead actor in a comedy series for The Big Bang Theory.
So the speeches from Pierce, Taylor, Hayes and Nixon are very different from those of the openly gay Harris and Dan Bucatinsky who kissed their respective spouses at their seats after their names were called and Jane Lynch who thanked her then-wife from the stage the year she won for Glee. Lynch has gone on to win three more Emmys in various categories.
Among the most powerful and moving speeches was that of Ellen DeGeneres when she won the Emmy in 1997 for the writing of her self-titled sitcom’s coming out episode.
DeGeneres, who had come out earlier that year ahead of her TV character, accepted the award ‘on behalf of the teenagers especially out there who think there’s something wrong with them because they’re gay. There’s nothing wrong with you – don’t ever let anybody make you feel ashamed of who you are.’
Below are 10 acceptance speeches from a group of very talented performers who – either before or after these Emmy wins – took the courageous step of coming out publicly.