Spirit Awards 2016: Mya Taylor (Tangerine)–First Transgender Winner Ever

Mya Taylor made history at the 31st Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, when she became the first transgender actress to ever win at the annual ceremony.

The actress was nominated for best supporting female, beating out Cynthia Nixon (James White), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Anomalisa), Marin Ireland (Glass Chin) and Robin Bartlett (H.) to take home the trophy.

“First of all, no one tells you how nervous you’re gonna be when you’re up against other big actors for an award. There are so many things that go through your head, like ‘Am I gonna trip on this long-ass dress getting up here?'” she joked at the podium upon accepting her award. “I have had a long journey through my 2015 because I had come from almost nothing and then got this role and this movie, and my life just did a total 360.”

She went on to thank director Sean Baker, admitting that she had been skeptical of his idea to shoot the entire film on an iPhone, her initial thought being, “This movie ain’t gonna be shit.”

Mya Taylor ended her speech with a message to filmmakers: “There is transgender talent. There’s very beautiful transgender talent. So, you better get it out there and put it in your next movie.”

First Transgender Nominee: Harmony Santana in Gun Hill Road (2012)
In 2012, Harmony Santana was nominated for best supporting female for her work in Gun Hill Road, making her the first transgender actress to earn a Spirit Award nomination.

Best supporting male presenter Patricia Arquette commended the Independent Spirit Awards for honoring transgender nominees in both lead and supporting actress categories.

The awards were handed out in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica at a ceremony hosted by Silicon Valley‘s Kumail Nanjiani and Saturday Night Live‘s Kate McKinnon.