Trans star Karla Sofía Gascón sues French far-right politician after ‘sexist insult’

Spanish actor Karla Sofía Gascón has sued a French politician over an alleged “sexist insult”.

Gascón is one of the stars of the forthcoming Spanish-language musical comedy Emilia Pérez, directed by Jacques Audiard, playing a Mexican drug trafficker both before and after gender reassignment surgery.

After the film’s divisive debut at Cannes earlier this month, Gascón and her co-stars Zoe Saldana, Selena Gomez and Adriana Paz all won the festival’s Best Actress prize, with Gascón making history as the first trans actor to win the award.

In response to the news of Gascón’s achievement, the French far-right politician Marion Maréchal shared her disapproval with a post on X/Twitter.

Writing on the social media platform on Sunday (26 May), Maréchal wrote as a caption to the news story: “It is therefore a man who receives in Cannes the prize for… best actress. The progress for the left wing is the erasing of women and mothers.”

The remark was criticised by many, particularly by those in LGBTQ communities, and on Wednesday (29 May), Gascón filed a legal complaint against Maréchal alleging “sexist insult due to one’s gender identity”.

Gascón, through her lawyer, told AFP: “We need to stop such comments.”

Trans actor Karla Sofia Gascon has sued French far-right politician Marion Marechal for ‘sexist insult’ (PA / Getty)
Trans actor Karla Sofia Gascon has sued French far-right politician Marion Marechal for ‘sexist insult’ (PA / Getty)

This follows a complaint lodged by six LGBTQ groups earlier in the week for “transphobic insult.”

Etienne Deshoulières, the lawyer who represents both Gascón and the LGBTQ organisations, told Variety that Gascón’s legal action was made to bolster the joint complaint filed by the six activist groups and make it possible for Maréchal to be condemned.

If she is found guilty of transphobic insult, the politician could face one year in prison and a €300,000 fine (£255,300).

In an interview with Radio France Internationale on Tuesday (28 May), Maréchal responded to the activist groups’ legal complaints, saying: “I will not be prevented from continuing to say what is the truth. Being a woman or a man is a biological reality, whether you like it or not. The XX or XY chromosomes cannot be surpassed.”

When accepting her award for Best Actress on Sunday, Gascón dedicated her win to others affected by transphobia in an emotional speech.

“To every trans person suffering every f***** day with hate... This is for you,” Gascón said.

She added: “We all have the opportunity to change for the better, to be better people. If you have made us suffer, it is time for you also to change.”