So if you were wondering why Queer Twitter blew up as Holly Woodlawn appeared on the Oscar In Memoriam segment last night:
In 50,000 universes Holly Woodlawn would never have expected to feature in an #Oscars memoriam— Guy Trebay (@GuyTrebay) February 29, 2016
HOLLY WOODLAWN MADE THE PARADE OF THE DEAD!!!!— Guy Branum (@guybranum) February 29, 2016
PS: Including Holly Woodlawn, transgender actress and activist, is pretty metal. #Oscars— Sarah (@Cinesnark) February 29, 2016
…Well that’s because she’s actually a pretty solid badass and her inclusion in the segment is a major nod toward representation of transgender actors, a problem that the Oscars have struggled with, in addition to racial and sexist discrimination problems. Iconic for her work in films by Andy Warhol, and as the inspiration for Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side,” Woodlawn died from cancer in December 2015.
A longtime trans rights activist who reportedly participated in the Stonewall Riots, Woodlawn’s final wish in her last will and testament was to create a fund to benefit at-risk transgender youth, which now exists in the form of the Holly Woodlawn Memorial Fund operated by the Los Angeles LGBT Center. A pretty solid legacy by any definition.