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"If I get change, if I get in trouble, will you still be there?"

That’s the question at the heart of The Danish Girl, a new movie about the first woman to undergo gender reassignment surgery, Jeffrey Tambor told me Monday night at the film’s Washington, D.C., premiere. Tambor, who plays a transgender woman on the series Transparent, was part of a day-long celebration of the Transgender Day of Remembrance that began at the White House and culminated in the movie screening. 

President Obama honored nine LGBT activists as well as the cast and crew of Transparent and The Danish Girl. Obama has already been heralded as the first president to say the word “transgender” in the State of the Union, and Monday’s event went one step further to solidify his support for transgender rights. 

All the stars in attendance spoke at length about the significance of the president’s approval, and noted how far the country has come in the last decade. Danish Girl screenwriter Lucinda Coxon was told the screenplay was “commercial poison” when she wrote it eleven years ago. “The times caught up with us,” she told me. It was a sentiment echoed by Tambor, who said that Transparent was “an arrow that hit the zeitgeist and blew up. ... The times came to us rather than the other way around.”