Metro Weekly

Emmys 2021: Pose star Mj Rodriguez becomes first trans person nominated for lead acting role

Rodriguez was nominated for Leading Actress in a Drama Series for her work on Pose's third and final season

pose, fx, Mj Rodriguez, emmys
Mj Rodriguez as Blanca in FX’s Pose — Photo: Michael Parmelee/FX

Pose star Mj Rodriguez has made history after being nominated for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Drama Series at the 2021 Emmys.

Rodriguez, who was critically acclaimed for her performance as Blanca Evangelista, is the first transgender person to be nominated for a lead acting role.

The landmark FX series followed New York City’s African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming drag ball culture scene between the ’80s and late ’90s. It wrapped its third and final season earlier this year.

Rodriguez will face stiff competition in the Lead Actress category, competing alongside The Crown‘s Olivia Colman and Emma Corrin, Uzo Aduba (In Treatment), Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country).

Pose creator Steven Canals responded to the news on Twitter, writing, “Holy shit!!! @MjRodriguez7 just made HISTORY as the first Trans actress to ever be nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series.”

Emmy Awards voters have been criticized in previous years for overlooking Rodriguez’s performance in Pose, as well as most of the show’s other stars.

Billy Porter, who portrayed Pray Tell in the series, made history at the 2019 Emmys after winning Lead Actor in a Drama, becoming the first gay Black man to do so. He won again in 2020, and is nominated in the same category this year.

Rodriguez told PinkNews earlier this year that she hoped the Emmys would recognize her work on Pose‘s final season.

“I don’t know how it works, but I’m speaking it into the universe that one day it’ll happen,” she said.

“And if it happens this time around it’s a blessing, that means we’ve made history. But if not, that means there’s much more of a fight and we got still got more work to do.”

In addition to Rodriguez and Porter, Pose received seven other nominations at the 2021 Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series.

LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD responded to Rodriguez’s historic nomination, calling it “a breakthrough for transgender women in Hollywood, and a long-overdue recognition for her groundbreaking performance over the past three seasons of POSE.”

“Additionally, the show’s nomination for Outstanding Drama Series, as well as Billy Porter’s third nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, mark a historic show that undoubtedly raised the bar for trans representation on television and changed the way viewers around the world understand the trans community,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.

“As over 40 leading LGBTQ organizations pointed out in our open letter about POSE to Emmy Award voters, representation matters. Congratulations, Michaela Jaé [Mj], Billy Porter, and the entire POSE team — the world is standing with you and applauding your talents.”

Read More:

Billy Porter on the ending of Pose and what comes next

Caitlyn Jenner subjected to transphobic abuse at conservative conference

Gay dads sue New York school after son endures two years of homophobic bullying

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!