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Mj Rodriguez is first transgender woman Emmy nominee for lead actress

By Eleanor Escalante Published Jul 14, 2021 2:45 pm

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez has become the first transwoman to be nominated for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series” at the Emmys for her portrayal of mother Blanca in Pose.

“It’s astounding, and it’s not just for me. I’m winning for so many people out there, so many babies out there, the generation that comes after me—that’s who it’s for, it’s not for me,” Rodriguez told IndieWire.

Rodgriguez added that she finally feels seen by the people she always wanted to see her and hopes that “this speaks to every single last person who sits under the trans umbrella, whether they be trans, trans female, trans male, or gender non-conforming, or any person who is a part of the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Prior to Rodriguez, two transgender actresses also received nominations from the Television Academy.

In 2014, Laverne Cox was up for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Sophia Burset in Orange Is the New Black. She then received nominations for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for the same role in 2017, 2019, and 2020. 

In 2020, Rain Valdez was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Short-Form Comedy or Drama Series for Razor Tongue, which she wrote and produced.

According to IndieWire, Rodriguez is also the ”first Latina nominated for dramatic acting in 46 years,” following Rita Moreno’s nomination for The Rockford Files in 1975. Rodiguez said breaking barriers through intersectionality is “one of the biggest things” for her.

Co-star Billy Porter gets another Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series nomination for portraying Pray Tell. In 2019, Porter becomes the first openly gay black performer to win the same category, also for the same role.

Steven Canals is nominated for best director and writer alongside Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Janet Mock, and Our Lady J. 

Completing the nine nominations of the show are five more awards including outstanding drama series, contemporary costumes, contemporary hairstyling, contemporary makeup (non-prosthetic), and prosthetic makeup.

The first two seasons of Pose are available on Netflix Philippines. The groundbreaking series on the intersectional representation of race, sexuality, gender, and class, aired its third and final season this year.

(Images from FX Networks and Pose’s Instagram)