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Mj Rodriguez is officially becoming a trailblazer for transgender women everywhere. Discover what her Emmy nomination means for the LGBTQ community.

Mj Rodriguez: How she’s paving the way for transgender women in Hollywood

Mj Rodriguez is officially becoming a trailblazer for transgender women everywhere. The talented actress has become the first performer who identifies as transgender to be given a nomination for an Emmy award in a major acting category. The star showed off her amazing talents in the popular FX culture period drama titled Pose. Let’s hear all about what the actress has to say on how she feels about her Emmy nomination here. 

A trailblazer

Mj Rodriguez is truly making history for transgender women for her amazing portrayal of the character of Blanca Rodriguez, a nurse and house mother on FX’s popular TV series Pose. The star was just given an Emmy nomination for her astounding performance on the TV show, and fans all agree her nomination was quite well-deserved. In fact, the star is also making history in the LGBTQ+ community. 

When speaking out about her first nomination from the Television Academy, Mj Rodriguez spoke out about her experiences as a transgender woman and what this means to the community. While there have been plenty of shows that deal with topics that have to do with the community, an actual transgender performer being nominated for an award is rare. The star expressed: “I do believe this is a pivotal moment”.

“There’s never been a trans woman who has been nominated as a leading outstanding actress and I feel like that pushes the needle forward so much, for now, the door to be knocked down for so many people — whether they be male or trans female, gender nonconforming, LGBTQIA+, it does not matter”, Mj Rodriguez expressed to Variety in a recent interview, emphasizing the importance in her identity as a transgender woman.  

“A moment like this extends and opens and elongates the possibilities of what’s going to happen and I believe the Academy is definitely making it possible and their eyes are more than open”, she added to Variety. “Yes, I do believe they’re going to continue, and I also feel like we’re going to keep speaking and encouraging and informing and educating people around the world. I think that’s the most important thing”. 

This is a big step up from the Television Academy in terms of giving recognition to talents who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and specifically for transgender representation. Before Mj Rodriguez’s nom, there have only been two other openly transgender talents who have received Emmy noms. Rain Valdez from Razor Tongue had earned one in the short-form comedy or drama category for her acting last year. 

The only other openly transgender performer that has also received attention from the Television Academy is Laverne Cox, who earned her first nomination in 2014 in the guest drama actress category for playing the character Sophia in the popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black. The actress then went on to receive three more nominations for the same category in 2017, 2019, and another one in 2020. 

The importance of Pose

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis also joined in on the celebration, saying: “Michaela Jaé (Mj) Rodriguez’s Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actress in a drama series is a breakthrough for transgender women in Hollywood, and a long-overdue recognition for her groundbreaking performance over the past three seasons of Pose”. 

Sarah Kate Ellis also added: “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”.

“As over 40 leading LGBTQ organizations pointed out in our open letter about ‘Pose’ to Emmy Award voters, representation matters. Congratulations, Michaela Jaé, Billy Porter, and the entire Pose team — the world is standing with you and applauding your talents”, Ellis stated. Regardless of who wins on Emmy night, Mj Rodriguez has already made history and done everyone in her community proud. We love that for her. 

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  • Thank you, Ms Chang for this article. I’d like to congratulate MJ Rodriguez for her nomination, and even more, for her performance in this series. I am a straight woman, 82 years old, and found Pose to be heart touching, mind expanding, sympathetic and vastly entertaining. Most of all, I was moved by this opportunity to see into the lives of people who deserve acceptance, opportunity and appreciation. I was completely blown away by the quality of this series. Writing, acting, and realization were superb! Best of luck to you, Ms. Rodriguez!

    September 19, 2021

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