For the first time ever, a transgender actor is set to be considered for an Emmy award for a lead acting role in a prime-time series.
Mj Rodriguez, who was born a biological male but now identifies as a female following a gender transition, was nominated this week for Best Lead Actress in a Drama.
Should Rodriguez win the award when the winners are announced in September, it would mark the first time that a transgender actor has won an acting Emmy.
Rodriguez was nominated for a performance as “house mother” Bianca Rodriguez in the FX series “Pose,” a dramatization of New York City's underground drag ballroom culture in the 1980s and 1990s amid the rise of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The show, which has been celebrated for casting transgender actors to play transgender characters, scooped up 11 Emmy nominations over its first two seasons and this year is up for Best Drama Series.
In an interview with the Associated Press following the nomination, Rodriguez said, “I felt so seen.”
“I felt represented and I felt seen,” added the actor. “And … more accepted than I have felt in a long time. I felt like my colleagues now see me, my acting colleagues see me, and the people who are surrounded by the arts see me, and how much I want to give the world the love to my craft and my art.”
Rodriguez expressed similar sentiments during an interview with ExtraTV, saying, “I feel so seen … I cried something hard.”
‘Pose' Star MJ Rodriguez on Her History-Making Emmy Nomination: ‘I Cried Something Hard'
News of Rodriguez's nomination immediately earned praise from LGBT groups, including the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
“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,” said president and CEO of GLAAD Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement.
“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,” Ellis continued.
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