Emmys nominations are normally a time defined by frustration over obvious snubs and anger at the random shows that took the place of those gems. But this time around we have something major to celebrate. Mj Rodriguez has officially been nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work in Pose, making her the first trans actor or actress in history to land a lead Emmy nomination. Y’all, this is big.
Laverne Cox was the first trans actress to ever receive an Emmy nomination. Way back in 2014 — a lifetime ago when it comes to trans representation — Cox was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for Orange Is the New Black. She was then nominated again in 2017, 2019, and 2020, though she never took home the award. She was followed by Rain Valdez in 2020 who was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for her work on Razor Tongue. But never has a trans actress been nominated for a major Emmy award until today.
It’s a nomination that’s well-earned, too. Over the course of Pose’s three seasons Rodriguez has stood as the bleeding heart of this ever soulful fairy tale about acceptance and chosen family. Rodriguez plays Blanca, a young trans woman who starts the series vowing to form a house of her own. By the end of Season 1 she succeeds, and over the course of this FX drama Blanca becomes the perfect vision of a loving mother who always pushes her children to be their best selves. Blanca isn’t just a wonderful character with Rodriguez’s gorgeous singing voice. She’s come to represent the pillar of support so many LGBTQ+ youth wish they had during their most vulnerable and formative years. It’s about time that Rodriguez was acknowledged for infusing the screen with so much love.
This is far from the first time Pose has made history. In 2019 Billy Porter won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and award he’s nominated for again this year. Porter’s win marked the first time an openly gay Black man was nominated for and won a lead acting category.
It’s a thing of beauty that Rodriguez and Porter have at last been nominated together. Some of the most heartbreaking and truly beautiful moments from this remarkable series have come from Blanca and Pray Tell’s brutally honest yet always heartfelt friendship. Congratulations Rodriguez and Porter, and congratulations to the Pose team. It’s fitting that this revolutionary show would go out making history one last time.
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