For three seasons, Mj Rodriguez served one of the most dynamic performances on the groundbreaking FX series Pose. Now, the actress has made history as the first trans woman to earn a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Rodriguez’s nomination comes as Pose — which chronicles the underground ballroom scene in 1980s New York City — ends its run with a powerful third and final season, and the actress’ reaction to her history-making nomination reminded everyone why representation matters.
“The first person that I called was Steven Canals,” Rodriguez said in a statement, per Variety, referencing the series’ creator. “We got on the phone together and we both found out the news of him being nominated as outstanding director. And I just, I don’t even know how to express my feelings right now I’m in extreme joy. I’m happy,” she continued. “I feel like love is finally being seen and being expressed, and now the little babies around the world, the LGBTQAI babies around the world, they finally get to see what love looks like and they finally see what the human condition looks like.”
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When it comes to the history behind her nomination, the actress acknowledged that this “is a pivotal moment,” adding “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 the door to be knocked down for so many people who are trans — whether they be male or trans female, gender nonconforming, LGBTQIA+, it does not matter.”
Prior to Rodriguez’s nomination, trans actress Laverne Cox was nominated for her work in Orange Is The New Black in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series category, while trans star Rain Valdez was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form comedy or Drama Series of Razor Tongue.
“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,” Rodriguez went on. “Yes, I do believe they’re going to continue, and I also feel like we’re gonna keep speaking and encouraging and informing and educating people around the world. I think that’s the most important thing.”
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