“Pose” Star Mj Rodriguez Leads LGBTQ Emmy Nominations

Actress Mj Rodriguez makes history as the first trans woman to receive an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress.
REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Mj Rodriguez, the actress from the groundbreaking FX series “Pose,” has been tapped as the first transgender woman to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress.

Rodriguez, who plays Blanca in “Pose,” was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and her castmate Billy Porter, who plays Pray Tell, also grabbed a nomination for Best Lead Actor. The cast as a whole is also wrapping up the third season with an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Drama Series. In the past, Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Angelica Ross, and other key trans cast members on the show have voiced criticism for favoring white, cisgender, and heterosexual actors in Emmy nominations.

Seven years ago, out trans actress Laverne Cox became the first trans person to receive an Emmy nomination when she was recognized for her work on “Orange Is the New Black.”

In a statement, GLADD praised the Academy’s latest decision, which brings more diverse LGBTQ voices to the forefront.

“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,” GLADD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a written 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.”

GLADD added, “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.”

LGBTQ actors on “Saturday Night Live” garnered several nominations from the Academy. Out gay Chinese-American actor Bowen Yang earned a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on the show, while out gay actor Dan Levy and out lesbian actress Kate McKinnon grabbed nominations for their acting roles. LGBTQ cast members at “Saturday Night Live” are running up against out bisexual actor Hannah Einbinder and out non-binary actor Carl Clemons-Hopkins, who star in the series “Hacks.”

Non-binary actor Emma Corrin, who played Princess Diana in the “Crown,” secured a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Bisexual actress Gillian Anderson, who plays Margaret Thatcher in the show, grabbed a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. The British actress plans to go head to head with Black LGBTQ actress Samira Wiley, who has been tapped for her work in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The Academy is also recognizing the film version of the musical “Hamilton.” Out gay actor Jonathan Groff, who plays King George in the film, swept up a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie. Meanwhile, “Queer Eye,” which features out non-binary actor Jonathan Van Ness and LGBTQ actors Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, and Antoni Porowski, also grabbed a nomination for Outstanding Structured Reality Program.

The Academy is once again honoring RuPaul, also known as Mother Ru to fans, for Outstanding Host for his reality TV show, “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Popular spin-offs of the drag series, such as “RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked,” have been nominated for Best Unstructured Reality Program. 

The Emmy Awards will air on September 19 on CBS.

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