Not only is Mj Rodriguez finally getting the recognition she deserves for her role as Blanca Evangelista on Pose — after years of Emmy Awards snubs — but her recent lead actress nomination is also a historic one. On July 13, Rodriguez became the first transgender woman in the history of the ceremony to be recognized in a lead acting category. With her nomination, she became the third openly transgender person to be nominated for an acting Emmy, joining Laverne Cox, who was the first transgender person to be nominated with a nomination for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for her work on 2014’s Orange Is the New Black, and Rain Valdez, who earned a nomination for outstanding actress in a short-form comedy or drama series for 2020’s Razor Tongue. Pose earned a total of eight nominations for the 2021 award ceremony, including outstanding drama series and lead actor for Billy Porter.
Ahead of the Emmy nomination voting in June, GLAAD and other LGBTQ+ organizations shared an open letter urging voters to think of Pose, while highlighting the performances of Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, Hailie Sahar, and Angelica Ross. “In the course of its three groundbreaking seasons, Pose (co-created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals) transformed the landscape of transgender representation in Hollywood and educated the world on who transgender people are, all while entertaining audiences with high energy, compelling drama, and authentic storytelling. With its final season, Pose has struck an undeniable emotional and cultural chord that will not be soon forgotten,” the letter read. “From the beautifully crafted storylines to the remarkable cast performances, POSE broke new ground for transgender inclusion both in front of and behind the camera, leaving behind a legacy that will change the future of trans representation on television. In its final season, TV Academy voters must acknowledge the importance of telling and recognizing diverse storytelling, which includes the performances of trans people of color who have been overlooked for far too long.”