Pose star Mj Rodriguez makes Emmys history as first trans woman nominated for Best Actress

Mj Rodriguez as Blanca in Pose

The nominees for the 2021 Emmy Awards are here, and Pose star Mj Rodriguez has made history as the first trans woman to be nominated for Best Actress.

Mj Rodriguez was nominated in the Lead Actress, Drama category, where she will go up against Emma Corrin and Olivia Colman of The Crown, Uzo Aduba (In Treatment), Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country).

It’s a stunning acknowledgement of Rodriguez’s performance in the groundbreaking drama series, which bowed out earlier this year with an abridged third season.

In previous years Rodriguez and her trans castmates have been ignored by the Emmys, with Billy Porter the only actor to win a nomination, for Lead Actor, Drama, in both 2019 – when he won – and 2020.

Porter is up for the same award this year.

Pose creator Steven Canals shared his joy on Twitter, writing: “Holy s**t!!! @MjRodriguez7 just made HISTORY as the first Trans actress to ever be nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series.”

Pose executive producer Janet Mock weighed in, as did Angel star Indya Moore.


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Laverne Cox, who became the first trans person to be nominated in any acting category in 2014 (for Outstanding Guest Actress), also shared her congratulations.

Pose is also up for the Best Drama Series award at the Emmys, which take place on Sunday September 19.

The cast of Pose have been vocal about the way the Emmys and other award shows have overlooked their performances in previous years.

Speaking to PinkNews earlier this year, Mj Rodriguez said she was “hopeful” the Emmys would recoognise her work.

“I don’t know how it works, but I’m speaking it into the universe that one day it’ll happen,” she said.

“And if it happens this time around it’s a blessing, that means we’ve made history. But if not, that means there’s much more of a fight and we got still got more work to do.”

The final series took the story of Rodriguez’s character Blanca and into the ’90s, dealing with the continued impact of the HIV crisis on the trans and queer community in New York, culminating in a powerful recreation of the ACT UP Ashes Actions.

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