Pose icon Michaela Jaé Rodriguez explains the power in telling your queer child that you love them

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez stares at the camera while wearing a purple dress with matching purple lips and long wavy hair

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez has explained how telling queer kids that they’re loved can ‘make all the difference’ in their life in an emotional speech.

The Pose star received the Stephen F Kolzak Award, which is presented to an LGBT+ media professional who had made a huge difference in promoting queer acceptance, at the 33rd GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday (2 April). 

During a tearful acceptance speech, Rodriguez praised her mom and dad for “seeing me and loving me” before sharing how such acceptance from parents can have a profound impact on a queer kid’s life. 

“When a child is loved, whether you are LGBTQIA or not, it makes all the difference,” Rodriguez said. “When you tell your queer child that you love them, they think, ‘I love me too’.”

She then thanked “all the parents in Texas, Florida, Idaho, Arizona and all around the world” who are “standing up to fear and ignorance” as well as “grounding their LGBTQIA children in love and acceptance”. 

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez especially thanked her mother, who was in attendance at the event, for “loving me the right way”. She described how her mother loved her the “way any Black mother should when it comes to a queer child when it comes to a queer child that’s trying to find their way into would” and “find some understanding”.

She declared that “tonight we cheer” but “tomorrow we go back to work” fighting on behalf of the LGBT+ community. 

The Tick, Tick… Boom star explained the crowd gathered needed to encourage others to register to vote to “get rid of these messed up legislators” pushing anti-LGBT+ legislation and eventually get enough members in the Senate to pass the Equality Act

“Let’s cast ourselves in the roles of advocates and fighters so we can change the world so every LGBTQIA child can shine,” she said. 

Rodriguez’s Tick, Tick… Boom co-star Andrew Garfield praised the actor for her undying commitment to the LGBT+ community and her trailblazing work in Hollywood. 

Garfield, who presented the Stephen F Kolzak Award, said that Rodriguez made history as the first trans woman to be nominated for Best Actress at the Emmys. He added that she once again broke barriers as the first trans actor to win a Golden Globe.

“Now the world has begun to see her for everything that she is: a truly gifted actor, singer, dancer, style icon and, maybe most powerfully of all, an LGBTQ activist,” Garfield said. 

He said that Michaela Jaé Rodriguez is “making the world respect Black women, Latinas and all women as we should” through her “art and her heart”, adding he doesn’t know anyone with a “bigger heart than Mj”. 

“In a moment of reckoning for our industry, she is leading the charge to create and produce stories centred on LGBTQ lives and experiences, particularly those of trans women of colour,” Garfield explained.

“She reminds us that you can’t just say you’re an ally. Allyship means action.”