Mj Rodriguez Made History as the First Trans Star to Earn a Lead Acting Emmy Nom

Rodriguez is nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Drama Series in 'Pose.'

When the Emmy nominations were announced on July 13th, Mj Rodriguez heard her name called for her role in Pose. But what’s perhaps even better than getting that nomination for Best Leading Actress in a Drama Series is knowing she’s the first transgender star to do so.

Rodriguez nabbed the nomination for her star-making turn in Pose as Blanca Evangelista, which aired its series finale earlier this year. Her nomination is one of six that the FX show earned, including Best Drama Series and Best Leading Actor in a Drama Series for Billy Porter.

Despite airing three seasons of the show, this is the first time Rodriguez has garnered a nomination, something that viewers couldn’t understand in years prior. After her name was left off last year’s list, Rodriguez’s fans—as well as entertainment fans in general—called out the fact that none of the show’s transgender or nonbinary characters were earning major recognition for their work in a show about drag.

Rodriguez is competing against Uzo Aduba, Olivia Colman, Emma Corrin, Elisabeth Moss, and Jurnee Smollett for the Emmy on on September 19th. Aduba, Corrin, and Moss have all previously won Emmys, but Colman and Smollett join Rodriguez on the shortlist for stars who have yet to add an Emmy to their trophy shelves.

We’re thrilled to see Rodriguez finally getting her due for a role that she played with heart from beginning to end. And though she hasn’t yet posted a celebratory Instagram (and we hope she does), we can’t help but assume that she’s thrilled with this news, especially after the op-ed she penned for the Emmys in 2020. In it, she called out the lack of representation, pointing out that all of her identities put her in a box.

“When I started reaching the peak of my career as an Afro-Latina, and as a woman of the Trans experience, as much as I felt I was making strides, there were still those three identities that were holding me back from making it into a space I had always dreamed of being. My confidence began to deplete when I started realizing that I was systematically being placed in a box,” she wrote.

At the conclusion of her piece, she asked the Television Academy to make a seat at the table for marginalized groups. “Our world and the people in it are changing every day and I believe the Academy has the power to change — and make change as well,” she wrote.

It looks like change is finally happening—albeit slowly—but change, nonetheless. And let’s be real, it’s about damn time. Cheers to you, Mj!

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