Mj Rodriguez has become the first transgender performer to be nominated for an Emmy in a lead acting role. Rodriguez’s nomination comes after playing Blanca Rodriguez in FX’s show Pose.
The star is now the third trans woman to receive an Emmy nomination, following Laverne Cox nominated for Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black and Rain Valdez for Razor Tongue.
“For me, being recognized by my peers and by my colleagues, it just means the world for me,” Rodriguez told Entertainment Tonight. “I’m a human at the end of the day. All I wanted was the world to see me; I wanted them to see that I had something to offer.”
After Mj’s Emmy nomination, GLAAD, a leading advocacy organization, and the LGBTQ+ community celebrated and congratulated the 30-year-old Puerto Rican descent actress. “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,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement, as reported by CNN.
“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,” Ellis added.
According to Mj, she believes the Academy is taking notice and accepts that we are living in a diverse world with opportunities for all. “I do believe this is a pivotal moment. There’s never been a trans woman who has been nominated as a leading outstanding actress, and I feel like that pushes the needle forward so much, for now, the door to be knocked down for so many people — whether they be male or trans female, gender nonconforming, LGBTQIA+, it does not matter,” Rodriguez told Variety.
“A moment like this extends and opens and elongates the possibilities of what’s going to happen, and I believe the Academy is definitely making it possible, and their eyes are more than open,” she said. “Yes, I do believe they’re going to continue, and I also feel like we’re going to keep speaking and encouraging and informing and educating people around the world. I think that’s the most important thing.”
If Mj Rodriguez takes home the Primetime Emmy statuette in September, she will be the first-ever transgender performer to do so.