Transgender Actor Receives Emmy Nomination for 'Outstanding Actress'


A man who identifies as a woman has received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.”

Mj Rodriguez, who portrays house mother and nurse Blanca Rodriguez on FX’s drama “Pose,” became the first transgender actor to pick up an Emmy nomination in a major category, according to Variety.

The FX series is about New York’s LGBTQ ballroom scene during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and early 1990s, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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“With seeing all of these things that Blanca had to go through personally, mentally, and to see her come out on top, every trans woman needs that. Every trans woman needs to see something that is obtainable and reachable,” Rodriguez told the Los Angeles Times in May.

“And also, for the trans women who are from back in the day, who have been strong, uplifting mothers, to see the work of raising strong and powerful and resilient children, that’s the best gift that you could ever receive as a mother,” he said.

Rodriguez is the third transgender actor to be nominated but the first in the lead actress category.

Prior to his nomination, transgender actor Laverne Cox had been nominated in the guest drama category for his role in “Orange Is the New Black” in 2014, and Rain Valdez was nominated as the outstanding actress in a short-form comedy or drama series in 2020, Deadline reported.

Do you think men who identify as women should be nominated for "outstanding actress"?

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Tambor, a heterosexual man, was nominated for his portrayal of a transgender woman in the Amazon series “Transparent.” He won the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series in 2015 and 2016.

Rodriguez joins Uzo Aduba, Jurnee Smollett, Olivia Colman, Emma Corrin and Elisabeth Moss in this year’s best actress category, according to the Emmys.

“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 in a statement, according to Variety.

“Pose” was nominated in the Outstanding Drama Series category and received nominations in drama writing, drama directing, contemporary costumes, contemporary hairstyling, contemporary makeup (non-prosthetic) and prosthetic makeup.

Actor Billy Porter also received a nomination in the lead drama actor category.

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“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 said.

“As over 40 leading LGBTQ organizations pointed out in our open letter about ‘Pose’ to Emmy Award voters, representation matters. Congratulations, Michaela Jaé, Billy Porter, and the entire ‘Pose’ team — the world is standing with you and applauding your talents.”

The 73rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air on CBS on Sept. 19.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith