The Television Academy just released the nominees for the 73rd Emmys and they are making waves with some inclusive changes. Disney’s “The Mandalorian” and “WandaVision” lead the pack with over 20 nominations each, while HBO’s groundbreaking POC-centered genre series, “Lovecraft Country,” surprised with a whopping 18 nominations.
Meanwhile, “Pose” star Mj Rodriguez just became the first ever trans woman to be nominated for a major Emmy in recognition for her lead performance as Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista. Prior to this, only two trans actresses have been recognized by the Emmys: Laverne Cox for her guest performances in “Orange is the New Black” and Filipino American Rain Valdez of “Razor Tongue” who got nominated just last year.
Rodriguez is joined by “Pose” co-star Billy Porter who is nominated in the Lead Actor category for his performance as Pray Tell. The show also earned other nominations including Outstanding Drama Series, as well as nods in writing, directing, and costumes, for a total of nine nominations across all categories.
This comes after the series finale in June that concluded a trailblazing run, having opened conversations and visibility around the Black and Latinx trans and nonbinary communities. GLAAD issued an open letter last month urging the Television Academy voters to finally give “Pose” its long-overdue credit. It penned, “When POSE finished its series run on FX in early June 2021, scripted television was left with zero characters living with HIV and only 21 transgender regular characters… POSE transformed the landscape of transgender representation in Hollywood and educated the world on who transgender people are, all while entertaining audiences with high energy, compelling drama, and authentic storytelling.”
Although the Emmys were successful in giving nods to Rodriguez and Porter this year, the supporting characters of the iconic series are ultimately left with nothing but dust. Trans and nonbinary performers Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, and Hailie Sahar—all of whom play integral roles in the series—were once again snubbed for the Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category, which instead is dominated by white women from the same set of TV shows.
We do hope, however, that this changes in the future. With the Emmys also giving winners an option to be marked gender-neutral by engraving the word “performer” in their trophies instead of “actor” or “actress” (though they’re still bound by the binary in the nominating categories), it seems that we’re headed in the right direction. For the meantime, let’s urge them to do more and hope that Rodriguez finally wins a deserved Emmy this coming Sept. 19.