Last Sunday, the whole Afro-Latinx community rose in celebration after actress Michaela Jaé Rodriguez became the first transgender actor to win a Golden Globe. Rodriguez was recognized as best actress in a TV drama for her role as housemother Blanca on the FX show “Pose.”
Rodriguez’s award is a first for the Afro-Latinx transgender community and a milestone for representation on the small screen.
“This is the door that is going to open the door for many more young talented individuals,” Rodriguez wrote on Instagram. “They will see that it is more than possible. They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark, New Jersey, who had a dream, to change the minds [of] others WITH LOVE. LOVE WINS. To my young LGBTQAI babies, WE ARE HERE. The door is now open. Now reach the stars!”
Michaela Jaé Rodriguez finally kicked the door open, taking home the Golden Globe. Last summer, she first made history after becoming the first transgender performer to be nominated for a lead acting Emmy. While she did not end up winning that award, the audience knew both her and her “Pose” costars had already changed the world.
“Pose” broke barriers in 2018, telling the story of the ball culture in 1980s New York. Michaela Jaé Rodríguez played Blanca Evangelista, a young transgender woman who decided to form her own house, a self-selected family that provided support to LGBTQ youth rejected by their birth families.
Like many other LGBTQ+ people of color, Blanca’s story is one of struggle and focuses on issues such as race, identity, and the HIV epidemic.
Rodríguez’s award is a long-overdue acknowledgment to an underrepresented community and a promising first step towards eliminating prejudice in the entertainment industry.