Emmys Snub Transgender Stars of 'Pose,' 'Euphoria'

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It was a breakout year for transgender actors in Hollywood — but that was not reflected in this year’s Emmy nominations.

Notably, Pose, despite consistently receiving critical acclaim, once again saw snubs for all of the transgender actors who appear in the FX production about the New York ballroom scene. Cisgender actor Billy Porter received the only nod this year (his second from the Television Academy) for his role of Pray Tell.

About Transgender
Transgender people have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their sex assigned at birth. Some transgender people who desire medical assistance to transition from one sex to another identify as transsexual. Transgender, often shortened as trans, is also an umbrella term. In addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex (trans men and trans women), it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine (people who are non-binary or genderqueer, including bigender, pangender, genderfluid, or agender). Other definitions of transgender also include people who belong to a third gender, or else conceptualize transgender people as a third gender. The term transgender may be defined very broadly to include cross-dressers.Being transgender is independent of sexual orientation. Transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, or may decline to label their sexual orientation. The term transgender is also distinguished from intersex, a term that describes people born with physical sex characteristics “that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies”. The opposite of transgender is cisgender, which describes persons whose gender identity or expression matches their assigned sex.The degree to which individuals feel genuine, authentic, and comfortable within their external appearance and accept their genuine identity has been called transgender congruence. Many transgender people experience gender dysphoria, and some seek medical treatments such as hormone replacement therapy, sex reassignment surgery, or psychotherapy. Not all transgender people desire these treatments, and some cannot undergo them for financial or medical reasons.Many transgender people face discrimination in the workplace and in accessing public accommodations and healthcare. In many places, they are not legally protected from discrimination.

Emmys Snub Transgender Stars of 'Pose,' 'Euphoria'

About 'Pose,'

The news that Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, and Angelica Ross were sidelined — Pose itself also did not make it into the Best Drama category this year — was met with some outrage on social media.

Steven Canals, co-creator of the series, pointed to the snub of Rodriguez as particularly egregious. As Blanca, the mother of the House of Evangelista, Rodriguez has been praised as being the emotional heart of Pose. In 2019, she became the first transgender woman to win Best Actress at the Imagen Awards, an annual event honoring positive representations of Latinx people in media.

Emmys Snub Transgender Stars of 'Pose,' 'Euphoria'

When a Twitter user pointed out that members of the Television Academy were likely voting based on name recognition, Moore blamed the network for “weak ass promotion” of Pose‘s stars. “‘they’ Dont trust us on live TV. Esp. Me lol,” Moore said. They also noted that, historically, cisgender actors routinely received critical acclaim for portraying trans roles, a trend that has not benefited trans actors for doing the same.

Hunter Schafer was another notable snub of a transgender performer. Although Euphoria fans saw vindication in Zendaya’s nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Schafer’s arc as trans teen Jules Vaughn was a breakout role in the gritty show about young people looking for love and drugs.

(Related: Hunter Schafer Embraces Euphoria’s ;’Feminine and Loving Queerness’)

Other standout transgender performers who failed to grab an Emmy nod include Jen Richards (Tales of the City), Theo Germaine (Work in Progress), Shakina Nayfack (Transparent Musicale Finale), and Leo Sheng (The L Word: Generation Q).

In a bright spot, Laverne Cox did receive a nomination for Guest Actress, Drama for the final season of Orange Is the New Black. Rain Valdez, who depicted Belle Jonas in Razor Tongue, also nabbed a nod for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama series.

Read the full list of Emmy nominees and LGBTQ+ highlights.

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