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Opinion: Are Awards Shows Leaving Black Trans Women Behind?



black trans actresses

Mj Rodriguez made history this year when she received an Emmy nomination as she became the first trans woman to receive a nomination in a major acting category.

Even so, the question rises as to why it took so long for Black trans women to be recognised and if this will be an open door for change.

I believe it is a step taken in the right direction and it will be the start of a new era of recognition for black trans women.

This is shown by the popularity of Pose and the interest people have shown in learning about Black trans women and their history.


However, it is a long journey until they will be treated as other actresses are, and history is the best indicator of this.

2017 was the first time a Black trans woman was recognised for her talent.

This happened when Laverne Cox received a nomination for her role in Orange Is The New Black as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series and it has been a long three years waiting for another trans actress to be recognised.

In 2020, performer Rain Valdez made history when she was nominated for outstanding actress in a short-form comedy or drama series.


Four years of waiting and wondering, and another black trans actress, Mj Rodriguez, has finally received what every talented actress should regularly get.

So yes, these awards show are leaving Black Trans Women behind.

These nominations are important milestones for the representation of Black trans women. The film & TV industry needs to continue to do better.

From Dominique Jackson to Indya Moore to Angelica Ross – they are all Pose actresses who have yet to receive any recognition.


Mj’s nomination has been an incredible achievement for her and it could be an open door for Black trans women to step through at long last.

However, it is difficult to envision this step when it took so long for the production of Pose, and then for this nomination.

The actresses are not just acting in this show. They are sharing their life story, they are being vulnerable in ways most people cannot imagine. They are not performers in the show. They are the show.

Awards shows like the Emmys need to start recognising the talent of Black Trans Women and only then will they feel they have a solidified place in film and TV.


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