An Open Letter to Emmy Award Voters,
This television season Emmys voters have the opportunity to make history — an opportunity to celebrate an entire underrepresented community that hasn’t been valued for their artistic vision, creativity, or contributions… An opportunity to nominate truly worthy performances… An opportunity to help validate that the category, indeed, is love.
Never before have the largest national LGBTQ organizations – along with the four largest North American LGBTQ film festivals – come together to pen an open letter in support of a single series’ worthiness for recognition at the Emmy Awards. This year—and this inimitable moment—is especially meaningful. According to GLAAD’s data, 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.
In the course of its three groundbreaking seasons, POSE (co-created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals) 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. With its final season, POSE has struck an undeniable emotional and cultural chord that will not be soon forgotten.
For far too long, the transgender community has lived on the sidelines. Since the creation of moving pictures, this part of our own community has been represented through harmful depictions that have had a real-world impact on their lives. The documentary Disclosure on Netflix showed the world that for over 100 years, transgender people have been misrepresented in film and television.
While Billy Porter became the first openly gay Black man to win an Emmy for his performance in POSE, and although the show also received a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series in its first season, more recognition is merited now. The talented transgender actresses, actors, and non-binary performers in this series have not yet been honored by Television Academy members and their performances deserve acknowledgment. In 2021 – with POSE’s third and final season – this once in a lifetime moment is right now.
Voting for the 73rd Annual Emmy Awards nominations takes place June 17-28. During this time, in a year when so many continue to say that Black Trans Lives Matter, Television Academy voters should nominate the deserving transgender and nonbinary actors who lead this series – Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, Hailie Sahar, and Angelica Ross – in their respective categories, along with the series overall.
Not only are these performances in this Peabody Award, AFI Award, and GLAAD Media Award-winning show of the highest caliber, but voting for POSE would signal that many of the issues the show so poignantly addresses – transphobia, homophobia, racism, homelessness, poverty, violence against the trans community, Black and brown queer voices, and the AIDS epidemic – very much matter.
If there was any moment to show solidarity and support for the performers and characters who are leading the change, now would be that time.
Arianna’s Center/Translatina Florida Athlete Ally
Black AIDS Institute
Brothers United Network
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Counter Narrative Project
Crystal LaBeija Organizing Fellowship
Family Equality Council
Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Festival
Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network (KBCAN) Lambda Legal
Latino Commission on AIDS
Latino Equality Alliance
Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative (MOBI)
Nashville Black Pride
National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
National LGBTQ Task Force
National Queer Theater
Organización Latina de Trans en Texas
The Bros in Convo Initiative
The Normal Anomaly Initiative
Thrive Support Services
Transgender Law Center
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) Trevor Project
True Colors United