“This television season Emmy 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,” the letter reads in the opening paragraph.
The letter was organized by GLAAD and other signees include Black AIDS Institute, Family Equality Council, Frameline, GLSEN, Inside Out, Harlem Pride, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Newfest, Outfest, Transgender Law Center, The Trevor Project and True Colors United. In the joint statement, they detail how “Pose” elevated the landscape of transgender representation in Hollywood.
“From the beautifully crafted storylines to the remarkable cast performances, ‘Pose’ broke new ground for transgender inclusion both in front of and behind the camera, leaving behind a legacy that will change the future of trans representation on television,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “In its final season, TV Academy voters must acknowledge the importance of telling and recognizing diverse storytelling, which includes the performances of trans people of color who have been overlooked for far too long.”
“Pose” wrapped with the airing of its final episode on June 6. As the letter notes, this left scripted television with zero characters living with HIV and only 21 transgender regular characters.
Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals’ FX series has earned widespread acclaim and won Peabody, AFI and GLAAD Media Awards. In 2019, Billy Porter became the first openly gay Black man to win an Emmy for his performance as Pray Tell. However, television academy voters have notoriously snubbed the non-male actors of “Pose,” including Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, Hailie Sahar and Angelica Ross.
“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,” the letter says.
The call-to-action hopes that by voting for “Pose,” Emmy voters will signal that the issues the show addresses (transphobia, homophobia, racism, homelessness, poverty and violence against the trans community, to name a few) “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,” the letter closes.