Michaela Jaé Rodriguez will be honored with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards, the organization announced Wednesday.
Now in its 33rd year, the GLAAD Media Awards honor film, TV and media that advance the representation of LGBTQ+ people and topics. The Stephen F. Kolzak award is given annually to an LGBTQ+ media professional who has made significant contributions to the promotion of LGBTQ+ acceptance, and is named after the famous casting director, who advocated for LGBTQ+ people and those living with HIV over the course of his career. Previous recipients of the honor include Laverne Cox, Jim Parsons, Wanda Sykes, Troye Sivan, Ruby Rose, Chaz Bono, Stephen Warren, Melissa Etheridge and Sir Ian McKellen.
Rodriguez rose to fame for her lead role in “Pose” as Blanca Evangelista, a young house mother living with HIV in the 1980s. For the final season of “Pose,” Rodriguez made history by winning a Golden Globe and receiving an Emmy nomination, becoming the first trans person in history to receive either honor. In addition to her work on “Pose,” Rodriguez has worked extensively in theater, including a 2019 performance as Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors” at the Pasadena Playhouse, and her recent appeared in the film “Tick, Tick … Boom!” Rodriguez also recently released her debut single “Something to Say” from her upcoming EP, and is set to appear in the upcoming Apple TV Plus series “Loot.” Rodriguez is well known for her advocacy work for the LGBTQ+ and Black communities, serving as the Grand Marshall for the 2019 Pride March in New York City and publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement.
“Michaela Jaé Rodriguez is an undeniable talent who is changing the way audiences understand trans people while breaking down barriers for the trans community and LGBTQ people of color within the entertainment industry,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “Her performance as Blanca on ‘Pose’ was one of the most important and impactful roles in the history of LGBTQ representation on television, and she continues to spearhead the future of trans visibility and inclusion in entertainment through her talent on screen, in music, and as a passionate activist.”
The 2022 GLAAD Media Awards will be presented in two separate ceremonies: one on April 2 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles; and one on May 6 at the Hilton Midtown in New York City. Rodriguez will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award during the April 2 ceremony.