Michaela Jaé Rodriguez has been named the recipient of the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards. The honor is issued to recognize an LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting LGBTQ acceptance. The award is named after the famed casting director who devoted his life to raising awareness in the entertainment industry about the discrimination faced by LGBTQ people as well as people living with HIV. In the past, Laverne Cox, Jim Parsons, Wanda Sykes, and Chaz Bono have received the honor.
“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 & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis expressed 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.”
Rodriguez’s big break came from her leading role in the award-winning drama Pose, in which where she portrays Blanca Evangelista, a young house mother living with HIV. Her performance earned her the 2022 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series. The win marked the first Golden Globe of her career and the first time a transgender person has taken home the trophy.
“Wow! You talking about [a] sickening birthday present! Thank you! This is the door that is going to Open [sic] the door for many more young talented individuals,” wrote the actress on social media celebrating the career milestone. “They will see that it is more than possible. They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark New Jersey who had a dream, to change the minds others would WITH LOVE. LOVE WINS. To my young LGBTQAI babies WE ARE HERE the door is now open now reach the stars!!!!!”
Musicians Asiahn Bryant, Kaytranada, and Lil Nas X are all up for awards among the 246 nominees at the 2022 GLAAD Media Awards. This year, GLAAD has introduced two new categories: Outstanding New TV Series and Outstanding Original Graphic Novel/Anthology. This year’s in-person event, first exclusively reported by Variety, will take place in Los Angeles on April 2, 2022, and in New York on May 6, 2022.