GLAAD announced Wednesday that Golden Globe-winning, Emmy-nominated actress and singer Michaela Jae Rodriguez will be honored with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton April 2.
The award goes to an LGBTQ+ professional who has made a difference in promoting queer acceptance, according to a press release. It's named after the legendary casting director who worked during his career to bring awareness to the discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ people and those living with HIV.
Previous Stephen F. Kolzak award winners include Laverne Cox, Jim Parsons, Wanda Sykes, Troye Sivan, Ruby Rose, Chaz Bono, Stephen Warren, Melissa Etheridge, and Sir Ian McKellen.
In its announcement, GLAAD said, "A Black and Latinx trans woman, who with her critical acclaim and visibility alone has moved the needle for acceptance, Rodriguez stands boldly in the many intersections of her identity."
Rodriguez is best known for her critically acclaimed performance as Blanca Evangelista in FX's Pose. Portraying the young house mother living with HIV earned Rodriguez a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination. She is the first trans woman to win a Golden Globe and the first to be nominated for an Emmy in a leading or supporting acting category.
Before her time on Pose, Rodriguez worked in theater and in off-Broadway productions at the New Ohio Theatre, New World Stages, and Encores! Off Center.
The Pose star was named The Advocate's Person of the Year 2021 for her history-making, trailblazing career.
"Michaela Jae 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," said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "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."
Last month, GLAAD announced 246 nominees in 30 categories for the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards. A full list of nominees can be found here.