's breakout role on "Pose
" gave her a break, but the experience made her even more aware of the work
that needs to be done to achieve parity for transgender artists on television
The actor and singer spoke to NBC journalist
Joe Fryer for "TransAmerica," an hourlong special dedicated to the issues confronting the transgender community across the United States
. In the video, Rodriguez discusses the impact of "Pose," which finished its three-season run this month, and what she wants to see happen in Hollywood
in order to accurately and fairly depict trans lives.
“We haven’t shattered that glass ceiling
yet; it’s just a little cracked,” she said, “and there are great things in knowing that, but there are also sad things in knowing that it hasn’t yet fallen to the ground.”
“We should be worrying about other things,” she continued, “but it's unfortunate that we have to because, as I said, that glass hasn't shattered yet, but it's cracked! It's cracked, so that means there's some work being done.”
Mj Rodriguez on "TransAmerica" can be seen in the video below.
Rodriguez is one of several notables interviewed for “TransAmerica,” which premieres Thursday on the NBC News
Now streaming network and also features Delaware Senator Sarah McBride and author Raquel Willis.
Over the course of his nearly eight-year NBC tenure
, Fryer has covered a wide range of LGBTQ
topics, including the 50th anniversary
of the Stonewall riots, to commemorate Pride Month
, but this year he chose to focus on transgender rights
in response to recent increases in transphobic violence and anti-trans legislation
“You'll hear from trans teens
and their families, mental health
and activists, and we'll also shine a light on areas of progress,” Fryer told Stardia.
According to the Progressive Caucus Action Fund, state legislators across the country have introduced at least 170 pieces of legislation aimed at transgender people
's rights so far this year, with at least 19 of those bills becoming law.
Fryer and his team examine the personal impact those legislative efforts have had on transgender Americans in “TransAmerica.” The journalist believes viewers will be particularly impressed with Stella Keating, a 16-year-old student in Washington state
who became the first transgender teen to testify before the Senate
on behalf of the Equality Act
In terms of his own takeaway from the special, Fryer believes that the biggest challenge facing the transgender community in 2021 will be simply maintaining their physical
and emotional well-being, citing a new Trevor Project study that found 94% of LGBTQ youth
felt their mental health had been negatively impacted by recent politics
“The teens we spoke with and the experts we spoke with all made it clear that when trans kids get quality gender-affirming care, their mental health improves,” Fryer said. “On the other hand, there are concerns that all of the anti-trans legislation, and the rhetoric surrounding it, is having a negative impact on mental health.... We can’t ignore that.”
“TransAmerica” will premiere on NBC News Now on Thursday, June 17 at 8 p.m. EST.