Michaela Jaé Rodriguez Calls New York Times a ‘Transphobic’ Publication: It’s ‘Constant Disrespect’

The "Pose" Emmy nominee also weighed in on J.K. Rowling's TERF comments.
Michaela Jaé Rodriguez at the 2023 Human Rights Campaign
Michaela Jaé Rodriguez
Variety via Getty Images

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez made Emmys history as a trans actress on “Pose.” Now, the “Loot” star is calling out media titans for being transphobic.

Rodriguez, who formerly went by MJ, called out The New York Times for publishing a transphobic column titled “In Defense of J.K. Rowling.” The column was published one day after more than 100 journalists and community leaders shared an open letter calling on the publication to improve transgender coverage; the New York Times was additionally accused of sharing an anti-trans bias by 200 contributors.

“I think that they’ve been transphobic for a long time, unfortunately,” Rodriguez told Variety. “Forgive me, New York Times, but I don’t read y’all that often…It’s the constant disrespect.”

Rodriguez opened up about “Harry Potter” author Rowling’s infamous transphobic tweets and public statements.

“Some of the stuff that she says really doesn’t faze me so much. I’m not here for it,” she said. “I will always remain a trans woman. I will always call myself a trans woman. I will always refer to other biological women as cis women, in a non-derogatory way. But I’m a strong girl. I’m a strong woman. I was raised by a strong Black woman, which J.K. Rowling was not. I would love to have a conversation with her.”

Rodriguez speculated that if she ever met Rowling, she would try to understand her perspective.

“I would start off with something that’s very lighthearted, just to let her know I’m not someone who is abrasive or who is intimidating, because I’m sure there are trans people who are intimidating her a little bit and making her feel this way. I would first start off by saying, ‘Girl, OK, tell me what is the tea? Is there a trans person in your life that’s really making you feel a certain type of way about your womanhood?'” Rodriguez said. “‘Because I can promise you that there are other trans women who will show you what it’s actually like to walk in our shoes. Because I can promise you, as a cis biological woman, you just will never understand, just as we will never understand you. But we’re women, so we have to be there for each other.'”

She added of the continued “Harry Potter” fandom, “It’s a childhood memory that all of us have grasped onto and don’t want to let go, because of the story. We’re not thinking about J.K. Rowling, I can promise you. I’m thinking about Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, and Ron Weasley and their silliness and also their growth.”

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