‘Pose’ Co-creator Steven Canals on Breaking Boundaries for QTPOC

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Aug 13, 2019

Pose” co-creator Steven Canals made history when he became the first Latinx producer to be nominated for an Emmy in the outstanding drama category. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Monday (August 12), he talks about what it means to make his dreams come true when the world expects less.

“It’s also a little shocking that I’m the first, [but] I hope that this is the beginning, though, and that there are other young, Black, Latinx and LGBTQ people out there who are dying to tell a story,” the South Bronx-native said.

"I came from an environment where the expectations for me were as low as they could get," he continued. “For the work to be recognized, and for it to be work that uplifts LGBTQ people of color, is pretty incredible.” The hit FX Networks series received seven nominations, including a lead actor nod for Billy Porter. It’s a development that Canals hopes will energize other folks in the LGBTQ+ community to break their own barriers.

Part of what makes “Pose” so enjoyable to watch is its authenticity, from the New York City setting to the soundtrack to the cast of LGBTQ+ actors of color. Canals stressed that this was his way of battling old Hollywood tropes. 

“Historically, in film and television, you often don't see three-dimensional LGBTQ people of color. We so rarely are at the center of our own narratives and, more often than not, we're playing a stereotype,” said Canals. “One of the first conversations we had in the writers room was about the importance of specificity and the opportunity we had to show fully formed, well-rounded characters. It's about leaning in to all the facets of what makes us who we are as people.”

Canals said he also identifies with his characters, especially lead Blanca (Mj Rodriguez). He looked at the scene where she’s kicked out of a White gay bar for being a trans woman of color as a teaching moment for viewers, particularly for cisgender gay men. “They didn't know that it happened, and they didn't know this type of discrimination still goes on within the LGBTQ community,” Canals said. “We need to acknowledge and celebrate the ‘T’ in LGBTQ. We talk a lot about discrimination, and more often than not when we do, we tend to focus on how straight folks treat our community, but we overlook how sometimes we, ourselves, are the biggest judges and do it in groups.”

Read Canals’ full interview via The Hollywood Reporter.