‘Pose’ Stars MJ Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, And Indya Moore Cover ‘Out Magazine’
MJ Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, and Indya Moore, stars of FX’s new hit TV show Pose, sat down with Janet Mock, one of the show’s writers, for an in depth interview for Out Magazine. The show focuses on LGBTQ characters of color who live in New York and try to navigate through life and succeed in the popular, underground ball scene.
Dominque Jackson plays a trans woman by the name of Electra Abundance, who in recent episodes undergoes bottom surgery to have her penis removed. When asked about the importance of her character’s sex scene with her sugar daddy Dick Ford (Christopher Meloni), Jackson broke it down perfectly. On the show, Dick Ford prefers that she does not undergo surgery and threatens to leave her if she does.
A lot of trans women of color have felt that approaching surgery was something they could never possibly achieve. Not only financially but from a mental perspective. I love the way Janet wrote the scene. It was tender and yet it was still a woman fighting for her own independence. It was about trans women realizing that they can achieve full-blown gender operation surgery and they should go towards that no matter what’s possible. It has to be up to them. It was very important for me to make sure that I got the message across that we are desired, that people do want us, and people do have affection for us — but there’s a struggle between being with us and having these relationships be open. With these closed relationships, only they have access to us which makes us, on one hand, feel like property, but we don’t have the ability to step out of that because now the fact that we are fetishized makes us feel like we’re loved. And we confuse that with love.
Indya Moore also has a love scene on the show. She tells Janet Mock that her character’s experiences feel much like hers.
There were so many parts of that scene that were very important to me. One of them was the comfort of the actor playing the man who’s supposed to be into Angel. In my own personal interactions with men, I’m still used to feeling like there’s a second-guessing — Is he really comfortable, does he really desire me, is this really okay with him? I think I had that initial reaction also with Evan Peters playing the character. A lot of the time, I’m like, Oh man, I hope Evan is comfortable. You know, there were flashes of like, Oh my god, is he regretting taking this role? And I’m thinking, me as a trans woman, my body was the cause. I’m an actor and it’s just really interesting hearing myself say this out loud. Another part that was really important for me as Angel was to make sure that the intimacy was very authentic. I was thinking about my other relationships that I had, and how I felt being loved by someone who really, truly loves me — but also that feeling comes from the stance of not having been loved very much throughout my life by people I love. It was like bringing that back, what that felt like, that great yearning for intimacy; that yearning to be touched in a loving way. She’s never been touched outside of being seen as a sexual opportunity or a sexual financial exchange. Angel’s never really conceptualized her body outside of those terms.
Not only does the show tackle the issues of trans people, but also people of color. MJ recalls an issue her character had that was similar to her own.
It was actually pretty real for me ’cause I’ve had similar experiences since I was a teen. I can just only imagine what it felt like in 1987 as a trans woman walking into that bar, despite the fact that gay white men didn’t have the opportunity to express themselves either. It saddened me to know that these symptoms — that’s what I call it, symptoms — are still surfacing. It’s bothersome and I’m glad that we get to touch bases on it; maybe it will clue in and help some of the people who don’t understand, our own LGBTQ brothers, to understand us more, and not exclude us when we walk into a space. Sometimes we want to go to a place where we can find refuge with our brothers. But if we can’t find that, then where can we go?
Do you watch Pose? What do you think of the show?