The FX drama Pose has broken plenty of ground when it comes to authentic representation and LGBTQ storytelling on television. Series co-creator Steven Canals along with producers and writers Our Lady J and Janet Mock (who also directed a Season 1 episode) talked at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys awards-season event recently about the show that changed the game when it comes inclusion, from having the largest trans cast in the TV history to handling the HIV epidemic in a way never been done before on the small screen.
Mock, who went from journalism to TV, said that writing for Pose has similarities to journalism because it’s all about telling the truth. With Pose, it’s about truth through authentic storytelling from people who lived the experiences.
“As queer and trans people of color and as trans women, we bring our experiences to the show,” Mock told the crowd of Television Academy and guild voters. “If you give people a seat at the table; if you empower them to use their voices and experiences that is more than enough,” she said. “You can learn Final Draft, but what’s hard is knowing the experience to bring to it.”
Season 2 premieres June 11 and the story picks up on the day Madonna releases “Vogue.” Canals said the series will dive deeper into the HIV epidemic during the Act Up days. He said, “We will be addressing HIV/AIDS activism and access to medical care.”
“One thing that I feel like we successfully did, that I haven’t seen before, is to bring HIV-positive stories to the screen, where they don’t drop dead at the end of the episode,” Our Lady J said. “It’s what is it like to live with HIV. What is it like to be stigmatized by the disease? What is the human aspect of that?”
She said that she’s been HIV+ for 16 years and she has never seen a story where it’s not just about the struggle but the choice to live. She adds that she wants to see people that are HIV+ thrive, create family, be fabulous and fierce. “Through these characters, we were able to do that,” she said.
Check out the conversation in the video above.
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