Pose: The Final Season: How the Series Set an Industry Standard for LGBTQ+ Safe Spaces

MJ Rodriguez (as Blanca), left, and Billy Porter (as Pray Tell) in Pose Season 3, Episode 2 “Intervention”
MJ Rodriguez (as Blanca), left, and Billy Porter (as Pray Tell) in Pose Season 3, Episode 2 “Intervention”
Photo: Eric Liebowitz/FX

To kick off the month of May, Pose fans will be living, werking and posing for the very last time.

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As announced in March, the Peabody-winning, Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated series will be saying its final goodbye this year with its third season. As someone who has screened the entire final season in advance, I still can’t believe I’m letting go of this family I fell in love with—but I guess I’ll relive it when the rest of the world sees! Also, have y’all had Elektra’s (Dominique Jackson) “come judge for me” chant from the second season in your head over and over like I have?

More info about Pose’s upcoming final season, via the official press release sent to The Root:

It’s now 1994 and ballroom feels like a distant memory for Blanca who struggles to balance being a mother with being a present partner to her new love, and her latest role as a nurse’s aide. Meanwhile, as AIDS becomes the leading cause of death for Americans ages 25 to 44, Pray Tell contends with unexpected health burdens. Elsewhere, the emergence of a vicious new upstart house forces the House of Evangelista members to contend with their legacy.

Pose was co-created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, who executive produce alongside Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Alexis Martin Woodall, Sherry Marsh and Janet Mock. Our Lady J is co-executive producer. Tanase Popa is supervising producer. Lou Eyrich, Jeff Dickerson and Kip Myers also serve as producers. The seven-episode third season is produced by 20th Television, part of Disney Television Studios, and FX Productions.

On Monday, FX invited a few select journalists to chat with the cast and crew, to reflect on the beloved series as well as look forward to the upcoming final season. Participating in the panel were series co-creator, executive producer, writer, director Steven Canals and executive producer, writer, director Janet Mock as well as cast members Mj Rodriguez (Blanca Evangelista), Billy Porter (Pray Tell), Dominique Jackson (Elektra), Indya Moore (Angel), Hailie Sahar (Lulu), Dyllón Burnside (Ricky), Angel Bismark Curiel (Lil Papi), Sandra Bernhard (Nurse Judy) and Jason Rodriguez (Lemar).

Ryan Jamaal Swain (Damon) was not present during the panel (and appears only for a limited time in the final season), Canals confirmed that this was due to personal family issues and that the team wanted to “honor that and give him the space that he needed.”

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In addition to reminiscing (through tears) about their favorite ball moments in the series, the cast really spent a significant amount of time discussing how affirming it was to be on the set of Pose. Murphy, Canals and Mock truly created an atmosphere of safety, accountability, education and affirmation that the cast agrees is a high standard that they will now compare future TV/film sets to.

“I will never forget the first moment being in a project after Pose and hearing a driver say something extremely transphobic,” Curiel recalled. “I was in this van, and it was, like, so quick. I was like, ‘All right, bro. It’s do or die. You’ve got to use your voice right now, because that right there is so harmful and [it] is going to cause so much violence, and if I allow this young man or this individual to continue to think that that is okay, I’m just as accountable.’ So, I want to make sure that as I cross over to different projects, that I use my voice and say, ‘Yo, that’s not cool, man.’”

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“I learned that accountability isn’t just about holding other people accountable, that it’s also about holding yourself accountable in the ways that we impact and influence how other people feel, the work that they’re able to do, and the safety that they get to experience in space with you,” Moore noted.

As Moore stated, the Pose writers’ room reflected the very trans and queer community the series showcased. For those who didn’t reflect the community, they routinely checked in to make sure things “felt right” in the script. When you’re used to being “othered,” that kind of empowerment is life-changing.

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“I never had an opportunity like this on a television and film—a television show where I got to actually have the range that I never thought I could have in the other productions or the other things that I was involved in. I think that’s what the best thing for me was, is that I was able to have the liberty to speak even when I was afraid to speak,” MJ Rodriguez said.

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“I will never walk into spaces looking for anyone or live a life or an existence thinking that I need to impress anyone,” Jackson mused. “I’ll be cordial. I’ll be professional. But they need to impress me. They need to let me know that my existence has value, acknowledge me, validate me. And that is something that this has taught me. I will not be that fearful woman anymore. I will not be afraid to lose. I will not be afraid to fight.”

“That’s the gift of this—of this, of being in this space, is that we’ve all now been empowered to go out and continue. I’m going to steal from—recently from Vice President [Kamala] Harris. You know, we may the first, but we’re definitely not going to be the last,” Porter concluded.

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Overall, the press conference was emotional and endearing—much like the series itself, it felt like being a part of a family gathering that we were able to be invited to, if only for a short time.

The third and final season of Pose will premiere with its first two episode Sunday, May 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX. Each of the weekly episodes, including the two-episode premiere, will stream the next day on FX and Hulu.

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Further, to celebrate Pose’s final season, FX will be hosting an exhibition ball produced by show choreographer Twiggy Pucci Garçon live-streaming on FX’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on May 2 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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