LGBTQ Media Politics

Actor and Gay Icon Billy Porter Gives LGBTQ State of the Union

“Pose” star Billy Porter gave an LGBTQ state of the union hours before Donald Trump’s speech last night. Porter criticized the president ad highlighted the many issues that LGBTQ people are facing in the United States.

Sponsored by Logo TV, Porter quickly called out the President as having “painted himself as a friend of the LGBTQ community, while revealing his true colors at every malicious turn”. Porter then described the many acts, including banning transgender people from serving in the US military, and expanding the “conscience rule” that allows healthcare providers to discriminate against queer people. He also mentioned the many anti-LGBTQ judges Trump has appointed whose “influence will be felt long after Trump has left office”.

Porter then highlighted the up rise in hate crimes, citing an FBI statistic saying that hate crimes have hit a 16-year high. He went on to highlight the murders of trans people, which disproportionately affects trans women of color, calling it “no short of an epidemic”. He then suggested that we needed to do more to face this issue, and that we need to “elect officials who recognize it for the crisis that it is”.

Porter also mentioned that LGBTQ rights are not the only ones under attack. He lists “the erosion of the truth, to the normalization of white supremacy, to the assault on women’s reproductive freedom, to the dangerous othering of immigrants and people of color, to the inhumane treatment of migrants at the border, to the rampant injustices of our criminal justice system, from denying the very existence of climate change, to the frustrating and incredibly disappointing of inaction on gun control” as other pressing issues that “hang in the balance” of Trump’s presidency.

“If now is not the time for drama, child, when is?” Porter lamented. He discussed the danger of being queer in many countries besides the United States, criticizing the “blind eye” turned to queer refugees who are trying to escape their homophobic countries. While listing the lows, such as the law upholding the illegality of gay sex in Kenya, he also mentioned the highs, like the legalization of gay marriage in countries like Taiwan and Northern Ireland.

He closed the speech on a high note, saying that he is proud of those who are speaking out and engaging with their local governments, who are “speaking out in hopes of righting the wrongs occurring all around them”.

Porter’s speech serves as a reminder that LGBTQ rights, as well as so many others are still under attack. He encourages viewers to use the “power of the voting box” come the 2020 elections and ended with the sentiment that “we have far more that connects us than sets us apart”.

USA Today 2/4/20; YouTube 2/4/20