“I’m 50 years old, I don’t do that,” is how Emmy-winning Pose star Billy Porter explained his approach to letting social media controversy dampen his signature sunny disposition. Porter was telling guest Jimmy Kimmel Live host Billy Eichner about doing an “addendum” to his widely-shared Instagram video wherein he furiously addressed the righteously mobilized Black Lives Matter movement regarding what Porter described accurately as “the highest violence on record” against Black transgender women by “black CIS men.” Noting that—just this once—he allowed online backlash to enter his consciousness, Porter told Porter superfan Eichner that he’s willing to admit when he’s wrong. Well, a little bit wrong.
Porter told Eichner he’s not retracting the very real and sobering facts about the pandemic-level violence against Black trans women, so much as allowing that the Black community he grew up in is “changing and shifting.” “I am Black first,” stressed Porter, “and growing up gay in the Black community, it’s a very homophobic community across the board.” Still, Porter—currently relishing getting to be “spooky” in Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone reboot—was receptive to feedback from some CIS Black men out there who proclaimed their love for and acceptance of Porter as a gay Black man. Thus, the addendum, where Porter—showing all-too-rare internet flexibility of mind—allowed, “I also receive when I am tone deaf.”
Still, Porter was adamant and passionate on his original point about the Black community needing to rally around its “LGBT-plus” segment, saying that his original post still stands. “Sometimes, my trauma shows,” explained Porter, telling the understanding Eichner that his original post’s anger that “as a Black, queer man in America, my basic human rights have been up for legislation every single day that I have had breath in my body” isn’t going anywhere. In tagging a sort-of not-all-Black-men followup to that, Porter showed a willingness himself to allow for change and nuance, which, again, is leading by all-too-rare example. “Love the humanity in every single human being,” exhorted Porter, “We’re human beings first.”
Looking for ways to advocate for Black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved. Looking for ways to advocate for trans lives as well? Here’s a good place to start.