Pose star Billy Porter brings the house down with LGBT State of the Union
Donald Trump didn’t mention LGBT+ people once in his 2019 State of the Union address, so Pose star Billy Porter decided to do it himself.
The gay actor recorded his own State of the Union speech about equality, releasing it via queer TV network Logo before Trump addressed Congress on Tuesday (February 5).
Billy Porter: Trump administration ‘seeking to erase our very existence’
In the powerful eight-minute speech, Porter reflected on the issues that LGBT+ people still face across the US, from discrimination and hate crimes to a spate of anti-transgender violence, to the regressive policies of the Trump administration.
Porter said: “We are living with an administration that is seeking to erase our very existence. But we won’t let them.
“We must loudly and proudly declare, we are here, through the banning of transgender service members. We are here through the violence enacted by hate speech. We are here and if the victories of the last year prove anything, we ain’t going no damn where.
“We’re coming for that White House, and we’re gonna paint it rainbow!”
— Billy Porter
“In November of this past year, America elected the most diverse Congress in history, with a record number of LGBTQ candidates seeking and winning office.
“Jared Polis of Colorado became the first openly gay man elected governor in these United States, and you better believe, we’re coming for that White House, and we’re gonna paint it rainbow!”
The Pose actor referenced Pete Buttigieg, who “has become the first ever openly gay, Democratic presidential candidate, joining a strong crop of Democrats ready, willing, and able to throw down with 45.”
Porter added: “While our rights are under threat, and the sanctity of identities is in peril, let me be clear: the state of our union is strong.”
Quoting Dr Martin Luther King Jr, he said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that. As LGBTQ people, we face hate every day, due to the simple fact of our existence.
“The Human Rights Campaign reported that in 2018, no fewer than 29 transgender souls, mostly trans women of colour, lost their light to violence. We will try to do right by them, to say their names, so that their deaths may not be in vain.”
Billy Porter: We must stand up to hate crimes in the US and around the world
Porter cited statistics that show “the severity of hate violence against LGBTQ people is increasing,” adding: “As the attack on our brother, Jussie Smollett shows, violence can touch our lives, no matter who knows your name.”
Porter continued: “How do we fight this hate? With love. We must continue to demonstrate our love for each other. Love is strength, strength we must have to fight for our integrity and for our very lives.
“We will fight hate with solidarity by standing up for our siblings around the world. We stand with our siblings in Chechnya, where a crackdown on the LGBT community has resulted in 40 people being detained in recent months and at least two being killed.
“We will stand with our siblings in Brazil, where a rash of anti-queer violence has been compounded by the presidential election of a far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has a history of homophobic, racist and sexist comments, and who is enacting policies that leave LGBTQ Brazilians fearing for their rights, their freedom and their safety.
“We will fight hate by sharing their stories so the world may never turn a blind eye to injustice.”
Porter also referenced the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, in June 2019.
He added: “We will continue to carry on the legacies of our elders, of Marsha P. and Sylvia, of Baldwin and Bayard, of Harvey, Larry, and Miss Major, we will continue to come together, to acknowledge and embrace our intersectional community, and to push for equality and justice for all.
“Though darkness may seem to overshadow the progress we’ve made, we must not let it snuff our light out. Love will and love must keep us united.
“Only with the strength from love can we continue to forge ahead, make no mistake. Our best days are ahead of us. Onward, and upward.
“God bless our LGBTQ community and God bless the United States of America.”