In early June, Billy Porter shared a “message to America” on Instagram Live, in which he addressed homophobia and transphobia in the Black community.
On Thursday, Billy Eichner — guest-hosting for Jimmy Kimmel— asked the Pose actor what inspired him to post it.
“Growing up gay in the Black community, it’s a very homophobic community across the board,” Porter says. “With that said, as the world has changed and as the world has shifted, the Black community is changing and shifting.”
Porter goes on to say that he was talking about this as an addendum to his Instagram post, saying, “The language in this moment has to be more specific,” and telling Eichner he is talking to homophobic and transphobic people in general, specifically members of the Black community. Porter draws attention to the levels of violence against Black transgender women as a reason why this conversation is so important to have.
“I know it’s hard to hear, but I have worked my whole life to be in a position where I can speak from authority, where I have a platform to speak,” says Porter, explaining that back in the ’80s, his own experience was of a cousin telling him that if he ever turned gay, he’d kill him.
“That’s what my experience has been. So yeah, sometimes my trauma shows.”
Now, he’s hopeful that things are shifting. “But we can’t do it until we embrace and love each other through our differences; because of our differences,” says Porter. “Love the humanity in every single human being. We’re human beings first, that’s all I’m trying to say.”