Billy Porter Calls Out Gay, White, Cisgender Elites Who Checked Out After Marriage Equality

Tony & Grammy Award winner Billy Porter calls out “white, cisgender, rich boys” in the LGBTQ community for closing their checkbooks once they got marriage equality in a new interview with Vulture.

Porter, who’s never been meek when it comes to issues of equality and civil rights, shares in a candid, new interview with Vulture how working on the hit FX television series Pose brought back memories of living through the AIDS epidemic in 1980s New York City.

Porter says he was reminded how the transgender community became practically “invisible” during that time.

“For me, as a 48-year-old gay man, when I came out, we had to fight for our lives. Because the fight was so intense — and this is what this show has taught me — the T in LGBTQ was almost invisible. The fight was about something else. I equate it to the idea of the civil rights movement, and Martin Luther King Jr. and his relationship with Bayard Rustin. He was the gay man that taught him and set him up to be the civil rights leader that he was, and was erased from the conversation because that wasn’t the fight.”

The Pose actor goes on to describe witnessing how some left the battle field (taking their money with them) when the focus of LGBTQ rights shifted from marriage to transgender protections.

“There’s a lot of that in the gay culture, especially the cisgender, white, rich gay culture. I sat on the board of the Empire State Pride Agenda for six years, and that’s an organization that really was influential in lobbying and fighting for gay rights, during the AIDS crisis all the way up through marriage equality. When these white, cisgender, rich boys got marriage equality and the organization’s focus turned to transgender rights, those motherfuckers closed their checkbooks, and the organization of 25 years had to close.”

Porter summed up his purview of the situation:

"We need take all that energy and focus, and shift it on to those who are less than us. That’s how it works. Internal vigilance is the price of liberty. If we don’t take care of the least among us, it doesn’t matter how rich we are, it doesn’t matter how fabulous we are.”

This writer has known Billy Porter since the early 1990's when he made his Broadway debut in the hit musical, Miss Saigon.

Over the years we've worked together in the theatre, and I've interviewed him several times as a journalist. I can always count on a frank, candid, and totally unfiltered experience with Billy. #Yassss

When we chatted last year about his latest album, BIlly Porter Presents: The Soul of Richard Rodgers, I was all prepared for music chat. But fresh off the 2016 election, Billy was primed for politics explaining how the album was a political statement in and of itself.

And I loved it.

You can check out our chat from my podcast interview below.



(source: Vulture)

3 thoughts on “Billy Porter Calls Out Gay, White, Cisgender Elites Who Checked Out After Marriage Equality”

  1. Many of “those cisgender

    Many of "those cisgender white folk," as they are referred to, got on the gay-marriage bandwagon rather late in the game, no?  They donated to that cause long after a lot of suffering and efforts by the pioneers who had been pushing for marriage equality for the past three decades or longer. Then, they moved on to their next cause(s).

    In that, they are no different than any other wealthy folk across racial groups who donate to causes to which they have personal connections. For example, Bill Cosby's donations to HBCUs (yeah, he's a deeply flawed man and I hate myself for having been taken in by his persona) and Opra Winfrey's philanthropic efforts are deeply-personal reflections of their values. That is the nature of philanthropy. People don't give based on what their minds tell them are worthy causes, and even less based on how articles like this one slam them. People give based on what their hearts tell them as well as, all too often, based on their self-interests.

    As for taking care of the least among us, who are they? Are they the children who are growing up in poverty, the many abused women who need shelter, people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses living out on the streets or in prisons, elderly sufferers of dementia, and so forth?  Our society, laws, and medical establishment don't help these people either. These are among the causes for which many of the gay folk who I know have opened up their check books for; they have personal ties — through aging parents, immediate family, nieces and nephews, even children and childhood friends — to those causes. 

  2. White gay men have taken

    White gay men have taken their fair share of criticism. However, the last thing anyone needs to hear from a black man, gay or straight, is that white gay men "check out." Go to any non-profit group or support group, and you'll see an overwhelming number of gay white men both rich-and-poor, giving their time and love to help young gay men who are struggling. Rather than demonizing other gay men and telling them how you think should spend their charity dollars as the gay community evolves, perhaps clean your own house before bringing your self righteous "wisdom" to the gay community. 


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