In advance of President Trump’s annual State of the Union address tonight, actor/activist Billy Porter (FX's Pose) delivered Logo’s “LGBTQ State of our Union” regarding issues facing the LGBTQ community – triumphs, setbacks and looking ahead to 2019 as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
Porter begins with a statement of fortitude: “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.”
Addressing some of the challenges LGBTQ people face today, Porter points out:
• 29 transgender people (mostly trans women of color) ‘lost their light’ to violence in 2018
• Anti-LGBTQ violence is on the rise as 40% of LGBTQ survivors of hate violence sustained an injury in 2017 compared to the 31% in 2016.
• 42% reported seeking medical attention in 2017 compared to the 23% in 2016.
• 27% reported weapons were used their assaults compared to 13% in 2016.
While that does sound bleak, the Golden Globe nominee calls for a more positive approach to addressing these ills.
“How do we fight this hate? With love,” says the Pose star. “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 for our siblings around the world.”
Porter calls on the LGBTQ community to 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," he says with a smile.
The 49-year-old activist also noted the results of the midterms elections delivering the most diverse Congress in history.
He mentions openly gay politician Jared Polis’ election to governor in Colorado; and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate, joining “a strong crop of Democrats ready, willing and able to throw down with 45.”
“And you better believe we’re coming for that White House and we’re gonna paint it rainbow,” adds Porter.
When it comes to pop culture there’s more good news.
“On TV, on film and in music we are ‘showing up and showing out,” boasts the Tony Award winner. “We are in front of, and behind the cameras; we are increasingly the authors of our own stories.”
Recognizing 2019 as the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and New York City hosting this year’s World Pride event, Porter says, “We will continue to come together to acknowledge and embrace our intersectional community, and to push for equality and justice – for ALL.”
He closes the address by with steely-eyed confidence: “Make no mistake – our best days are ahead of us. Onward and upward. God bless our LGBT community and God bless the United States of America.”
This is definitely worth the watching.